Saraki’s panel gains big in Bayelsa, Kogi peace efforts


With Mumini Abdulkareem

The political experience and influence of former Senate President
Bukola Saraki might have come through for him as his reconciliatory
panel, constituted recently by the leadership of the Peoples
Democratic Party (PDP) for the crises in Bayelsa and Kogi States had
started to yield results ahead of the November 16 governorship
election in both states.
Saraki at the weekend, according to reports, had already met all the
gladiators in the two states differently between two and three times,
during which he analysed the importance of the two elections to the
party and Nigeria as well as the need for all to see the larger
Sources in the PDP said Saraki’s analysis and understanding of the
situations in both states had convinced a majority of the gladiators,
who immediately shifted grounds and agreed to let go and work in
collective interest.
For instance, in Bayelsa State, This Day quoting sources hinted that
although Saraki has sufficiently convinced the camps of Timi Alaibe
and Seriake Dickson, two of the three camps in the struggle for
supremacy, the group of former President Goodluck Jonathan, has only
been reached through phone because of his unavailability due to
international assignment.
According to sources, the paper reported,  while the panel expected
Jonathan to be back at the weekend to further discussions with him in
person, talks with the Alaibe and Dickson groups had yielded some good
as the governor was said to have committed himself to some huge
concessions that could give everyone a sense of belonging.
Also, in the case of Bayelsa, the panel was said to have further
secured the support of other governors in the South-south region,
particularly, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, believed to have
been initially averse to the state of things in the state, because of
the way matters were handled.
But realising the larger implications of the opposition taking over a
crucial South-south state, where a former president also hails from,
might be too dastardly for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) hence
the change of mind, which is said to now see Rivers giving its all for
the state.
Explaining the Kogi scenario, sources in the panel claimed though Kogi
was not as intricate as Bayelsa, where there are three camps, the
panel however had to deal with one major tendency in the person of
former governor Ibrahim Idris of the state, whose disavowal was more
of a family politics than intra-party hitches.
The source claimed that like the situation in Bayelsa, other
tendencies in Kogi too had seen the need to close ranks and go to war
as one house despite their misgivings, but that the panel had not been
able to ‘pin down’ Idris, who had since been out of the country.
Idris, who would rather one of his sons, Abubakar Idris, become the
governor of the state, now contends with the fact that his son-in-law,
Musa Wada, is the candidate of the PDP in the state, in addition to
the fact that a majority of the family members were also believed to
be with the son-in-law.
While Idris might have felt betrayed by family members and some of his
political allies, the panel was worried that he might also lose
relevance if the Igala people came together in spite of him to support
one of their own (Musa Wada) for the election since he has become a
bit recalcitrant to see the larger picture.
The other leg to the concern shown by the panel to Idris’ plight was
the fact that he might also lose face with his Igala people if as a
result of his hard posturing their people lost the governorship
election, making the scenario a dicey one for him.
Although the panel was confident that Idris too would come around at
the end of the day as he is billed to return to the country before the
end of the week, the Saraki panel, the source said, was confident that
apart from the fact that the panel had so far gained big in its
reconciliatory efforts, it would ultimately pull off a lasting peace
in the states and bring everyone together for collective good of the
The source maintained that the panel did not think Idris was edgy
especially given that he is the leader of the party and that it was
natural he felt the way he did, given what he had invested in the
party. But above all, the source stated that ensuring one house had
become more compelling than any other personal reasons.
Already, about 29 out of the 34 former governorship aspirants from
Kogi and Bayelsa States were said to have expressed support for the
PDP National Reconciliation Council led by former Senate Saraki panel.
According to a Punch Newspaper report, the aggrieved members were
hopeful that the panel would address their grievances and reconcile
them so that the party would be more united for the November 16
governorship elections in the states.
An aspirant from Bayelsa State, Tariela Oliver, who spoke to Punch,
had said no fewer than 19 former aspirants from the state had accepted
to be reconciled and were already working for the victory of the party
in the state, adding that the Saraki panel was a welcome development.

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