The Northern Youth Leaders Forum (NYLF), an umbrella of 42 Arewa groups is seeking the intervention of the founding fathers of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the save the party from impending collapse. The group, specifically called on former President Olusegun Obasanjo to urgently summon a meeting of those it called “Nigerian fathers” with a view to finding lasting solution to the crisis bedeviling the party. Those who fall into the category of “Nigerian fathers,” according to the forum, are: Generals Ibrahim Babangida, Theophilus Danjuma, Abdulsalami Abubakar; Chief Ernest Shonekan, among others.
The NYLF insisted that Obasanjo and the “Nigerian fathers” must prevail on leaders of PDP and governors under the platform of the party to shelve their selfish ambitions and provide quality leadership to wrestle power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) come 2023.
The National Chairman of NYLF, Comrade Elliot Afiyo, stated this while briefing journalists in Abeokuta, Ogun State, shortly after his meeting with Obasanjo. This meeting came barely two weeks after the embattled National Chairman of PDP, Uche Secondus, met with the former President behind closed-door at his penthouse residence in the premises of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta. New Telegraph gathered that, Secondus’ visit was part of moves to address the internal wranglings within the ranks of PDP.
Secondus was accompanied by the National Secretary of PDP, Senator Ibrahim Tsauri; the National Treasurer, Aribisala Adewale and the Ogun State Chairman of PDP, Sirikullahi Ogundele. Obasanjo, Secondus and the two NWC members extensively discussed the PDP crisis at the meeting which last for about two hours. An insider told our correspondent that, Obasanjo later took only Secondus into an inner room and the duo discussed for about five minutes.
The details of the private discussion between the duo of Obasanjo and Secondus remain unknown, but the source told New Telegraph that, the meeting was an extension of Minna meeting where Obasanjo, former Military Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida and other stakeholders had also discussed the PDP crisis. The source said: “A meeting was held in Minna.
The issue was likely discussed. He Secondus) just came to thank Baba (Obasanjo) and to get some advice. “At a point, both of them (Obasanjo and Secondus) stepped into another meeting which lasted for about five minutes.” However, the source hinted that, from all indications from the meeting, Secondus may recontest the chairmanship seat despite the stiff opposition against him.
He said: “If he (Secondus) is recontesting, the joy of democracy is that it is going to be a game of number. One thing is key, for the fact that a Governor is sponsoring this current crisis, so many stakeholders are not buying into the idea of forcing Secondus led NWC out. “So, Secondus seems to have have earned sympathy of many stakeholders, including that of Baba (Obasanjo) and if he reconstests, he may win.” When asked if Secondus was a able to secure Obasanjo’s nod to recontest, the source said, only the duo could confirm that “as they later stepped into a private meeting of about five minutes.”
He expressed the optimism that, Obasanjo would play a “fatherly role” in the current crisis rocking the party. Apparently, watching the disposition of Obasanjo towards the crisis, the NYLF called on Obasanjo to come out publicly and wade in the crisis of the PDP with a view to resolving it.
“He (Obasanjo) has been trying, there are about seven of them, the Nigerian fathers, that have been trying, but this time around, we want him to come out publicly and participate in the PDP, because if PDP is destroyed then we are finished,” Afiyo said. Afiyo insisted that, only PDP can provide an alternative and better governance, which Nigerians are yearning for, saying: “It is a known and public truth that, it is only PDP that can give us hope and that can guarantee the future of Nigeria because the All Progressives Congress (APC) has failed and continued to fail.”
The group described Obasanjo as an “advanced citizen who believes in the cooperate existence of Nigeria.” Afiyo alleged that, the current crisis in the PDP was as a result of power play between some Governors because of their Presidential ambition in 2023 and urged Obasanjo to call on the Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Muhammed, to prevail on the governors.
The NYLF President noted that, the courage, competence and experience of Governor Muhammed can calm the storm within the PDP. He accused the ruling APC of lacking the political will to solve the myriads of challenges confronting the country Afiyo said the NYLF was to part of the groups that supported President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, but regretted that he (Buhari) has failed to meet the expectations of Nigerians.
He said: “We were part of the groups that brought Buhari in 2015, we thought the Buhari that we know will change things, but we realised that we have made mistake and we have to correct it, that is why I came personally to see Baba (Obasanjo) and we have discussed, he has to also be involved. “Unfortunately, we fell into the trap of APC and we have given APC enough time to change, but there are no changes instead things are getting worse, so we believe PDP is the only party that can bail us out that is why I decided to come and see Baba (Obasanjo). “We want him (Obasanjo) to do two things, one, to summon the elders, the Nigerian fathers, they have to meet, discuss and intervene.
“The Governors’ Forum instead of resolving the crisis, they now became the people that are creating the crisis. Some of them are creating the crisis and we met with them, we discussed, but we found out that there is no way out unless Baba (Obasanjo) and the fathers of Nigeria will intervene. “Secondly, we want him (Obasanjo) to call Senator Bala Muhammed, the Governor of Baunchi State, he has the ability and the capability to calm the storm within the Governors’ Forum, once this storm is calmed, Nigeria’s hope will be restored and come 2023, nothing will stop us.
“He (Obasanjo) has been intervening, but this time around, we want him to intervene publicly. People created the crisis and some people must solve the crisis, if those that created it refuse to solve. “We have many people that can solve it, that is why I said, Baba (Obasanjo) should intervene, the Nigeria fathers should intervene, they should talk to the elders, Baba in particular because this problem is being created within the Nigeria Governors’ forum because of their interest in 2023. But we have somebody who can calm the storm and talk to them.”
He urged Nigerians to support PDP to win the 2023 elections, saying: “If PDP is able to resolve its crisis, the party will emerge stronger and give Nigerians sense of belonging. “I’m not saying the PDP is perfect, but the party the political will to solve the problems Nigeria is facing.”
Afiyo also listed banditry, kidnapping, corruption, poor economy, agitation for secession as part of the challenges bedevilling the country and insisted that, it is high time “Nigerian fathers” met and proffered solutions to the challenges before it consumed Nigeria. Speaking on the agitation for power shift ahead of 2023, the NYLF declared that the next president could come from any part of the country, provided that such candidate’s competence and capacity to address Nigeria’s challenges, is guaranteed. Afiyo said: “As it is now, we are not concern about power shift or power rotation, we are looking for somebody that can solve our problems. I want to beg Nigerians, the president can come from anywhere, the person that we are convinced that will solve our problems is who we need now.”