16 January 2014

Nigeria: Jonathan, PDP Governors Move to Save Party's Fortunes

Photo: Leadership
PDP Chairman, Bamanga Tukur

President Goodluck Jonathan and governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, met on Wednesday evening in Abuja to address the dwindling fortunes of the ruling party.

The governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, who disclosed this, said the meeting did not discuss the fate of the party's National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur, whose resignation had earlier been speculated.

He stated that the parley, which was held after that of the PDP National Caucus, was specifically convened to discuss the strategies for winning back some of the five governors who defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC.

The governors who left the PDP are Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Rabi'u Kwankwaso (Kano).

"First, we met with the President as PDP governors to discuss issues of the party and the way forward. And that meeting is continuing," Mr. Suswam said. "The issues discussed with the president was basically on how to re-strategise and re-position our party and how to move forward as a party."

Mr. Suswam said only Vice President Namadi Sambo could speak on the meeting of the PDP caucus which is believed to have discussed Mr. Tukur's fate.

"The second meeting is the national caucus and I am not in the position to comment on that," he said. "After the BoT meeting, the Vice President will brief on the outcome".

Mr. Suswam said Mr. Jonathan and the governors were bothered about the sliding fortunes of the party, especially in the light of the coming governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states.

He said, "The concern is that the fortunes of our party are dwindling and so we need to address that. How do we re-position our party to win the forthcoming elections in Ekiti and Osun?

"How do we win back our colleagues that have stepped aside? We don't believe that they have left the party, they only stepped aside. These are the issues that were raised."

Asked what the governors demanded from the president at the meeting, Mr. Suswam said, "It is not an issue of demand. We are just touching base with the President. The President is the PDP party man and so from time to time all PDP governors meet with him."

Mr. Suswam reiterated that the meeting Mr. Jonathan had with the governors did not discuss Mr. Tukur's fate as party chairman.

"I think is the responsibility of the national caucus and the BoT (to discuss Mr. Tukur's fate); and the Vice President will adequately brief you on the outcome," he said.

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