President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday showed up at the Hilton Hotel Park Lane, London, where the international investors’ conference organised by the Honorary International Investors Conference is taking place, saying he was well. He had received medical attention on Thursday from an undisclosed ailment. He stated yesterday that he was healthy enough to attend the event.
The president, who was said to have reached the second floor of the hotel, venue of the event, at 9:30 London time, apologised for not attending the conference on Thursday.
He said although he was not feeling well and sought medical attention, he was now healthy enough to be at second session of the conference.
And feelers from the presidency have shown that President Goodluck Jonathan is no longer keen on holding peace talks with Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State and his Adamawa State counterpart, Murtala Nyako.
The president’s action is allegedly informed by the failure of the two governors to heed the advice of some past leaders that they should relinquish their hold on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) structures in their states and take up the roles of national officers, among others.
A presidency source told our correspondent that President Jonathan strongly believes that Amaechi and Nyako were bent in leaving the party.
Clad in his trademark black South-South regalia and hat, Jonathan looked vibrant as he shook hands with the coordinator of the council, Baroness Lynda Chalker, and other members.
Addressing the meeting, President Jonathan said that his administration had attained significant momentum on its drive to attract more investors into the country and would continue to encourage existing investors to expand their operations.
He said: “In 2014, we must not lose this momentum but rather broaden our interventions to address other difficult issues like the high cost of financing in the country, and the dearth of adequate skills.
“This 15th meeting builds on the last conversation we had in Abuja and begins to address the fundamental issues constraining competitiveness and investment in Nigeria. Competitiveness ultimately drives profitability, which is what investors are seeking worldwide. To be competitive, we must address longstanding issues, and introduce bold and courageous reforms, regardless of short-term political pressures.
Jonathan also participated in a discussion of the presentation by the minister of communications technology on the development of ICT infrastructure in Nigeria.
Baroness Chalker told President Jonathan that her members were impressed with the positive developments and investment opportunities in Nigeria.
According to her, the attendance at the ongoing meeting of the council was the highest ever in its history.
It was exclusively reported that former President Olusegun Obasanjo had advised President Jonathan to tread softly with the governors who are threatening to dump the ruling PDP for the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the interest of the party.
The governors are Sule Lamido of Jigawa, Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano, Aliyu Magatakardan Wamakko of Sokoto, Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara, Babangida Aliyu of Niger, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers and Murtala Nyako (Adamawa).
The governors have insisted on the removal Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as the PDP national chairman, internal democracy in the party and lifting of the suspension on Governor Amaechi as truce terms.
Recently when the PDP suspended its former national secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and six others, political watchers were shocked that the governors were not sanctioned, but informed presidency sources hinted that President Jonathan asked Bamanga Tukur to leave the governors alone for tactical reasons and that no fewer than five of them would remain in the party.
“President Jonathan is serious with the reconciliation with the seven governors because we are aware that five of them are not leaving the party. It is only Nyako and Amaechi that may go, not because of the perceived bid of the president to seek a second term as being touted by the media but for their problems with some powerful forces in their states,” the source said.
Asked to shed light on this, the source explained that Governor Nyako had parted ways with the elders of the party in his state and this is why his factional chairman is not acceptable to them: “The PDP chairman in Adamawa State is a relation of the governor; they both hail from the same ward and other leaders like Prof Jubril Aminu, Ambassador Hassan Adamu (Wakini Adamawa), Senator Silas Zwingina, and Senator Grace Bent have turned their back on him; and I don’t see how he could overcome them.”
The source cited an interview granted by Senator Zwingina to some newspapers recently where he explained why Nyako should be regarded as a liability to the president and the PDP rather than an asset. He cited how the anointed candidate of the governor lost out in a recent by-election in the state.
Our source added that the same thing is happening in Rivers State where Amaechi and the founding fathers of the PDP have parted ways. According to him, everyone that matters in the state chapter of the PDP is now with former governor Peter Odili who has taken full charge of the party.
“Amaechi has been reduced to a paper weight in his state, not because of President Jonathan per se or the first lady, Patience, but because of his winner-take-all approach which made him excuse all the founding fathers of the party from his government. If a congress is held in Rivers today, Amaechi cannot win a single seat.
“When I am talking of the founding fathers of our party in Rivers, I am referring to people like the two former deputy speakers of the House of Representatives, Prince Nwuche and (Austin) Opara, all former ministers who served Obasanjo, all former senators and so many of them. They have all come together and teamed up with former governor Peter Odili who now takes full charge of the party.”
According to the source, when President Jonathan was trying to bring back Amaechi to the party, Odili led these people to the (presidential) villa, asking him not to do so because “Amaechi is no more a member of PDP in Rivers”.
No plan to quit PDP yet – Amaechi
Amaechi, who is the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), has said he is yet to make up his mind on whether to leave the ruling PDP for any other political party.
Amaechi reacted yesterday to rumours that of the seven governors supporting the Abubakar Baraje-led “new PDP”, five had resolved to remain in the ruling party, while himself and Nyako would join opposition political parties, having lost control of the PDP in their respective states.
The governor, who spoke through his chief of staff, Hon. Tony Okocha, said since the tussle over the leadership of the party is still before the Court of Appeal, it would be unwise to declare that he had lost control of the structure of the ruling party in the state.
Illegality fuels crisis – Nyako
In his reaction to the new development, Governor Nyako said the crisis rocking the state chapter of the PDP was caused by the brigandage of a few party chieftains to foist illegality through the dissolution of the legitimate party exco in the state.
Nyako’s director of press and public affairs, Mallam Ahmad Sajo, told LEADERSHIP Weekend that the issue was not whether the governor was still in control of the party’s structure in the state.
“Is the taking of the party structure in the first place justified? The governor is complaining over the illegal dissolution of a legitimate party exco in Adamawa, which is the height of political brigandage,” he said.