Former President Goodluck Jonathan has clarified his stand on the leadership crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the outcome of a meeting he had with the chairman of the party, Modu Sheriff.
Mr. Jonathan said he only mediated to unify and strengthen the opposition party.
The former president made the clarification in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES by his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze, on Tuesday.
He held a meeting with Mr. Sheriff in Abuja on Monday.
Mr. Sheriff’s leadership of the party was affirmed by the Court of Appeal on Friday.
President Jonathan’s spokesperson denied media report that the former leader, during the visit, endorsed Mr. Sheriff as the national chairman of the party.
He said the issue of endorsement neither came up at the closed-doors meeting nor during the interview the former president had with journalists.
He said as a former president and foremost leader of the party, Mr. Jonathan welcomed Mr. Sheriff and some of his supporters to his house, in line with a mediation role he is playing towards unifying and strengthening the PDP.
“As a peace-loving leader of the party, the former President’s interest is to help reposition PDP to enable it play a constructive role in the affairs of the nation, in view of the imperative of deepening the nation’s democracy,” Mr. Eze said.
“I wish to let those spinning this falsehood know that it just doesn’t add up to fly a contrived banner of endorsement in one breath, and in another, concede that the former President explained his commitment in meeting with different interest groups, towards resolving the differences in the party.”
Mr. Eze explained that the former president opened his doors to Mr. Sheriff upon his request, just as he had earlier done to the Ahmed Makarfi-led caretaker committee members.
He said Mr. Jonathan was prepared to broker more talks until the issues in the leadership of the PDP were finally resolved.
Mr. Jonathan was earlier quoted as referring to Mr. Sheriff as “My Chairman”.
Mr. Eze did not comment on that.
But he said after the meeting with Mr. Sheriff on Monday, the former president also met with Mr. Makarfi and the Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, BoT, Walid Jubrin, later in the evening.
“In deed, it may interest you to know that after meeting with Sheriff, the former President also met with Senator Ahmed Makarfi, leader of the PDP Caretaker Committee, and the party’s Board of Trustees chairman, Senator Walid Jubril, later in the evening,” he said.
Mr. Eze quoted the exact words of the former president, which he said were correctly reported by a section of the media, as follows:
“We (PDP) are not factionalised. We are one. We are solving our problems. There are bound to be differences in politics. It is the way we resolve these differences that make us human beings and that is what makes us leaders. I have met with Sheriff. And I have met with others. I will still meet with others, so that we will be able to do what is expected of us as a political party.”
Mr. Eze further called for fair and balanced reporting of national issues, saying “While we appreciate the interest of journalists in the coverage of the activities of the former President, we urge accurate and constructive reporting, as it is a known fact that we cannot truly develop our nation, if journalists continue to twist and fabricate stories with the intent of misinforming the public.”