Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has condemned the appointment of President Goodluck Jonathan as leader of a reconciliation committee that will meet with aggrieved party members across the country and resolve all pending disputes within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party.
Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom had told journalists at the end of the party’s National Caucus meeting in Abuja on June 18 that Mr. Jonathan would lead a panel charged with resolving the multiple crises in the party.
But in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday night, Atiku said Mr. Jonathan’s interest and ambition to re-contest in 2015 were at the core of the crises rocking the party and that the President could not be a judge in his own case.
“The President has no business setting up any committee on party matters when his interests are widely believed to be central to the ongoing acrimony within the party,” the former vice president said. “It is therefore imperative that we establish an independent committee comprised of credible and neutral members to look into the crises of the party dispassionately and offer a lasting solution because no one can impose their preferred solution on a Party as diverse as our own. All members must be treated fairly whether or not they belong to the President’s camp. Otherwise, we will force people to exercise other options available to them, which the Party may not like.”
He continued, “President Jonathan might harbour personal designs to continue in office beyond 2015 and it is incumbent upon him to permit the establishment of a nonpartisan committee that will have the autonomy and authority to devise the appropriate strategy to resolve the ongoing turmoil within the party without interference from the Presidency or from anyone.”
The former vice-president wondered why there was a need for a new reconciliation committee when the reports of earlier panels led by former Vice President Alex Ekwueme and Gen. Ike Nwachukwu, had not been implemented.
“Members of these committees sacrificed their time and energy to help the party with constructive and implementable recommendations capable of moving the Party forward,” Atiku said. “It is curious to many of us why the party leadership lacks the moral courage to implement those recommendations. Can impunity and imposition ultimately replace the will of the people? In the words of George Washington, one of America’s founding fathers, “No man is good enough to govern another without his consent.”
Saying as a founding member of the PDP he would not fold his arms and allow the party to continue to derail, the former vice president urged President Jonathan to leave the party alone and allow it to be run independently in the interest of all members.
He said, “I call on the executive arm to leave the Party alone and make a more productive use of its time to govern the country. It will be unhealthy and unhelpful for the government to insist on running the Party and the country at the same time. In mature democracies such as the United States, the President becomes a statesman and the leader of the whole country once his election victory is announced. He leaves party management to party apparatchiks and delve into partisan matters only at policy level. If this model has worked well for the United States, I cannot see why it should not work well for us. The presidential system has its own internal logic and protocol. We need to understand this logic and protocol if our system is to succeed.”