The main opposition-Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) appears to have woken from its slumber, when some prominent members of the party paid a solidarity visit to former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan(GEJ) at his Abuja home on February 18. The delegation led by former Senate President, Bukola Saraki was comprised of another former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, former Governors Liyel Imoke, Ibrahim Shema, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo and other members of the party’s reconciliation committee.
The Saraki-led committee appointed in 2019 to resolve internal crisis within the party said it came to brief the Ex-president of the committee’s plans for the future of the party.
Saraki, who briefed newsmen after the closed-door meeting that lasted for about an hour, said Jonathan was still committed to the PDP. Its baffling that PDP leaders had carried on the afafirs of the party for some time to the exclusion of Jonathan.
For the records, Jonathan remains the only former President of the country, who is a member of the PDP since his Predecessor, Chief Ousegun Obasanjo publicly tore his membership card before a national television viewership in 2015.
Unfortunately, in spite of Jonathan’s towering stature in the party, the Uche Secondus-led National Working Committee(NWC) had continued to lead the party as if there was no leader, whereas the PDP constitution clearly recognizes the Ex-president as Leader of the Party.
Secondus, who is believed to have his eyes firmly on succeeding Chief Nyesom Wike as Governor of Rivers state in 2023 appears to have abandoned his responsibility as National Chairman of the party as he has carried on without any modicum of decency, requiring of him to consult prominent leaders of the party on major decisions especially, former President Jonathan.
It is regrettable that the National Chairman has observed this basic but time-tested tradition of the PDP in the breach in his relationship with Jonathan. Rather than have a firm gripon the affairs of the party, Secondus’ preference, it does appear is to building his wall chest in readiness for his obviously vain gubernatorial ambition, which from all indications appears to be heading towards a fiasco, with Governor Wike believed to be stoutly opposed to it.
As the Secondus-led Executive regaled in treating Jonathan with contempt, he turned a beautiful bride to the ruling-All Progressives Congress(APC).
When the former President marked his birthday in November last year, a delegation of APC Governors came to Ogbia, the country home of Jonathan to celebrate with him.
Since the visit, there have been talks about plans by the Northern Governors of the party to field Jonathan as the party’s presidential candidate in 2023, with the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai as his running mate.
Although the National Caretaker Committee Chairman of APC, Mai Mala Buni has since denied any such plans, its clear to any close watcher of national politics in the country, that this possibility is what jolted the PDP to action with the visit on February 16, by the Saraki-led committee.
There is no gain stating the obvious that Jonathan has turned a beautiful political bride ever since he left power in 2015 by willingly accepting defeat to hand over to the opposition party for the first time in the nation’s political history. That singular act has stood out Jonathan as a committed democrat, an uncommon patriot and statesmen. The APC national Chairman attested to this when he spoke recently to clear the air on the party’s relationship with the former President.
“Eeven if someone wants to base assumption on our recent visit to him(Jonathan) during his birthday, we were there because of his capacity as a former President of Nigeria.
“Again, even if there is nothing, when we are talking of peaceful coexistence, we must give credit to former president Jonathan on the issue of peace. How he accepted defeat in 2015 and resigned to fate. That has qualified him to be a statesman and he is now among our fathers,” media reports quoted Buni to have said in recent media reports.
Since leaving office, Jonathan has deepened his democratic credentials by successful manner he has executed numerous international assignments. Since leaving office, he led numerous Election Observer missions to including Tanzania, Zambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone and South Africa and Mozambique on the auspices of the African Union. His latest international assignment as the Special Envoy and
Chief Negotiator for the Economic Community of West African states (ECOWAS) in the Mali political crisis.
Given his rather soaring international profile, the APC political machine might have seen through its political crystal balls that were it to zone its presidential ticket to the South, Jonathan would as well be the best bet, hence the seeming romance. Such a scenario would certainly translate to a monumental loss for the PDP as it positions for the 2023 general elections.
Whichever way, the PDP would have Jonathan to thank for his principled approach to the practice of politics as he has said he had no plans to leave the party.
““PDP has been a very friendly party. I am a PDP member, and I know from the beginning till today that it has been a very friendly party. PDP is a party that carries everybody along. Let us work together for the interest of our people,” Jonathan said last Sunday at a Thanksgiving in Yenagoa, to mark the Supreme Court victory of the Governor, Senator Duoye Diri.
That notwithstanding, the point must be made and clearly too, that the Secondus-led leadership has failed the party and it makes the greatest sense that it must give way for the PDP to have a fresh breath.
Were it in other saner political climes, the leadership should have stepped down after losing the 2019 presidential election, but not for Secondus, who sees the national chairmanship of the PDP purely from the prism of self-interest.
The critical question however, is for how long will he continue to dig the pit for the party’s avoidable fall?