With the creation of a splinter group within the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and the purported clipping of Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s wing, President Goodluck Jonathan can now sleep with two eyes closed, National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Bamanga Tukur, has said.
Mr. Jonathan and the PDP had on Sunday masterminded the formation of a splinter group – the PDP Governors’ Forum – as a last gasp effort to dilute the perceived growing political influence of Mr. Amaechi, who was elected chairman of the NGF in June 2011 for an initial two-year term.
But speaking when the chairman of the new splinter group and Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, visited him on Tuesday, Mr. Tukur admitted that he and President Jonathan were having sleepless nights because of the combative attitude of the PDP governors, then led by Mr. Amaechi.
With the inauguration of PDP Governors Forum, Mr Tukur said he can now see well while Mr Jonathan can now sleep well.
“Now I can see very well because I know, in form of leadership of PDP Governors Forum, they are for us,” he said. “I can tell President Goodluck Jonathan, if he was sleeping few hours in the night because he does not know how the party is going, he can now go and have siesta.”
Also speaking, Mr. Akpabio said he would soon embark on the cleansing of the party with a view to sending away members working against its interest.
Describing those working against party’s interest as “Judases”, the Forum Chairman noted that the internal crisis in the ruling party could be attributed to its size and the pursuit of parochial interest by some members he did not name.
He, therefore, counseled them to have a change of mind or risk being thrown out.
“You know we are having challenges but the challenges for me, with what we have started now, have always been a function of PDP. What you saw was an implosion. What has happened to PDP is because of self implosion,” he said.
“When there is an implosion, where there is treachery, where there are more Judases than you have disciples, we want to have good disciples. We know that even in Christendom when Jesus Christ has 12 disciples there was one Judas, but if the Judases were up to nine then Jesus could have been in trouble, the gospel would have been in trouble today.”
“What the PDP is trying to do now is to cleanse its house, to try to identify the ones they called Judas and whisper it to them and said go out, the train is moving and you cannot stand otherwise we will crush you.”
Accompanied on the visit by his Bayelsa State counterpart, Seriake Dickson, Mr Akpabio denied claims that the formation of the Forum was meant to counter and whittle down the influence of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF).
He stressed that the new forum floated on Sunday night was created to tackle the challenges not witnessed previously in the 14-year old party.
He stated, “There was nothing like global warming and HIV about 40 years ago so you
don’t need condoms like we do now. In the same vein there was no PDP Governors’ Forum 14 years ago, because there was no need, we were totally in charge. There was a time that PDP was having almost 27 governors and so if you have a Nigeria Governors’ Forum with 27 members from PDP what do you need another forum for”, he asked.
On the emergence of All Progressive Congress (APC), a coalition of four opposition parties, Mr Akpabio said the PDP would not be bothered by the development because it is the only party that has followership in all parts of the country.
“PDP is the truly the only national party in Nigeria. PDP cannot lose election because Nigerians have come together to form PDP. PDP belong to Nigeria and Nigeria belongs to PDP. There is no godfather somewhere that stay somewhere to remote control PDP,” he stated.