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Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has said he needs to do more to reconcile aggrieved members of the party and bring the two factions in it together.
He said though he had been doing it silently without the media knowledge, he nevertheless promised to be more committed to get the warring factions to sheathe their swords.
The former President said this after members of the Board of Trustees of the former ruling party had a meeting with him at his residence in Abuja on Wednesday night.
It was the first time he would be openly meeting with any organ of the party since he was defeated during the 2015 presidential election.
The crisis in the party has split it into two factions.
While Senator Ali Modu Sheriff is leading a faction, Senator Ahmed Makarfi is leading another faction.
Also, while Makarfi has announced August 17 as the date for the national convention of the party, Sheriff has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission not to monitor the convention.
The former President said he was aware of the factionalisation of the party.
He said he had been receiving briefings on the state of the party from its members since he left office.
Jonathan commended the Chairman of the BoT, Walid Jibrin, who he said had been leading the board in the right party.
He told the BoT members, “I have been talking to individuals (members of the party) but not in a way that is exposed to the media but I believe I should do more.
“Unfortunately, we have been challenged, but I don’t think you should be discouraged. Challenges are part of life; even in families there are challenges.
“There are challenges even in the church more than what may be happening at the political level. So, you should not be discouraged, and I believe, collectively, we can solve it.
“This should not be beyond us but I believe that collectively, we can resolve it. Any sincere PDP member should know that the PDP is bigger than an individual. And many members have sacrificed their interest for the party.”
The former President regretted the conflicting court orders that had continued to increase the crisis in the party.
He appealed to members to sheathe their swords in the interest of the party, saying that Nigerians needed a strong opposition PDP, and urged members of the party to unite for quick resolution of the crisis.
Earlier, Jibrin had told the former President that the BoT members’ visit was in recognition of Jonathan’s position as a former President and to also interact with him and explain the state of the party to him.
He said the party was undergoing many challenges, disclosing that there were about 15 court cases seeking to stop the PDP national convention.
He said, “We abide by provisions of the party, Article 10 of the constitution, which provides for internal resolution of crisis. This provision is abandoned with various court cases.
“There is a court judgment in Port Harcourt, and there are court judgments and orders in Abuja.
“We have realised that we need reconciliation. So many committees have been set up for reconciliation. The BoT decided to form a special committee to pursue reconciliation. Some members of the party are concerned.
“That is why we appeal to the former President that you should be a party to the reconciliation; it is your intervention that is very important for a way forward for the party.
“We have great respect for you despite the fact that you have not been appearing in our activities.
“We have embarked on programme of visitations to our founding fathers; we have visited the National Assembly. We are satisfied with the level of cooperation between the PDP and other members in the National Assembly.”