This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: 'Obasanjo Aware of Jonathan's One Term Deal With Governors

Abuja — As the controversy over the reality and otherwise of the allegation of a four year tenure reached between President Goodluck Jonathan and twenty governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) continue to rage, former President Olusegun Obasanjo in his capacity as the Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) could be said to have been tacitly aware of the controversial deal.

This came as Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State said that the quartet of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) cannot afford to upset PDP in the forth coming 2015 general election.

Lamido has been said to belong to group of PDP governors plotting to defect to the planned merger party to be known as the All Progressive Congress (APC).

Former President Obasanjo in his speech during the PDP presidential primary election that took place at the Eagle Square where President Jonathan defeated the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar to become the PDP presidential candidate claimed knowledge of the deal between the President and some governors of the party.

According to Obasanjo who was speaking in his capacity as the Chairman of the PDP BoT at the January 15 2011 Presidential Primary election said, "We are impressed with the report that Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has already taken a unique and unprecedented step of declaring that he would only want to be a one term President. If so, whether he knows it or not, that is a sacrifice and it is statesmanly.

"Rather than vilify him and pull him down, we, as a party, should applaud and commend him and Nigerians should reward and venerate him. He has taken the first good step. Let us encourage him to take more good steps to achieve what we need to achieve for this country by voting for him in landslide victory as the first elected President of Nigeria on basis of our common Nigerian identity and for the purpose of actualizing the Nigerian dream. God bless you all." the former President had said.

Obasanjo who also counselled the delegates on the need to be patriotic and to vote President Jonathan as a preferred candidate, said, "Thomas Payne said and I quote: 'My country is a world'. For me my country I hold dear. On two occasions, I have had the opportunity, thanks to God and thanks to the people of Nigeria, to work for my successors in the government of Nigeria. On both occasions, I never took the easy and destabilizing route of ethnic, regional or religious consideration. Rather, I took the enduring route of national, uniting and stabilizing route.

"I worked for both President Shagari and President Yar'Adua to succeed me. Not just because they are Muslims, northerners or Hausa/Fulani, but because they could strengthen the unity, stability and democracy of Nigeria. We, of course, with all the displeasure of ethnic chauvinists, for doing what is right for our country; that is in the nature of the burden of leadership. A leader must lead, no matter whose ox is gored," he said.

Accordingly, Obasanjo told the delegates to vote for President Jonathan, saying, "In the present circumstance, let me reiterate what I have said on a number of occasions. Electing Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in his own right and on its own merit, which is there to be seen as the President of Nigeria, will enhance and strengthen our unity, stability and democracy and it will lead us towards achievement of the Nigerian dream."

Meanwhile, Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State has said that the quartet of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) cannot afford to upset PDP in the forth coming 2015 general election. Lamido has been said to belong to group of PDP governors plotting to defect to the planned merger party to be known as the All Progressive Congress (APC).

According to Lamido who spoke to reporters at the PDP secretariat annex on the fate of the new party said, "They are claiming to merge, let them keep claiming. As far as we are concerned, they are a gathering of small parties. As far as I am concerned in my mathematics, small party plus small party, is equal to small party, isn't? In mathematics you can't get something out of nothing, so, small party plus small party equal a smaller party. Is this the party that will flush us out?

"At which level will they have the capacity and strength to flush us out? Which level, their entire votes nationwide, all the parties put together is nothing, so which type of mathematics is this, its wasp mathematics," he said.

Lamido, who is the chairman of the presidential committee reconciling the crisis in the PDP chapter of Adamawa State, said that all things being equal, that his committee is about resolving the crisis in the state because, as he said, "PDP is one big family and takes the affairs of Nigeria's unity with passion".

"PDP is one family where the people who believed in Nigeria with passion, we avoid anything that will bring anything bad to Nigeria. So, as a family we have the capacity, the passion to reconcile our differences", he said.

Also, the leader of the Adamawa PDP that briefed the Lamido's committee on the crisis in the state, Senator Mohammed Maina urged the presidential committee to recognize the Mijijinwa Kaugama led executive in the state because they control majority of stakeholders and elected officials in the state.

Senator Maina further said, "The fact is that we have two out of the three senators, four out of five members of the House of Representatives and 17 members of the House of Assembly out of 21 members including members of the Board of Trustee and members of the National Working Committee."

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