Sule Lamido, a former governor of Jigawa state has cautioned that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, should not enter into any reconciliatory agreement and negotiation with any aggrieved member of the party without the party hierarchy.
According to him, Atiku, a former Vice President, lacked the authority to discuss the outcome of the PDP convention which had polarised the party between him and allies of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.
The warning was issued on Monday by Lamido in an interview with The PUNCH in reaction to the recent meeting between Atiku and Wike at the residence of a former Minister of Information and National Orientation, Prof Jerry Gana.
Although the details of the meeting held behind closed doors were sketchy, sources in the PDP had said it signaled what observers believed were reconciliatory moves to pacify the governor.
The source said, “Atiku and Wike met (on Thursday afternoon) at the residence of Jerry Gana. It was a good meeting, from what I gathered.
“There were exchange pleasantries and they have resolved to move the reconciliation to the next stage.”
Asked if it could be assumed that Wike and Atiku have settled, the source said, “They have started the process; this started with a one-on-one interface.
“This will lead to a certain level and they can now resolve all the issues.”
The source also said discussions were still ongoing about the choice of the Director-General of the Atiku Campaign Organization.
When contacted, Atiku’s Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, declined the comment.
But Lamido said as a candidate produced by the party through a convention, he lacked the authority to speak on it and embark on any reconciliatory agreement.
He said, “I have no idea about the discussion between Wike, Atiku, and Jerry Gana as individuals, I’ve no idea. To me, it is not a party meeting, get it very clear. It could be anything but not a party meeting. They can reconvene and talk in Jerry Gana’s house.
“Whatever issues they discussed are simply within themselves and have no bearing on the party because it was the party that produced Atiku and therefore being a creation of a process that is very transparent in what is called the convention, he is owned by the convention, he is owned by the party.
“Atiku can have any meeting in his own perspective as a person, it’s okay, there is no problem. He cannot go outside and talk about the party, he lacks that authority. They can meet but it is PDP that should be talking on issues that are purely political and not Atiku.
“Anything about PDP that is political should be handled politically and it’s the party that should talk and not Atiku.
“When it’s an issue about the party, it’s the PDP that should be talking and not Atiku, Wike, or anybody else. Whatever they discussed is purely within themselves. But anything about the party, in terms of positions and policy, Atiku has no authority to go there and talk on behalf of the party. Or whatever he discussed there (in Jerry Gana’s house) is not going to get to the party.
“Atiku can meet anybody in Nigeria and talk to him, I’ve no problem. But if he’s going to talk about the outcome of the convention, he has no authority to go there and discuss it on his own because he’s the creation of the convention and it’s the party that should talk for him.
“Atiku cannot go into agreement with anybody without the party agreeing; he cannot do that. So, whatever Atiku, Jerry Gana and Wike discussed should be seen as discussions among friends and individuals and for their common interest.
“But when the issue is about PDP and outcome of the PDP convention, Atiku has no authority to go there and talk on behalf of the PDP. It’s the party that should talk through its chairman who is the only organ, lead in PDP, guide in PDP, and symbol of the PDP.
“Atiku is the candidate of the PDP, he’s not on his own and so, he’s not there in a very abstract way. He’s owned by the PDP.”