President Jonathan Dozes Off At Convention
Jonathan- President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday dozed off several times at the mini-convention of the Peoples Democratic Party at Eagles Square in Abuja where several governors elected on the party’s ticket walked out on him to join a political group led by former Vice President Abubakar Atiku.
In all, eight governors, the latest being Governor Usman Sa’idu Nasamu Dakingari of Kebbi, walked out on Mr. Jonathan’s PDP, leaving the visibly bewildered president in the cold. Other PDP governors who decamped to the Atiku-led group included Chibuike Rotimi of Rivers State, Sule Lamido of Jigawa, Babangida Aliyu of Niger, Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano, Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara, Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto and Muritala Nyako of Adamawa state.
An aide to one of the governors who left told SaharaReporters that several other PDP governors had made a commitment to join their group soon. “Within the next two to three weeks, the PDP will discover that it is a party of Dr. Bamanga Tukur, President Jonathan and Governor [Godswill] Akpabio,” said the source.
An aide to President Jonathan told SaharaReporters this evening that the president knew there was disaffection within the party, but was not expecting the move made by Mr. Atiku and the group of governors who followed him. The aide said it was as if Governor Akpabio of Akwa Ibom was the sole PDP governor who was solidly behind the president. But the aide promised that both President Jonathan and the PDP were capable of weathering the storm and rallying to win the 2015 elections.
“The truth is that Alhaji Atiku is a certified loser,” said the presidential aide. He added: “So, even though he did what he did today and is enjoying his laughter, we are going to have the last laugh. In fact, you will see that Atiku is going to beg to be accepted back to the PDP as he did before. Anybody who is following him is following political failure.”
Meanwhile, our correspondent at the venue of the convention described Mr. Jonathan as looking stunned by today’s developments. The president sat alone talking to himself and shaking his head several times without anyone coming to his aid. Our correspondent noted that even those who sat close to Mr. Jonathan, like the party’s divisive national chairman, Bamanga Tukur, and Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State did not utter a word of consolation to the forlorn-looking President. Vice President Namadi Sambo simply looked away as the party that brought them to power was being torn to pieces.
For the first time since the formation of the party, most hired delegates left the Eagles Square even before voting started.
Many of the stands were near empty as a significant number of the delegates followed their governors out of the venue of the convention with Mr. Jonathan looking on helplessly.