The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) post-election reconciliation plan failed to take off Thursday as aggrieved governors, under the aegis of G5, shunned a scheduled parley with the party’s presidential candidate in the February 25 elections, Atiku Abubakar, his running mate Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, and other party leaders.
During the meeting at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, Atiku emphasised the need to reposition the main opposition party.
Although G-5 Governors – Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), were invited to the interactive session by Chairman of PDP Governors Forum, Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal, they declined.
None of them sent a representative.
Tambuwal had planned to bring Atiku, Okowa, PDP leadership and G5 governors together under the same roof, following their parting of ways before the general election.
A statement by the Director-General of the PDP Governors Forum, CID Maduabum, stated that the event was meant to serve as an opportunity for PDP leaders, stakeholders and members to come together for the first time after the election.
It was gathered that the organisers had planned to explore the possibility of initiating discussions that could birth a fresh reconciliation process.
Although, Enugu State governor-elect, Peter Mbah attended the meeting, Ugwuanyi stayed away.
Rivers State governor-elect, Simi Fubara did not attend the event, apparently because Governor Wike also did not show up.
Led by Wike, the G-5 had been at loggerheads with Atiku and the party leadership owing to disagreements over presidential nominations and failure by the party to zone the ticket to the South.
Atiku lamented the decline of the PDP, from its dominant position in 1999 with 28 governors, to its present 13 in 2023.
He said the party had been plagued with leadership challenges from the time it came on stream, regretting that the challenges have continued to escalate over the years, leading to the loss of its strongholds.
Atiku said: “Our party has been declining as a result of these challenges. This has necessitated the urgent need for reforms to enable the PDP regain its preeminent position in Nigeria’s political space and also in Africa because we are the largest political party in Africa.”
Former Vice President Namadi Sambo lamented over what he described as divisive tendencies tearing the Kaduna State chapter of the PDP apart.
He complained that party members were being suspended arbitrarily, adding that “all ingredients for trouble” were present in the running of the chapter.
Sambo called for the intervention of the national leadership to prevent the crisis from getting out of hand.
The PDP Acting National Chairman, Umar Damagum, urged the party’s first time governors-elect to follow in the footsteps of the PDP governors and strive to improve on their performances in office.
He said: “States governed by the PDP have always stood out in terms of development, urging critical organs of the party to work together for its good.” Governors at the meeting were Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Duoye Diri (Bayelsa), Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto) and Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta).
Other governors-elect who attended were Dauda Lawal (Zamfara), Sheriff Oborevwori (Delta), Caleb Mutfwang (Plateau) and Agbu Kefas (Taraba). The Akwa Ibom governor-elect, Umo Bassey Eno was represented by his deputy. The Akwa Ibom Governor, Udom Emmanuel, also did not attend.
Also in attendance were a former Bayelsa governor, Senator Seriake Dickson, former Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, Acting chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) Senator Adolphus Wabara and a former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
Former Governors Ayo Fayose (Ekiti), Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), Ibrahim Dankwabo (Gombe), who chaired the PDP Governors Forum in the past and who were listed to be honoured, did not attend the event.
A former Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr Muda Yusuf, who delivered a keynote address, urged governors to do more of peer review across party lines.
Yusuf warned the governors against over dependence on federal allocation, saying that the trend has weakened initiatives and engendered lack of fiscal resilience in many states.
He urged the states to embrace the Treasury Single Account, noting that some states have already keyed into the system.
Yusuf enjoined the governors to also key into biometric registration of workers and pensions to block revenue leakages.