By Peter Clotey
VOA, Monday, September 18, 2013
A spokesman for Nigeria’s ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) says senior officials of the group are trying to resolve internal wrangling that threatens to break the party apart in the run-up to the 2015 general election.
“Since this happened, the president became restless because he is a peaceful person. He will make sure that there would be no crack in PDP during his lifetime,” said PDP spokesman Mohammed Jalo. “So there is a reconciliation going on from a committee of elders headed by former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, and former military heads of state, [Ibrahim] Babangida trying to resolve this little problem within the PDP.”
Jalo says President Goodluck Jonathan is displeased with recent developments within the ruling PDP after former vice president Atiku Abubakar and some governors formed a splinter group. The new group, named the New PDP, is opposed to Mr. Jonathan’s possible re-election bid. The splinter group also demands the resignation of PDP chairman Alhaji Bamanga Tukur after blaming him for the fissures within the party. Jalo disagrees with the accusations.
“The people are myopic and naïve. Whether Bamanga Tukur is there or not, this party is for Nigerians. The party is not a one man’s affair. It is a conglomeration of so many people so it is not Bamanga Tukur working for the party. So whether Bamanga Tukur is there or not this party will exist,” said Jalo.
The militant group, Boko Haram, based in Nigeria’s north, has been accused of carrying out violent attacks in an attempt to force the country to adopt strict Islamic law.
Human Rights Watch says Boko Haram-related violence has killed an estimated 3,000 people since 2009, a toll that includes killings by security forces.
Some Nigerian says Mr. Jonathan and the ruling PDP are responsible for the violence because they have not been able to deal with the security challenges facing the country.
But Jalo rejected criticisms that President Jonathan and his PDP have failed to deal with the security issues.
“The insurgency in Maiduguri, which is the stronghold of Boko Haram, is now peaceful,” said Jalo. “As at right now, kudos should be given to President Jonathan [because] for the past six months or so there was no bomb blast in the entire North-East, whether it is Maiduguri, Yobe, [or] Adamawa. There was no gunshots, no bomb blast, nothing. We should appreciate the effort of Mr. President.”