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Obasanjo Withdraws From Mediation Role In PDP Crisis

September 22, 2013

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has reportedly withdrawn from the peace talks to restore peace to the beleaguered ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) after the presidency, the party leadership and the G-7 governors failed to honour the truce terms reached by all the stakeholders.

The former president had waded into the crisis with the support of PDP elders including former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida; former national chairmen Senator Barnabas Gemade; Dr. Ahmadu Ali and the chairman, Board of Trustees of the party, Chief Tomy Anenih in a bid to end the acrimony between President Goodluck Jonathan and the seven aggrieved governors caused by the perceived second term ambition of the president come 2015.
The PDP elders met separately with the warring factions and appealed to them to sheathe their swords; an appeal the parties have obviously ignored.
General Babangida was the first to have been reported to back out of the peace talks following comments attributed to a former militant leader – Mujahid Asari Dokubo that there would be “blood on the streets” if President Jonathan is prevented from running for a second term under the platform of the PDP.
According to a source close to Obasanjo, the former leader had resolved to wait till the time the feuding parties would come back to the elders in the interest of the PDP and their personal ambitions as 2015 draws closer.
The aide said, “From all indications, both the presidency with the party leadership and the seven governors are not ready and willing to embrace peace; they are poised to fight to the end but this would never help the party. The party elders have done their best by intervening in the dispute, but the two camps are not listening, and so the likes of Obasanjo have given up, watching the shameful scenario. It is a pity.”

He further said: “In the rule of swimming, when you see a man drowning, those who know how to swim would not jump into the river while the man still have enough strength to swim into safety. This is because saving him at that time might lead to the drowning of the two. He has to wait until the man loses hope and surrenders to the torrent. Baba (Obasanjo) has done his best; he called some elders of the party with a view to intervening, but the two camps are not ready to listen to the voice of elders.”
The source further disclosed that Obasanjo was unhappy with the dimension the crisis had taken and “foresees a problem for the party in 2015”.
“From the experience, Obasanjo moved in when he foresaw a bigger problem ahead. He has met with the governors who are angry and those that are with President Jonathan including the president himself, but neither of the two camps took heed of the advice of the elders. Remember, I told you that Obasanjo strongly believes some of presidential aides are fuelling the crisis. He has urged them to refrain from the media war, that it would not help. And for saying that, they began to accuse him of setting the stage for the crisis.
“Then, when the governors met with the president, the outcome was read by the governor of Niger State (Babangida Aliyu) and another meeting was fixed for October 7, but, shortly after the meeting, some aides to President Jonathan began to disclose what was discussed and what was not. As a response, the aggrieved camp shifted the battle to the National Assembly. It seems some people are benefitting from the crisis and the earlier the president and the PDP leadership is aware of this, the better for our party,” the source said.

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