How Ex-President Jonathan Dodged PDP Convention

Former Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, who is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), may have deliberately avoided the just-concluded PDP National Convention in Abuja.

Mr Jonathan said on Friday he was leaving Abuja on Saturday for Nairobi, Kenya, to attend the African Union retreat on the promotion of peace, security and stability in Africa.

But some PDP leaders believe the former president only used the trip as a “convenient excuse” to stay away from the party convention.

“If indeed he was interested in the convention and the affairs of the party, he would have attended briefly and perhaps give a short speech before travelling on Saturday, ” one party chieftain told PREMIUM TIMES. “He could also have sent his former deputy, former Vice President Namadi Sambo or anyone else to deliver a goodwill message on his behalf.”

Party insiders said Governor Douye Diri of Mr Jonathan’s own Bayelsa State, and his Oyo State counterpart, Oluseyi Makinde, met with the former president on Friday to persuade him to attend the convention.

Our sources said when Mr Jonathan said he had a scheduled flight to Nairobi, the governors urged him to at least make a brief visit to the convention ground. They also offered to arrange a flight for his trip after the event if necessary. Mr Jonathan declined, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.

When this newspaper contacted Mr Jonathan’s media aide, Ikechukwu Eze, Sunday morning, he requested that the paper send a message to him via WhatsApp.

He was yet to respond to the question about Messrs. Diri and Makinde’s meeting with the former president as of the time of filing this report.

Mr Eze is currently with Mr Jonathan in Nairobi.

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