Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) factional Chair Kawu Baraje yesterday said the aggrieved leaders of the party and the G-7 governors would give President Goodluck Jonathan a deadline on Sunday, if he fails to meet their demands.
He said contrary to insinuations, Jonathan and the G-7 governors were not moving towards any accord.
For peace to reign in PDP, the aggrieved governors and the Baraje faction tabled five demands before Jonathan and a seven-man Peace Panel headed by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The conditions are:
•the sack of National Chairman Bamanga Tukur,
•return of party structure to governors in Adamawa, Rivers, Kano, and other states,
•sticking to one term tenure by the President by foregoing re-election in 2015,
•resolution of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and Rivers State crises, including the lifting of Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s suspension; and
•stopping “harassment” of governors by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC).
Of the five demands, Jonathan met only one on Monday night. He conceded to party’s structure in the G-7 states and restoration of the structures to governors in Adamawa and Kano.
There was deadlock on the NGF row because Amaechi rejected the proposal to step down as NGF chairman.
Apart from being evasive on the Rivers crisis, Jonathan also agreed with the governors to shift talks on 2015 poll and the fate of Tukur to Sunday.
Ahead of the resumption of talks on Sunday, Baraje spoke exclusively with our correspondent yesterday in Abuja.
He said: “We are not inching towards any accord with Jonathan on the PDP crisis. There is nothing like settlement.
“I can tell you that we are only discussing, but the main thing is not being discussed yet.
“So, as far as we are concerned, the struggle still continues; no retreat, no surrender. Our demands are clear and we will not give up, until our demands are met.”
Responding to a question, Baraje said: “We will go back; we will partake in the talk on Sunday because we have been part of it all along.
“However, it is at the Sunday meeting that we are going to give them a deadline within which they should tell us their responses to our demands.
“Our struggle is for Nigerians and in the interest of Nigeria; it is a liberation struggle for Nigeria’s democracy.
“I want to assure our members that we will not give up on this struggle; we are not a let-down or a stooge for anybody.”
Senator Bukola Saraki yesterday dismissed insinuations that the political battle between members of the new PDP and President Goodluck Jonathan is due to a “personal grouse” by members of the factional group. He said the action is an effort to save Nigeria.
Speaking in Ilorin, he said: “it is wrong for people to say or think that what we are doing is a personal grouse and it is because the president is weak unlike former president Olusegun Obasanjo. No, even if it were Obasanjo today, things would be different because the environment is different.”
On his invitation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Saraki said that he might still be brought under more scrutiny by security agencies as long as the PDP crisis continues.
The former governor was recently quizzed by the anti graft agency over how he used the N17 billion bond obtained by his administration in 2010.
He said he had given sufficient answers to all issues raised by EFCC on the bond issue.
He added that he would however not be surprised, given the current scenario in the national polity if another agency “wakes up tomorrow” to say it had discovered some other issues he must answer for.
He gave details of how his administration utilized the bond and praised the EFCC team that interrogated him for being “professional.”
He added, “yes I was with EFCC on Monday and Tuesday to answer queries on the bond issue. I made it clear that bond is not money available to any government just like that; that to access it you must go through a rigorous process; that we had to submit ourselves to international evaluation before we could be given. I gave them details of how we spent the bond because if any government wants to be reckless it won’t be with a bond that has stringent conditions before you can access it. I listed the projects we used the money for and they are all verifiable.
“It is unfortunate that we all know what is happening today in Nigeria so I won’t be surprised if another agency wakes up tomorrow to say they have a new thing about me.”
“The projects include Aviation College, Irrigation project, Ilorin water reticulation, Township stadium, Rural electrification, KWASU, loan refunding and Kwara Mall.”