Former President Goodluck Jonathan has dismissed reports that he was behind the crisis currently rocking the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Jonathan in a statement signed by his Media Adviser, Ikechukwu Eze, said he had served his country “meritoriously at both the state and federal levels, and having been out of office for almost eight years and Nigerians have come to trust and love him for who he is, while in office, he had no enemies to fight, and still has no enemies to fight, now that he has become a private citizen”.
THEWILL reports that Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, together with governors: Ikpeazu, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu, Seyi Makinde of Oyo, and Samuel Ortom of Benue, generally referred to as the G5 governors of the PDP, have withheld support from Atiku until their demand for the resignation of the party’s chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, is met.
Apart from accusing Ayu of corruption, the G-5 governors from the southern part of the country have contended that it betrays equity for the party’s presidential candidate and the national chairman to come from the same region (North).
The governors have also ensured that PDP candidates for the 2023 elections in their States cut ties with the national leadership and the presidential candidate.
While all efforts to reconcile the aggrieved governors had hit the rock, the PDP had recently contacted the former President to further initiate peace talks with the G5.
However, Jonathan dismissed reports that the G5 were loyal to him and fighting his cause to pay back former vice-president, Atiku Abubakar.
Atiku was among former PDP stalwarts that pulled out of the PDP in 2014 to All Progressives Congress (APC) and frustrated Jonathan’s reelection in 2015.
The former Nigerian President expressed hope that the party would be able to resolve its internal crisis and unite all members ahead of the forthcoming 2023 elections.
He noted that such peace moves would also be difficult to achieve if some forces in the party continue to engage in “mudslinging, disinformation and manifest tendencies that negate the values that are dear to loyal party members”.
The statement read: “Our attention has been drawn to news media and social media reports linking former President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s name to the current troubles in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), with a false claim that the aggrieved PDP governors are demonstrating their loyalty to him. We would have ignored the strange tale since it is obviously baseless.
“However, we are offering this clarification because we have been reached by many Nigerians who are concerned that such fabrication with a vague and suspicious attribution could be given undeserved prominence on the front page of some national dailies.
“We are also not unmindful of the fact that this being an electioneering season, bizarre tales are often contrived, propagated and weaponized to either smear others or deliver cheap political advantage to the purveyors.
“First, we would like to make the point that it is not out of place if there were crises in a political party like the PDP and a former President who served under the party platform is called upon to intervene.
“That being the case, we initially did not see anything wrong with the headlines in some papers, indicating that the former President was being persuaded to help resolve the issues in the party.
“However, we are dismayed that the seemingly purpose-minded headlines were only cast to mask the mischief of the sponsors of the story and hoodwink the unsuspecting populace.
“Our attention was called to provocative and insulting statements in separate but similar versions of the story in different news media, either claiming that “the whole thing we are seeing in the PDP … is orchestrated for President Jonathan,” or that “he (Jonathan) is encouraging Governors Nyesom Wike, Makinde, Ikpeazu, Ugwuanyi and Ortom to behave the way they are doing”, knowing that “these five governors are fighting his cause.”
“We believe that such duplicitous statements could not have emanated from the camps of those who truly wish the party well.
“It simply shows that the so called ‘sources’ of the story are not disposed to the peace and unity they pretend to be seeking in the PDP.
“How could anybody turn around in 2022 to accuse Jonathan of bearing a grudge against the PDP when the former President had campaigned vigorously for the party and its Presidential candidate during the 2019 elections?
“Those who insinuate that Dr. Jonathan is not happy with the PDP’s Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, because of whatever roles he played ahead of the 2015 elections forget that the former President actively campaigned for Atiku in 2019, attending the flag off of his campaigns in Sokoto and subsequently participating in the campaigns in some states like Rivers and Bayelsa.
“The fact that Dr. Jonathan stood out as an exemplary politician who, throughout his political career, abhorred treachery and mean-mindedness, and played politics without bitterness, needs no gainsay.
“Unlike many of his detractors, the former President has, out of office, progressed to a higher level of statesmanship, faithfully applying himself to causes that promote peace, love, unity and progress, across the entire west African sub-region.
“It is Dr. Jonathan’s wish that the PDP is able to resolve its internal crisis, unite all members and have a good showing in the forthcoming 2023 elections.
“We wish to however point out that it will be difficult to achieve this aspiration if some forces in the party continue to engage in mudslinging, disinformation and manifest tendencies that negate the values that are dear to loyal party members.
“Former President Jonathan had served this country meritoriously at both the state and federal levels.
“He has now been out of office for almost eight years and Nigerians have come to trust and love him for who he is.
“While in office, he had no enemies to fight. He still has no enemies to fight, now that he has become a private citizen.”