President Goodluck Jonathan’s battle to make the five governors who dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) reverse their decision has failed.
The governors said yesterday that there was no going back on their defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The governors are Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano); Aliyu Wammako (Sokoto); Murtala Nyako (Adamawa); Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara) and Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers).
They also asked Jonathan to henceforth invite them for meetings as APC governors instead of PDP.
The G-5 conveyed their final decision to Jonathan through Kwankwaso and Wamakko during a salvage meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Jonathan, who, watched in bewilderment as the governors made up their mind, offered to prevail on the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, to step aside for the sake of unity in the party.
But the governors told Jonathan point blank that it was “too late”.
The meeting, which started at about 10.40pm on Sunday, got to a head at about 3am when Kwankwaso and Wammako bade Jonathan and 15 PDP governors farewell.
According to sources, when Kwankwaso and Wammako got to the Villa, they met Niger State Governor Aliyu Babangida already seated.
It was learnt that shortly after the Presidency got a signal that the aggrieved governors honoured Jonathan’s invitation, other PDP governors and leaders came for the session.
At the session were the Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih; the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki( a prime facilitator of the peace meeting); Governors Aliyu(Niger); Sule Lamido(Jigawa); Ibrahim Shema(Katsina); Isa Yuguda(Bauchi); Sullivan Chime(Enugu); Saidu Dakingari(Kebbi); Idris Wada(Kogi) and the acting Governor of Taraba State, Garba Umaru.
Also there were Liyel Imoke(Cross River); Jonah Jang(Plateau); Muktar Yero(Kaduna); Theodore Orji(Abia); Godswill Akapbio(Akwa Ibom); Emmanuel Uduaghan(Delta) and Martins Elechi(Ebonyi).
It was gathered that the President and PDP leaders came with expectations that they could win back three of the five governors, especially Kwankwaso and Wamakko.
Col. Dasuki was said to have done a yeoman’s job in facilitating the presence of the two governors at the meeting.
To get a commitment from the governors, the NSA was said to have sent Aliyu, chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum, to them with a plea to honour the President.
It was learnt that the Presidency acted on security reports that three of the G-5 governors were still disposed to PDP, if certain wrongs were corrected.
A source said: “The meeting began on optimistic note but it later turned into a shock for the President and the leaders present.
“When the tone for the meeting was set, Kwankwaso stood up and gave a lengthy explanation on why the governors chose to defect to APC.
“He listed the grudges of the aggrieved governors as lack of internal democracy in PDP; hijacking of party structure at the state level; recourse to impunity by Tukur and the National Working Committee(NWC); why Tukur must go for PDP to survive; arbitrary suspension of leaders /members; and disrespect for the rule of law. The governor complained also of unilateral appointments by the Presidency without consultation with governors or party structure at the state level; and use of anti-graft agencies to haunt those with dissenting voices in the party.
Another source added: “The President and the PDP governors listened with rapt attention. They later pleaded with the governors to remain in PDP as all their grievances will be addressed.
“In fact, at a point, the President offered to prevail on Tukur to step aside as a sacrifice to resolve the crisis and move the party forward.
“All the governors also bought into the idea of Tukur leaving the party.”
It was learnt that Wamakko said it was too late to reverse their defection to APC.
Wammako, who reportedly endorsed all the issues tabled by Kwankwaso, stunned the meeting when he said: “We came to formally inform you that we have left PDP for APC. When you are calling us for any meeting, we should be invited as APC governors.”
The two governors left at about 3am. The PDP governors continued the session.
A PDP governor, who spoke in confidence, said: “We tried to persuade them to return to our party, but they stuck to their decision. I think they do not want the public to see them as inconsistent.”