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Jonathan, G-7 Govs In Make Or Mar Meeting Today

By The Rainbow
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All is set for today's meeting between President Goodluck Jonathan and the G-7 governors at the presidential villa, Abuja. The president who travelled to London for the international investors' conference is expected to return to Nigeria by 8pm today to meet with the governors after a one-hour rest.

Ahead of the parley, some of the affected governors yesterday evening left their states for Abuja. But an aide of one of the governors told LEADERSHIP Sunday that the attendance of his boss would depend on the directive of the leadership of the 'new PDP' led by Kawu Baraje.

The aides of governors Mauzu Babangida Aliyu of Niger State and Aliyu Wamakko confirmed to our correspondents that the two state chief executives will attend the meeting.

A presidency source disclosed that, contrary to speculations, the meeting will not be an explosive one because the issues at stake are clearly understood by all the parties, adding that both President Jonathan and the governors want to forge ahead in providing Nigerians qualitative leadership.

It was however learnt that the meeting was not in the president's itinerary, rousing that it might not hold.

The source added that Jonathan was set to make today's parley his last engagement with the governors on their areas of disagreement.

He said the president would come out clear at the meeting by asking the aggrieved governors what they really want and the real problems they have with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

According to the source, the president has chosen the meeting to be 9pm, adding that he and other critical stakeholders have come to the point that the governors' agitations should be finally buried so that the party could move on.

The aggrieved governors are Aliyu, Wamakko, Rabi'u Kwankwaso of Kano, Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), and Sule Lamido of Jigawa State.

LEADERSHIP Sunday learnt that the governors would, among others, demand a soft-landing for suspended former national secretary of the PDP, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and other members of the 'new PDP' hierarchy.

Besides, the president, the source further revealed, would ask the governors to put in writing their grouse with any officer of the PDP for onward transmission to the appropriate arms of the party for necessary action.

'What is certain is that the president would align himself on what he had told former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He will not deviate from that. First, that he is not PDP national convention that has the powers to remove the national chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.  Second, that he will not unilaterally hand over the party structure in the states to any of the governors, since the issues involved are already subjects of litigations. Third, that he will not interfere with the functions of the anti-graft agencies,' the source said.

President Jonathan, it was learnt, had told Obasanjo that none of the governors had come out with his problems, despite what is being reported in the media, adding that they are only saying that some of them have issues with Tukur and, as such, he should be removed.

The president, continued the source, also told the former president that any of the governors that wanted Tukur removed should wait for the party's national convention that elected him in the first place.

However, it was learnt that the G7 governors are requesting that the president should concede to some of their requests, especially the issues that revolve around Amaechi and Nyako. One of the governors expressed dismay at the statements credited yesterday to the presidency by a sister publication, LEADERSHIP Weekend, that Jonathan had given up on Amaechi and Nyako. He said such open declaration was against the spirit of the deal they reached at the last meeting. He however indicated that he would attend the meeting today.

Although Wamakko was still in Sokoto at the time of filing this report, his aide said the governor's advance party had embarked on the Abuja trip. His senior special adviser on media, Sani Umar, told LEADERSHIP Sunday that the governor was in town but would leave for Abuja later yesterday.

An aide to Amaechi said last night: 'The governor said it yesterday (Friday) that he will attend the meeting convened by President Jonathan. Other six governors in his group will be there; so there is no-how he will be absent.'