Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidential candidate, has been unsuccessful in his attempts to persuade Goodluck Jonathan to help him resolve the party’s crisis.
As a result of Jonathan’s indifference to the PDP crisis and the presidential campaign in general, Atiku and Ifeanyi Okowa, his running mate, had visited Jonathan at his Abuja hime on the evening of November 17 on a “peace mission.”
Jonathan, who was elected vice-president in 2007 and president in 2011 on the PDP platform, had been a backbencher in the party since losing his re-election bid in 2015.
Sources familiar with the Thursday night meeting informed TheCable that Atiku told Jonathan he was worried the former president had not been participating in the affairs of the PDP as the presidential election draws near.
“He implored Jonathan to intervene in the face-off with PDP governors who are sympathetic to Nyesom Wike, the governor of Rivers state,” sources said.
Governors Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Samuel Ortom (Benue) and Ifeanyi Uguwanyi (Enugu) are all openly with Wike.
As a result of his camp’s insistence that Iyorchia Ayu resign as national chairman in accordance with the promise made by Atiku himself, Wike has declined to support Atiku’s presidential campaign.
Atiku and Ayu are from the northern part of the country and the understanding is that the president and the national chairman of the party should not come from the same region.
However, the Atiku camp is arguing that until a president is elected, the current arrangement should stand.
Sources told TheCable that Jonathan believes the party, particularly Atiku, has not shown him any respect.
“Dr Jonathan has never been invited to the meeting of the Board of Trustees,” one of the sources said.
“The party has never accorded him the respect of involving him in its activities. Now that presidential election is close by, Dr Jonathan has suddenly become important.”
Atiku reportedly told Jonathan that he had his full support during his 2019 campaign for president, but the candidate stopped returning his calls once he received the nomination.
“More so, those nominated by Dr Jonathan into the 2019 presidential campaign council were not appointed. Not a single nominee of his was picked,” the source added.
It was gathered that Atiku asserted that he was unaware of Jonathan’s grievances and that he would bring them up with the party’s leadership.
The presidential candidate was also reminded of the part he played in the All Progressives Congress (APC) ousting the PDP from power in 2015.
Atiku had teamed up with five PDP governors to storm out of the PDP national convention in November 2013.
They later joined three opposition parties to found APC.
The governors were Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers).
“Atiku is facing a similar rebellion now and he now wants the same Dr Jonathan who was a victim of his own machination to help him resolve the crisis,” the source said.
Jonathan had met with Atiku at the Dorchester Hotel, London, in 2014 to solicit his help in ending the PDP crisis but, ironically, Atiku reportedly said the only condition for peace was for Jonathan to withdraw from the presidential race.