The Peoples Democratic Party has said it has no plans to wade into the rift between President Goodluck Jonathan and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, over the best way to tackle militancy and terrorism in the country.
The National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Olisa Metuh, told SUNDAY PUNCH that the party had not seen any reason to intervene in the argument. He stated that though Jonathan and Obasanjo had expressed divergent opinions on the 1999 invasion of Odi, it did not amount to conflict between them.
Metuh said, “You only reconcile people who have a misunderstanding or are in a squabble. As far as the party is concerned, there is no quarrel between President Goodluck Jonathan and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, so there is no plan to reconcile them.
“Though both of them have expressed divergent opinions on some national issues, both of them are still working together towards deepening democracy in Nigeria and making sure that we deliver on our promises to the people.”
Earlier, the National Secretary of the PDP, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, had dispelled speculations that there were political differences between Jonathan and Obasanjo.
Oyinlola said, “Some individuals want to use the controversy surrounding the Odi killings to set the two leaders of the PDP against each other. There is no friction between the President and Obasanjo. The issue of Odi killings will not cause hostility between the two leaders of our party.”
The argument between the two PDP leaders ensued about three weeks ago in Warri, during the celebration of Pastor Ayo Oritsajefor’s 40 years in the ministry. Obasanjo told the gathering that Jonathan was guilty of allowing terrorism to fester, without taking a decisive action.
He used the invasion of Odi in Bayelsa State and Zaki Biam in Benue State as examples of his decisive actions against militancy while in government. During the November 18 Presidential Media Chat, Jonathan replied Obasanjo, saying Odi invasion was a failed exercise, which resulted in the death of the aged and children, and not the militant youths.
Special Assistant on Public Affairs and subsequently Minister of Aviation during Obasanjo’s regime, Femi Fani-Kayode later said Jonathan got the facts of Odi invasion wrong and that the action of the Obasanjo-led government arrested the incessant killings of security operatives by militants in the Niger Delta.