Jonathan faces challenge of rebuilding PDP

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By SUNDAY ODIBASHI

FORMER President Goodluck Jonathan has suspended his holidays which he commenced after vacating office on May 29, 2015, to resume partisan politics with the determination to rebuild the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the forthcoming governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states, and thereafter, subsequent elections.
Perhaps, the former president’s aloofness from political activities might have been longer but for the emerging challenge in Bayelsa State where notable PDP members defected enmasse to the All Progressives Congress (APC) to consolidate the opposition in the build up to the December 5 governorship poll.
President Jonathan had before vacation of office promised PDP members that he will come back to rebuild the party towards the 2019 general elections when he expected PDP will regain power from the APC.
Jonathan’s resumption of political activities is coming at a time several political actors across the two dominant political parties are negotiating new alliances and new political parties towards 2019. About two power blocs in the PDP were identified to be negotiating forming new political parties in alliance with some APC members while the original PDP may be left with skeletal membership.
One group was disclosed to be purportedly led by the former national chairman, Adamu Mua’zu, and the other group revealed to be allegedly led by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, including some former PDP governors and senators.
Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, was fingered to be part of the Mua’zu group working towards forming a new political party.
The former SGF in Jonathan’s administration had quickly debunked the “report that he is part of a group of PDP politicians who have teamed up with the party’s former Chairman Ahmed Mua’zu, to form a new political party”.
He was gathered to have said that “he has not had any meeting or discussion with Mua’zu towards formation of a new political party.”
Anyim had also said he is not aware that any person or group of persons is in the process of forming any new party or parties and that no one has so far consulted him on the matter. He had declared in a statement last week: that he is “neither interested in, nor available for, any such consultations.”
The National Daily instigation revealed that even while former President Jonathan stayed off active politics, he didn’t lose constant communication with his supporters and people of goodwill. It was also revealed that the former president still retains opinion leaders and some campaign managers who worked for the PDP in the electioneering campaigns for the 2015 presidential election in the various zones across the country.
More political actors and cultural leaders have also been consulting with relevant contact persons of the former president to be part of the new team for the PDP.
However, former President Jonathan is not interested in contesting for the presidency again but has only resolved to work for the PDP as though he is the man in the race, a close source to the former president revealed.
The source said the former President is determined to return power at the centre to the PDP and send APC back to the opposition in 2019.
Many stakeholders had wondered why the former president remained silent while notable PDP members defected to the PDP in droves, a political exodus most stakeholders perceived to have depopulated and tentatively weakened the PDP in Bayelsa.
There were, however, reports that the former President had a slight dispute with Governor Seriake Dickson, and probably may not have supported him for a second term. Perhaps, constant reports that the APC was on the path to take over Bayelsa from the PDP, Jonathan’s state, might have compelled a rethink on which the former President registered his presence at Dickson’s declaration fort second term last week.
Former President Jonathan had at Dickson’s re-election declaration at the Samson Siasia Stadium, acknowledged that it will be a shame to him and his supporters if PDP will lose Bayelsa to APC. Jonathan attended the declaration in the company of his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan and former Governor of Bayelsa State, DSP Alamieyeseigha to mobilize support for Dickson.
Jonathan had declared, inter alia, at the event: “When he told me that he wants to declare for second term, I said he should do it. Some people were asking me questions through bulk SMS. But I want to tell him that I would also be here when he is presented with the flag of the Party. One of the things worrying the Federal Government is the issue of workers salary by states. Dickson has done well in that aspect. Another issue is that of the borrowing. Dickson has done well. On infrastructures and development, Dickson has tried.”
Former Bayelsa Governor D.S.P Alameiseigha had also noted that the gathering of PDP heavyweights at the event was a mark of the “pre-electoral victory celebrations.” Alameiseigha is celebrated as the Governor-General of the Ijaw Nation and has remained a political authority in Bayelsa State since 1999, even despite his political travails in the hands of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The December governorship election in Bayelsa State constitutes a litmus test for Jonathan on not only to protect his pride but also as harbinger to re-establish his prominence in the PDP and the challenges of rebuilding the party at the mainstream.

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