“Don’t lift my suspension, until everything is settled, Amaechi tells Jonathan

Jonathan to governors: I didn’t promise one term

Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi is to be recalled from suspension, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) source told The Nation yesterday.

This is one of the four concessions made by President Goodluck Jonathan to the Group of Seven governors (G7) at a meeting on Sunday.
But the President was said to have been adamant on 2015, insisting that he never said he would not seek re-election.
He claimed that what he said in Ethiopia was that he would not be a party to tenure elongation.
According to sources, who spoke on the peace talks at the Presidential Villa, the meeting was “conciliatory”.
One of the sources said: “For the first time, the meeting was conciliatory; there was no tension on all issues, unlike the case at the previous sessions.”

The President came to the meeting with Vice-President Namadi Sambo; the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PDP, Chief Tony Anenih, the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Obong Godswill Akpabio; the governors of Kogi and Cross River states, Capt Idris Wada and Liyel Imoke.

On the side of the G-7 were the governors of Adamawa, Niger, Rivers, Kwara, Sokoto, Jigawa and Kano
“There were preliminary talks on why it is important to keep the party united. The President said his disposition was that ‘whatever is going on is a family fight which could be amicably resolved’. He spoke as a leader with national interest above all other considerations.

“Everyone also spoke on the fact that the issues at stake could be well-managed,” the source said.
All issues were reportedly treated one after the other. The President and his team made the following concessions:
•immediate lifting of the suspension of Governor Rotimi Amaechi by the Bamanga Tukur-led PDP;
•return of party structures to all the governors, including those of Rivers and Adamawa states;
•raising a committee to visit Rivers State, like it was the case with Adamawa State, to build consensus and restore party structure to the governor; and the

•the governors and party leaders should leave Jonathan to decide Tukur’s fate. One of the aggrived governors’ conditions for peace is Tukur’s removal
On the 2015 poll, another source quoted the President as saying: ‘I did not give anybody any commitment that I won’t seek re-election.”
The source said: “Jonathan clarified that what he said in Ethiopia was that as a democratic leader, he would not elongate his tenure under any guise. He said since the crisis in the party was basically on 2015, it is a matter that can be addressed later.
“His body language suggested that he won’t compromise his ambition to contest in 2015. But it was not a major issue yet at the peace talks.”
Responding to a question on the feasibility of the concessions, another source said: “The President appeared willing, except that when it came to the crisis in Rivers PDP, he said they were ready to return the executives of the party but they needed to set up a committee that will go to the state to reunite all the stakeholders.

“The President was, however, straightforward on the recall of Amaechi from suspension when he said his team could ‘announce the lifting of the suspension right away’”
Sensing the caveat on Rivers PDP, Amaechi simply said: “Don’t lift my suspension, until everything is settled,” it was learnt.
On Tukur, the source added, the President did not make any categorical statement or commitment on Tukur, although he admitted that there was a sign of weakness on some issues on the part of Tukur.
The aggrieved governors reportedly said Jonathan could bring anyone to lead the party, except Tukur.

 Amaechi is expected to withdraw all cases in court, respect the Presidency and party leadership. The media “war” should stop because the crisis is heating up the polity and inflammatory comments capable of dividing the country should be avoided, the meeting was said to have agreed.
It was learnt that when the 2015 agenda came up, the President took on the Governor of Niger State, Dr. Babangida Aliyu.
A source said he pointedly accused Aliyu of misleading Nigerians that he said he would not seek a second term in office.
The source added: “At a stage, it became a matter between Jonathan and Aliyu at the meeting because the President felt bad that the governor had been hammering on one term in office for him.
“There was silence when the two leaders tried to sort themselves out on the 2015 thing.

“But the governor countered the President by saying he made the commitment at Ethiopia, United States, Expanded National Caucus Meeting and in the agreement he signed with PDP governors.
“He said there was nothing bad in asking the President to stand by his words to allow power shift to the North in 2015.
“The President said he did not at any time promise to spend one term in office.”
The source quoted the President as saying” “I did not give anybody any commitment that I won’t seek re-election.”
The source said: “Jonathan clarified that what he said in Ethiopia was that as a democratic leader, he would not elongate his tenure under any guise.
“The President also reportedly told the session that on the events referred to by Babangida, then there was an ongoing debate on a single term of six years for Nigeria’s President. And he told his audience that he would not seek a second term or elongate his tenure under any guise.

“Jonathan said since the crisis in the party was basically on 2015, it is a matter that can be addressed later.
“His body language suggested that he won’t compromise his ambition to contest in 2015. But it was not a major issue yet at the peace talks.”

The source added: “At a stage, Governors Godswill Akpabio, Liyel Imoke and Idris Wada raised their voices against Aliyu, saying: ‘You cannot stampede the President to spend one term in office, you cannot do that.”
The Niger State Governor, however, inisted: “2015 is central to whatever compromise the parties would reach and demanded that it should be properly addressed.
“The issue might be addressed on October 7 when the groups reconvene. When the G-7 governors came out, they held a brief discussion and vowed to pursue one term for Jonathan.”

The session was, however, not without its drama. The communiqué was drafted by Governor Liyel Imoke, who was part of the Jonathan team.
The Jonathan team tried to sum up the session that the two warring groups had almost “resolved the issues”, Amaechi wanted the mood captured in a manner suggesting that “the two sides are still talking”.
But Imoke went ahead to draft the communiqué and he gave the hand written copy to Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State to read.
It was learnt that it was at the point of drafting the communiqué that Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso got to the meeting.
Although Amaechi sustained his point but, Kwankwaso could not settle down enough to grasp the issue at stake.
Only the state-owned Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) was allowed to record the reading of the communiqué.
Notwithstanding the outcome of the peace talks, the G-7 and the Baraje faction of PDP met behind closed doors yesterday.



The Nation
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