Former President Goodluck Jonathan, on Monday, in Abuja, began a subtle move to douse tension generated among members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP over the outcome of last Saturday’s national convention in Abuja.
The former President assembled a team of his loyalists, who it was gathered, would visit aggrieved aspirants with a view to appealling to them to forget about their grievances and work with the Uche Secondus-led members of the National Working Committee.
Though the party has a standing committee on reconciliation, headed by the Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, it was gathered that the former President decided to assemble his team as the Leader of the party.
Among those in Jonathan’s team are his former Minister of Special Duties, Tanimu Turaki (SAN); a former Minister of State for Finance, Amb. Bashir Yuguda; a former Minister of Finance, Nanadi Usman; and his (Jonathan’s) bosom friend, King Turner.
Jonathan, on Monday, led his team to the house of a former Minister of National Planning, Prof. Suleiman Abubakar, in Abuja.
Those in his entourage were Turaki and Turner.
The visit, which was described as unscheduled, was said to have taken Suleiman by surprise as he was said not to have been informed that the former President was visiting.
Suleiman had threatened to challenge the outcome of the convention in court, saying his name was technically omitted among those contesting the position of the National Publicity Secretary.
He had told The PUNCH on Sunday that he would go to court to challenge the outcome of the election into the position he wanted to occupy.
A source at the meeting said the former President asked him to sheathe his sword and let bygones be bygones.
The source added, “Jonathan appealed for restraint. He thanked the candidate for his doggedness and passion for the party and pleaded with him to accept the outcome of the election as the wish of God.
“Jonathan was full of praises for Sulaiman, who he admitted apparently remains the most qualified person for the job.
“Those in his entourage were Turaki, Yuguda, Usman and Turner.”
Confirming the visit, Suleiman said he thanked the former President and promised not to go to court.
He said, “Yes, it was true they visited me. I thanked him for the visit and his compassionate posture, that indeed he is a consummate leader worthy of emulation and that he has indeed inspired me more and I promised I would take to his advice.”
Meanwhile, Secondus has appealed to all those that contested and lost at the convention not to feel bad, saying there was no victor and no vanquished.
He spoke at the national headquarters of the party in Abuja on Monday when he and members of the NWC assumed office.
The new party chairman promised to bring everyone on board in the running of the party.
He stated, “By the special grace of God, elections have come and gone and I declare to you that there is no victor, no vanquished.
“Our first assignment will be to bring all and sundry together, that is reconciliation. We reassure leaders of our party, especially those who contested this election; we have already started work and by the grace of God, it will be productive.
“We promise to rebuild the party to regain the lost grounds. That will start today.
“As I walked in through the gate, it was symbolic. I asked that the gate be thrown open.
“I hereby declare the gate to this party open to all our people irrespective of their religious beliefs, their class. They are free to come into the party especially those who left for one reason or the other.”
He added that he would decentralise power from the centre so that he and members of the NWC would be less busy to enable them (NWC members) to focus on the mission to reclaim power in 2019.
He told the gathering, which included all members of the former National Caretaker Committee, led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi, that the old order was gone.
Secondus commended Makarfi for holding what he described as the best national convention in the history of political parties in the country.
In his remarks, Makarfi said it was wrong to assume that a section of the country had lost out in the party.
He said there was no way the party would alienate any section, appealing to the new leaders of the party to embark on a process that he said would heal the wounds.