Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan may be suspended from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over his alleged romance with the All Progressives Congress (APC) which contributed to the defeat of his party in last Saturday’s governorship election in his home state of Bayelsa.
APC’s candidate David Lyon polled 352,552 votes to defeat PDP’s Senator Douye Diri who scored 143,172.
To some PDP chieftains, the loss of the state to APC after PDP’s dominance for the past 20 years was chiefly as a result of Jonathan’s indifference to what would happen to the ruling party in the state during the election.
Stalwarts of the party who spoke to Daily Trust yesterday lamented the abysmal performance of the party at the just concluded elections, calling for a probe.
The hosting of Lyon and other chieftains of the APC by Jonathan at his Yenagoa residence, hours after the declaration of the results heightened the suspicion about the role he played in the defeat of his party.
PDP set to probe Bayelsa’s fall to APC
Credible sources told Daily Trust that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP has concluded plans to meet and review the conduct and outcome of the Kogi and Bayelsa states governorship elections held on Saturday.
It was gathered that the meeting would review both external and internal factors that led to the party’s defeat, especially in Bayelsa which had been a PDP stronghold for many years.
PDP National Publicity Secretary Kola Ologbondiyan, in a telephone chat with our correspondent last night, confirmed the development.
“The National Working Committee (NWC) will meet soon to conduct a post-mortem on the elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states,” he said.
He, however, declined comments on the agenda of the meeting and whether Jonathan and other stakeholders were to be probed over their roles in the Bayelsa poll.
However, a foundation member of the party from the North, Alhaji Aminu Yakudima, said the NWC should in conjunction with other organs of the party investigate and fish out those who worked against the party’s interest in Bayelsa.
“Some people worked against the interest of the PDP, therefore, the national leadership should investigate and discipline them to serve as deterrent to others.
“Those found guilty should be suspended or sanctioned in line with the provisions of the PDP constitution. By and large, there was this issue of persistent thuggery but also, there was a problem within the PDP.
“Secondus as the national chairman had been the major problem to the organisation of the party. He was supposed to call a meeting of various organs of the party to see how we can provide a double-barrel approach to the electioneering process.
“He was supposed to organise the PDP very well after the primaries before the elections. In fact, there was no election in Bayelsa because it was a game of power supremacy,” he said.
A former member of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Sam Nkire, said the party lost Bayelsa because of greed on the part of Governor Seriake Dickson.
“I blame it on greed on the part of Governor Dickson and I think it should be a lesson to other governors and god-fathers.
“The governor singlehandedly chose an unpopular candidate to come from the Senate to become governor while he goes to the Senate himself, and it was against the wish of the people.
“Again, I think it is high time Nigerians stopped arrogating the power of God to themselves… They think the states are now chiefdoms. Everybody wants to be.
“But the best thing to do is to thank your God and thank the people for giving you the opportunity to serve and you go away quietly. But you want the state to now become your personal property.
“He should have learnt from other god-fathers who kissed the dust recently. I have no cry for him,” he said.
On whether those who worked against the interest of the party would be sanctioned, he simply asked, “How do you know them?”
On whether the visit by some top APC leaders to Jonathan after the declaration of results meant he helped the party, Chief Nkire said,” I don’t think so. Jonathan is a former president; he is an elder statesman. They cannot come to that state and not pay him homage, which will be undemocratic.”
But a source in the Legal Department of the PDP National Secretariat said Jonathan had nothing to do with the outcome of the elections and should be spared all embarrassing gimmicks.
“People should live beyond politics. Jonathan is a global citizen now. So whoever goes to Bayelsa and he is at home, he could be visited.
Also, a chieftain of the PDP in Bayelsa State said the complain of anti-party activities against Jonathan which allegedly resulted in the defeat of the party during Saturday’s poll cannot be proven because the ex-president cast his vote and delivered his unit for the party.
Though Jonathan lost his local government to Lyon, he has never associated with the opposition party, the APC, in the state.
