Weeks after the Bayelsa State governorship election, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is still unsettled over former President Goodluck Jonathan’s role in it.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) won the November 16 poll.
The party is split over what should be done to the former president. Some of its leaders are calling for his head, while others believe he did no wrong.
Sources said tempers flared at the party’s Abuja national secretariat when the National Working Committee (NWC) met to discuss the matter.
The NWC was said to have been divided on whether or not to investigate Jonathan for allegedly working for APC during the election.
Various camps have also emerged in the party over the issue. The camp of a prominent South-south governor is backing the former president and has vowed to resist any attempt to sanction him for alleged anti-party activities.
Another South-south governor is said to be pushing for Jonathan’s sanction.
A former presidential candidate is believed to be working with the governor to get Jonathan sanctioned.
According to a party official from Bayelsa State, “those of us urging the investigation of the incidents that led to the defeat of PDP in Bayelsa are doing so because we want the era of party discipline and supremacy to continue, irrespective of whose ox is gored.”
But a former national vice chairman of the party from the North-central, who is also a member of the Board of Trustees (BoT), told The Nation that majority of the party elders have resolved to block any attempt to sanction Jonathan. “We will not make that mistake again. We all can still remember what happened after PDP moved against former President Olusegun Obasanjo. The Bayelsa issue will be resolved with wisdom,” he said.
“It is true that some people feel discipline should be considered over and above any other thing. They are making moves to ensure an investigation and sanctions. But I can assure you it will not just happen like that. Jonathan is one of the fathers of the party today and we must be cautious in correcting him if there is need for that. Those seeking to have him sanctioned have been told to think deeper. If they do, they will understand why some of us are saying no,” he added.
But some prominent chieftains of the party under the auspices of PDP Elders Forum, are calling for an investigation, insisting Jonathan must be punished for allegedly betraying the party during the election in his home state. They accused Jonathan of teaming up with the APC against the PDP. In a statement by its Chairman, Chief Benson Odoko, the forum:
“The former president, who visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja for an undisclosed mission just before the election, kept his distance from the PDP and its members throughout the period of the campaigns leading to the election. The forum was shocked when Jonathan and his wife donated the Aridolf Hotel to the APC as the operational contact point for visiting dignitaries of the party and as the venue for the party’s controversial primaries.
“These actions of Jonathan clearly portray him as a betrayer of the PDP which gave him the platform to occupy the highest positions in the country, Bayelsa State, and millions of the PDP members just to protect his selfish interest. The argument that Jonathan worked against the PDP because his preferred candidate, Chief Timi Alaibe, lost in the primaries was a pathetic perfidy meant to cover up the real reasons for this betrayal against Bayelsans and Nigerians”.
PDP National Publicity Secretary Kola Ologbondiyan said the NWC would investigate why the party lost the election. “The NWC will meet soon to conduct a post-mortem on the elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states,” he said.
It was gathered that some petitions have already been submitted against the former president. “The planned investigation is based on these petitions,” a party source said. But The Nation learnt that some party leaders from Bayelsa are ready to storm the party’s national secretariat tomorrow (Monday) with petitions indicting the governor “and his Abuja collaborators.”
“We will not fold our hands and watch some people create fresh problems for the party at the national level just because they failed to play the politics of their state properly. Jonathan should not be embarrassed. He is above this petty scheming and all those who love PDP must ensure he is protected from the plot by a few to rubbish him. They were warned but they refused to listen, now they are looking for whom to blame for their woes,” he said.
Some PDP chieftains in the state, among them, Ambassador Godknows Igali and Alaibe are leading the party faithful who are behind the former President.
“Bayelsa PDP belongs to all of us and we all will have something to say about what happened on November 16,” a party leader said.