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Three rebel govs to meet Jonathan today

By The Citizen

Governors Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Babangida Aliyu (Niger) and Rabiu Kwankwanso (Kano) are to meet with President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday (today)  at the Presidential Villa, Abuja to seek the postponement of their peace meeting.

The meeting was originally scheduled for today but the  New Peoples Democratic Party, through its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Chukwuemeka Eze, announced in a statement last week,  that it had been cancelled because most of the seven aggrieved governors were billed for the 2013 Hajj in Saudi Arabia.

He had said,  'This decision was taken  during the Caucus Meeting of the New PDP held at the Adamawa State Government Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja, during which it was discovered that the date of the proposed peace meeting clashes with this year's Hajj, in which several of our key members are billed to participate.'

But in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, Eze  said the chairman of the New PDP, Alhaji Abubakar  Baraje, gave the directive that  Amaechi, Aliyu and Kwankwaso should officially notify the President of the need to shift the meeting  to a later date.

Eze said, 'Alhaji Baraje, the national chairman of  the New PDP just called from Saudi Arabia around 9pm on  October 6, 2013 to direct that the governors and stakeholders of the (New) PDP   that include  Rotimi Amaechi,  Babangida Aliyu,  Rabiu Kwankwaso, who have yet to travel to Mecca should meet with the National Leader of our party and President,  Dr. Jonathan by 9am on  October 7, 2013  to formally obtain permission from Mr. president to shift the meeting date to a more convenient date when all our leaders may have come back from Hajj.

'Shifting the meeting to morning period is to allow the mentioned governors apart from Amaechi to travel to Mecca later in the day (October 7)  for the Haji operation.'

The statement explained that 'this step  is born  out of the plea by President Jonathan  and respect we have for his office.'

The  other governors in the New PDP are  Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Sule Lamido(Jigawa), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), and  Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto).

Before Eze's statement, there  had been  indication  that the Presidency was not formally informed of the postponement of the  truce meeting.

A Presidency  source had  told journalists in Abuja on Sunday that the  President was not aware of the postponement  and  therefore would not   act based on newspaper reports.

He wondered why the  aggrieved governors who, he said, had access to the President chose to use a statement to announce the postponement of the meeting.

The source said, 'President Jonathan is not a local government chairman and there are procedures for passing information to the President. He was not contacted and the President is looking forward to tomorrow's(today) meeting.

'If the governors in question said that they were proceeding on Hajj for their religious obligations, President Jonathan is certainly not against such, but what is right is right. As far as the President is concerned, he was not informed of the shift and he cannot act on press statements  carried by   the media.

'Let it be  said in clear terms that President Jonathan is not and will never stand against the religious obligation of any Nigerian, let alone the governors, whom he has great regards for. But the right thing in protocol ought and should be done. For crying out loud, Dr. Jonathan is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria'.

Asked what the President would  do, the source said, ' Oga (Jonathan) is waiting for the meeting. Humility is not an offence;  that the President is humble  is not a crime'.