Former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has rubbished claims that five PDP rebel governors are working for him and merely demonstrating their loyalty to him.
The governors, Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) and Samuel Ortom (Benue) have been fighting for the resignation of the PDP’s national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu.
A statement issued by Ikechukwu Eze, Special Adviser to Jonathan on Friday, said the former president’s attention had been drawn to news media and social media reports linking his name to the current troubles in PDP, with a false claim that the aggrieved PDP governors were 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 frontpage 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,” the statement said.
The statement added that “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.”
According to the statement, “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.”
The statement added that Jonathan had served this country meritoriously at both the state and federal levels, saying that he had 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.”