President Goodluck Jonathan has hit at the leaders of the new faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), saying quitting the party will be to their own peril.
Jonathan was speaking Sunday night during the PDP's post-convention dinner held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The new faction of the party is led by the former acting PDP chairman Abubakar Kawu Baraje, and supported by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as well as Governors Sule Lamido (Jigawa State), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano) and Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto).
Jonathan said the PDP remains the only party in the country that can provide the political leadership.
He described the current crisis in the party as a minor disagreement which, according to him, has been blown out of proportion in the media.
Jonathan, who said the party remained intact and would continue to do so, noted that the dinner was a partial fulfilment of the party's decision to encourage periodic meetings to interact "with members across states and at different cadres for them to bond with each other".
He assured the newly elected members of the party's National Working Committee of his support and appealed to them to work as a team.
The president also said PDP had the support of all Nigerians who, he said, would not want to see the party disintegrated.
Speaking at the event, chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih, urged Jonathan to declare his intention for the 2015 Presidency by the end of this month.
Anenih said it was high time the president stopped saying the time was not yet ripe to disclose his intention to the nation.
"This is the first time we are discussing the future of the party. We must be seen as a team, not as a group...We must be preparing for the 2015 now. I think the time is ripe. I think between now, September and by October ending, we should tell our people where you (the president) are going. At the end of the journey by 2015, we will come back again like this to celebrate," Anenih said.
He warned those behind the new faction of the party that they could not succeed in their onslaught against the Bamaga Tukur-led PDP.
He said there is no place for indiscipline in the PDP, and that any member caught in the act would be appropriately dealt with.
Also speaking, PDP national chairman Tukur pleaded that the nation's politics be based on issues rather than personalities.
Chairman of the PDP Governors' Forum and Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio called on the aggrieved governors of the party to respect the president.
Akpabio reminded the seven governors who walked out of the recent special convention that they could not get power by disrespecting those in the positions of authorities.
He said the "rebel" governors should not deceive themselves by thinking that their supporters were behind them in their ploy.
He, however, stressed that anyone willing to defect from the PDP to another party was free to do so.