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By Donald Ojogo/Abuja
The Presidency on Monday directed “immediate reconciliatory efforts” among Governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) before the next National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party, Daily Independent has gathered.
But as the reconciliatory moves led by Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT), Tony Anenih, and Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum (PDPGF), Godswill Akpabio, begin today, the leadership of the party has said “there is no need for that because the Governors are together.”
Daily Independent learnt from a Presidency source on Tuesday that President Goodluck Jonathan gave the directive to Anenih and Akpabio shortly before leaving for Cote d’Ivoire last week.
The PDPGF was formed ostensibly as a counter force to the Rotimi Amaechi-led Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) after two attempts by pro-Jonathan Governors to remove the Rivers State Governor as chairman of the NGF failed.
The PDPGF is chaired by Akpabio.
Akpabio, in a chat with journalists shortly after he became chairman of the body, described some PDP members as Judases, saying his mission was to flush them out of the party.
“When you have more Judases than you have disciples – the Judases are more than disciples now – we have to cleanse the system of Judases to support Mr. President; what the PDP is trying to do now is to cleanse its house, try to identify the Judases and whisper it to them to go out, the train is moving and you cannot stand, otherwise we will crush you,” Akpabio said.
The Presidency source said some of the Governors had put calls through to Akpabio and Jonathan, expressing their reservations even as some of them expressed fears that the statement was capable of “inhibiting reconciliation.”
But the source told Daily Independent that Jonathan directed both Anenih and Akpabio to begin efforts to “bring all Governors back on track.”
“In a situation like this, we cannot shy away from the fact that some people somewhere might have their feelings and egos bruised; what is then important is to ensure that people like that are brought together so that we can forge ahead.
“Honestly, some of the Governors, even those we believe cannot compromise our party, had to call Mr. President, expressing their fears that the statement of the PDP Governors’ Forum chairman was capable of inhibiting reconciliation.
“So, the President immediately liaised with the BoT chairman and Akpabio to reach out to the Governors, because if we leave it to Akpabio alone, it might turn out to be negative because there are some who are neither here nor there; meaning that their position is not clear on a number of issues.
“Such people are more difficult to deal with than even the stubborn ones we are seeing.
“But I think they are making progress and at the appropriate time, Nigerians will see that we have a way of settling our internal differences.”
Efforts to reach Anenih on the progress made were fruitless last night.
But Special Adviser to Akpabio on Media, Aniete Ekong, told Daily Independent on telephone that he was out of the country with his boss, promising to call back.
Akpabio is expected to arrive Abuja today to firm up arrangements for the reconciliation process.
However, the PDP said it was unaware that Governors elected on its platform were not united, insisting, therefore, that reconciling them was out of place.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Olisa Metuh, who spoke with our correspondent, asked; “Who among the Governors said he was angry with Governor Akpabio’s statement that there are Judases? We don’t react to things we know nothing about.
“In any case, there is nothing to reconcile among PDP Governors, there is no need for that, they are together, there is no crisis they have to resolve,” Metuh said.