PDP Political Gladiators At Work

Jonathan: visited IBB

 

By Stephen Ubanna

Ahead of the 2019 Presidential election there had been  new political realignment of political gladiators in the country. This is evident going by the consultations going on across the country.

On Wednesday, October 18, 2017,, former President Goodluck Jonathan had visited Ibrahim Babangida, a retired army General and  former military President and elder statesman in his Hill top residence, Minna, Niger state to consult with him.Jonathan was said to have been accompanied in the visit by Nimi Barigha  Amange,  one of the Senators representing Bayelsa state in the 8th .Senate. It was a close-door meeting. Amange was said to have waited for the former President in another part of the expansive Hilltop residence  to keep him away from their discussion which many believed centered on National issues.

The meeting between the two elder statesmen  was said to have lasted over two hours. Beaming with smiles when he came out from the meeting, the Bayelsa state born former President who was ambushed  by a bee-hive of Journalists said he had come to Minna to see  the former military President who,  he had not seen him since he came back from his oversea medical vacation. You know, ”we are retired Politicians”, he remarked.

But a close source told the Magazine that the meeting between the duo centered on many burning national issues ranging from clamour for restructuring of the country, devolution of power, terrorism  militant activities in the Niger Delta  to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP crisis    and how to bring back all  the former chieftains of the Party who had left in protest to the  rival All Progressive Congress, APC. Indeed, Jonathan major concern now is how to return the PDP back to power in 2019.

The former President visit to Babangida  is coming on the heels of the earlier one made by Ahmed Makarfi, former  governor of Kaduna state and  a one- time Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and now Chairman of PDP Interim National Committee to former President Olusegun Obasanjo to solicit for his return to the party. Obasanjo had left the PDP in protest  about two years ago. The exit of Obasanjo and several other Chieftains of the party may have worked against it to lose the 20115 Presidential election to the  APC.

Obasanjo was said to have made it clear to the August visitor that , ”before I was in PDP but now, no”. He was said to have told the PDP Interim Chairman  that  , ”for now no partisan politics  for me again”, adding that ”anything  that concerns Nigeria, the good of Nigeria, you would see my involvement”. This may have sealed the hope of getting a Commitment from the former President.

He however may have gladdened Makarfi’s heart  when he said that for Democracy  to continue to be strong, the country need  a strong party  in position of power , otherwise  the party in government  will get away  with ”impunity”. The former President may be referring to the APC, which is in power. It is not surprising why Makarfi is doing everything within his powers to reposition the PDP, which had boasted of ruling the country for an uninterrupted 60 years at the early stage .

Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President who hasa Presidential ambition may not want to be left out in the Political realignments.Late September, the former Vice President who has been under intense pressure  from PDP Chieftains to dump the APC to enhance its position of regaining power in 2019, may have started thinking  along that line. This is   evident going by his visit to former President Goodluck Jonathan to seek his support to achieve his Presidential ambition if he agrees to join the PDP. But Jonathan was said to have told him at their close-door meeting that there would not be any automatic ticket for him in the party. The former President may have spoken  as the leader of the party.

The duo had agreed to keep all options open  as the political dynamics  of the country remain fluid, requiring more pragmatic approach to the upsurge in politicking which the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had warned against.

The former President had advised Atiku to return to the PDP early enough if he wants to realise his Presidential ambition. He fears that  further delay in returning to the party may work against him as he may be caught up by certain provisions  of the party Constitution which had stipulated the  period  of time , a member  has  to spend in the party before seeking elective office.

For now,Atiku may not have heeded to the advice as he is still consulting with political Associates. But the mere fact that it is being rumoured  of  likely going  to switch camp to PDP was said to have led to the termination of his company, Intels contract of pilotage monitoring of vessels with Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA by the Federal government. The cancellation of the contract, according to sources was said to be at the instance of President Buhari. But the House of Representatives, had reversed it as a  spite on Buhari. But whether NPA will stick to the original contract remain to be seen.

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