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The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are locked in a row over weekend’s visit by APC governors to former President Goodluk Jonathan, a PDP chieftain in Abuja.
While the PDP said the visit underscored an endorsement of the acceptability of the former president and the PDP, the ruling party said the opposition platform was rattled and disoriented by the visit.
PDP Publicity Secretary Kola Ologbodiyan said in a statement that the visit affirmed that “Nigeria as a nation is better under the leadership of the PDP.”
But, chiding the PDP for its reaction, APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary Yakini Nabena said PDP has lost focus.
Dr Jonathan on Friday, played host to four APC governors – Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi); Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa): Dave Umahi (Ebonyi); and National Caretaker Chairman Mai Mala Buni (Yobe), along with some party leaders.
The governors’ visit to the former president, barely 24 hours after the Ebonyi governor defected to the APC, was said to have upset the PDP leadership.
According to sources, what unnerved PDP leaders was that no APC governor had paid Jonathan a birthday visit since he lost power in 2015.
Another event that was said to have heightened fears in the opposition camp was the presence of some PDP big wigs at the wedding ceremony of Kaduna State Governor, Ahmed Nasir El-Rufai’s son in Abuja.
Dr. Jonathan was said to have supported the APC during the last governorship election in his Bayelsa home state.
Also, PDP leaders have expressed concern over the likelihood of the APC leaders baiting Jonathan with the ruling party’s 2023 presidential ticket.
They fear the former President may swallow the bait, with the possible implication of
returning power to the North after a-four-year tenure. Constitutionally, Jonathan has only a single chance to contest for President again.
Ologbodiyan said APC leaders who discredited Jonathan in 2015 are now singing his praises.
He said: “The visit, which is a clear endorsement of the acceptability of the PDP administration, also indicates that the APC, in 2015, only created artificial symbols of misgovernance, corruption and other alleged misgivings just to discredit our party and grab the levers of power to achieve their selfish desires”.
Ologbodiyan added: “It is evident that the Jonathan administration succeeded in office basically because our party understands the nuances of our nation, which we translated into people-oriented polices and programmes, in line with the manifesto of our party, to make life comfortable for Nigerians.
“This visit to Jonathan by the APC governors is a direct acceptance of the successes recorded by our party in building a strong nation with a virile economy that was rated as one of the fastest growing economies of the world.
“The visit is therefore, a subtle step by APC governors into the corridors of the PDP in agreement that our party holds the solution to the myriads of problems brought to our nation by their APC and President Muhammadu Buhari”.
The publicity secretary said the visit was an apology by the APC to the PDP and to Nigerians “over the lies, beguilements and other irresponsible allegations deployed by the APC to grab power, only to lead our nation on a journey to nowhere”.
He “cautioned” Nigerians to be watchful of the antics of the APC that have failed in governance and the management of its own affairs.
Ologbodiyan added: “For us in the PDP, the unity, stability, progress and development of our dear nation remain paramount and as such, we will not allow the failed APC and its pranksters, who have betrayed the trust of Nigerians, to mislead them once again”.
But, Nabena advised the PDP to concentrate on its crisis.
He added: “The PDP is obviously rattled and disoriented by the recent courtesy visit by some Governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“Chairman, APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) and Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni led the APC delegation.
“At a time when the PDP and its leadership is grappling with a crisis of confidence, one would expect the failed opposition to focus on picking itself up.
“As a party for all progressives, the APC on its part will continue to consolidate on its national appeal and acceptance.”