What PDP constitution says on anti-party
Section 58(1) of the PDP Constitution 2017 (as amended) says, “Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the party shall have power to discipline any member who:
(a) Commits any breach of the party’s Constitution, and or Manifesto; (b) Says or does anything likely to bring the party into disrepute, hatred or contempt; (c) Disobeys or neglects to carry out lawful directives of the party or any organ or officer of the party; (d) Engages in dishonest practices, defrauds the party, its members or officials; (e) Is persistently absent from meetings or other official duties; (f ) Engages in antiparty activities; (g) Engages in disorderly conduct at meetings or rallies or at any party function; (h) Engages in any conduct likely to cause disaffection among members of the party or is likely to disrupt the peaceful, lawful and efficient conduct of the business of the party; (i) Engages in unauthorized publicity of disputes within the party or creates a parallel party organ at any level. (j) Promotes factions or belongs to any group under the guise of the party and by whatever name called, not being one provided for in this constitution; (k) Organizes, retains, trains, equips or encourages the organization, retention, training, equipping of any member or group of members for the purpose of employing violence or coercion or any form of intimidation whatsoever; (l) Resorts to court action or litigation on any disputes or on any matter whatsoever concerning rights, obligations and duties of any member of the party without first availing himself or herself of the remedies provided by the party under this constitution; or (m) Fails, refuses or neglects to treat a petition, complaints or appeal timeously.
Section 59 (1) said, any member of the party who commits any of the offences listed in Section 56 (1) of this Constitution shall be liable to any or a combination of the following penalties: (a) Reprimand (b) Censure (c) Fine (d) Suspension with a fine (e) Debarment from holding any party office (f) Removal from office (g) Expulsion from the party.
Jonathan’s grievances with the PDP in the state started after the party governorship primaries. There were allegations of manipulation of the ward congresses and other irregularities as Senator Duoye Diri polled 561 votes to defeat former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe, who had the backing of the former president.
Jonathan was also alleged to be bitter after the state elders’ popular consensus candidate, Alaibe lost out in the primary election.
Daily Trust reports that it was after the crisis of the primary that Jonathan visited President Muhammadu Buhari where they held a closed door meeting at the Presidential Villa.
The agenda of the meeting between President Buhari and Jonathan remained unknown to newsmen.
The former president was absent at the PDP mega rally on November 6, despite being named ‘Father of the Day’.
Also, Alaibe who came second in the governorship primary was absent at the rally, including Governor Nyesom Wike of neighbouring Rivers State.
Days to the election, Jonathan’s mother, Eunice prayed for Lyon’s victory at the poll.
“David my son, on behalf of my entire family, I have blessed you, Almighty God wants to use you to change the story of Bayelsa State,” she said.
Analysts believed that she wouldn’t have blessed an opposition candidate without the consent of her son considering the implication of whatever she would say.
Hosts gov-elect, others
Lyon and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva led the leaders of APC including serving governors to pay a “thank you visit” to Jonathan yesterday, heightening suspicion over the level of support he granted him.
The APC stalwarts were said to have gone to the former Nigerian leader’s residence to appreciate him for his support and that of his family members towards the emergence of the governor-elect.
Speaking during the visit,
Sylva, having recognized the position of Jonathan as the father and leader of the state, said they found it necessary to visit him and present the incoming governor of the state to him.
He noted that as a former president and leader of the state, Jonathan deserved respect and honour by all Bayelsans, irrespective of their partisan party leanings, hence the need to present the governor-elect for his blessing and guidance.
He said: “Being a former president of the country and a past governor of the state, Jonathan remains an asset to the state and his inputs will always be needed to advance the course of governance in Bayelsa.”
Responding, Jonathan tasked the governor-elect to put the welfare and interest of Bayelsans above every other issue.
He said: “As a former President of Nigeria, I am a father to all Bayelsans, hence my doors are open to all citizens irrespective of their political affiliations.
“I urge you to make the welfare of Bayelsans a top priority and carry all Bayelsans along irrespective of the party they voted for.
“Elections are over now, so I want you to see yourself as the governor of all Bayelsans and not only to the sections that voted for you. This is the way to move Bayelsa forward,” he said.
National Chairman of the APC Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has also thanked Jonathan for the warm reception he accorded the party’s governor-elect Lyon together with the national campaign team led by Governor Badaru. Oshiomhole spoke at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday after presenting Lyon to President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said the reception given to the team that included Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, who is the Chairman of Progressive Governors Forum and co-chair of the Bayelsa election, was in line with Jonathan’s character of simplicity and commitment.
Governor Bagudu, while speaking, said those around former President Jonathan were also pleased with the outcome of the election.
He said the former president was also happy from the information they received.
“It is equally noteworthy that Bayelsa is the home of a former president of Nigeria and this election is won by a party different from the one he belongs to. The election has been accepted by all, including those around him and so far, from what we hear and what we are, he also is happy with the outcome irrespective of the difference in party, which is an indication of the transparency of the process.
“This is a victory for Nigeria because it shows that parts of the country that have been under another political party, can in a free and fair election make their democratic choice and vote for another party with the right candidate,” he said.