The Sokoto State Governor, Aliyu Wamakko yesterday explained that he was at the Presidential Villa to formerly inform President Goodluck Jonathan of the defection of himself and the other four governors to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Wamakko, who arrived for the meeting at the First Lady Conference room with his Kano State counterpart, Rabiu Kwankwaso, stayed for the about five hours meeting with President Jonathan and other fourteen PDP governors.
Speaking with State House correspondents when the meeting ended around 2.45a.m., he said that the forum provided him the opportunity to say the truth concerning their grievances which led to their defection.
But he did not respond to the question whether he was pressurized to return back to the PDP by the President.
He said: “Well the meeting went on very well because some of us came here as governors in PDP matter and our position has been known.
On behalf of the five of us, I have already briefed Mr. President our position as G-5 that we are no longer in the PDP mainstream and that we are already in another party.
But as a President of this country, if he calls us, we will come and listen to him and respect him as a leader of our country, otherwise what we had there was mostly a PDP affair.”
On why he sat through the about five hours PDP meeting, he said “We had to tell the President and Chairman of the our position. We can’t just be going about talking, we had to come and tell them the truth where the truth must be told and that is why we came here.”
On his part, the Akwa Ibom State Governor and Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, Godswill Akpabio said that the meeting was part of the on-going dialogue to resore harmony and peace in the party.
He said: “I think the meeting we had was part of the dialogue Mr. President… months back at that time we had the G-7 governors.
The last time we met, we met with the G-2 governors and today we had the G-3 and so it is part of the continuing dialogue to ensure harmony and peace in the party and Mr. President is not relenting.
He is very serious about consulting with all strata and all the bigwigs in the party, particularly the governors who are aggrieved with a view to bringing everybody on board and ensuring harmony and unity of the party and the governors.
I don’t think the issue of APC was discussed.”
On whether all hope is lost with the declaration of Governor Wamakko to journalists at the end of the meeting, he said: “Please, you have to distinguish the issue state-by-state. You have to take the issues state-by-state.
I wasn’t here when the governor of Sokoto was talking to you and I know that the governor of Sokoto State is just one member of the PDP in Sokoto and if he says he is leaving the PDP, I am sure there are still thousands of other members of PDP who will say we are staying within the PDP.
So you can’t say all hope is lost. How can all hope be lost? The party is very robust, large and as much as possible we are interested in keeping our leaders together. That is why, we as governors are all here. We will continue dialogue, this is not going to be the end.
We have narrowed down few issues which we are taking up with Mr. President and the governors are also going to discuss. You saw the number of governors today, we are more I think 17 or 18 governors and you can be sure that the number will keep increasing.”
Asked to mention the issues causing the lingering crisis, Akpabio said: “I think the issues differ from state to state. They are all family issues. They are mostly issues that linger within the PDP and we believe strongly that the President is very poised and determined to ensure there is harmony.”
On whether he believes that the five governors who decamped to APC are still members of the PDP, he said: “Which five? Do you mean the G-7 or G-4 or G-3?”
He also declared that he was not aware of any media report where some PDP governors were insisting that the PDP National Chairman, Bamanga. Tukur must be relieved of the position. “I have not read. Which media? I have not read it,” he stated.
Among governors who attended the meeting which started on Sunday night include Niger, Abia, Kebbi, Kogi, Katsina, Bauchi, Plateau, Enugu, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Ebonyi, Kaduna, and Taraba states.
Also at the meeting were the Vice President Namadi Sambo, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Tony Anenih and the National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki.
The President left the venue of the meeting about an hour to the end of the meeting.