Twenty-one governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) today boycotted what was billed as a grand reconciliation to bring together disaffected members of the party.
In addition, the Senate President, Speaker and several prominent members of the party failed to turn up, making the event “a woeful failure” in the words of one of the party’s prominent members.
The planned reconciliation took place at the International Conference Center in Abuja. It was also planned to celebrate the first anniversary of the party's National Working Committee headed by Mr. Bamanga Tukur.
The event started at 3 p.m. with only a single governor, Idris Wada of Kogi, in attendance. Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, the embattled chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, later arrived late. Speaking at the event, Mr. Akpabio said he wished to debunk newspaper reports that eight PDP governors were planning to leave the party to join the newly formed coalition of opposition parties.
Several PDP members in attendance at the event told a correspondent of SaharaReporters that they were shocked that the reconciliation failed to attract more than two of the party’s governors. Several of the governors sent their deputies to represent them, underscoring that the event was low on their priority list. SaharaReporters could not immediately ascertain whether Senate President David Mark and House Speaker Tambuwal sent any representatives.
The event was chaired by Vice President Namadi Sambo.
A little drama ensued at the venue when the Deputy Governor of Niger State was introduced as acting governor.
A party member told our correspondent that he was unable to say why President Goodluck Jonathan failed to attend the event which ended at 6 p.m. (Nigerian time).