Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio yesterday said the disrespect for the Office of the President is central to the crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Seven aggrieved PDP governors, popularly called the G-7, during the last mini-convention of the party in Abuja stormed out of the venue and later formed the “New PDP”.
They protested alleged lack of internal democracy in the party and called for the sack of the PDP National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur, among other demands.
Addressing State House correspondents yesterday in Abuja, Akpabio noted that governors could only get respect from the people and institutions under them when they respect the people and institutions above them, including the Office of the President.
Asked when the problem and demands of the aggrieved governors would be finally addressed, he said: “Well, I’ve seen newspaper clips where they said the rebellious governors, the G-7, and so on and so forth. We can resolve any rebellion through dialogue. I think that that’s what the President is doing. That’s what the PDP leadership is out to do: to see how it can dialogue and bring the situation to a close.
“But you see, it all depends… But for me, I believe you cannot be a good leader unless you’re a good follower. I believe also strongly that leadership comes from God. So, the question of rebelling against leadership does not occur because if I rebel against the leadership at the federal level, I should expect somebody also to rebel against my leadership at the state level, may be from my local government or thereabouts.
“It is expected that as a governor, I should be expected to respect the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. So, it is not important who occupies the position. I think what is important is to give respect to the institution of the Presidency in Nigeria. That way, the international community can respect Nigeria.
“I don’t see a problem in the issues of certain politicians wanting to change party. It is a normal thing in politics that people move from one political party to the other. But what is important is that we move on and the country moves on. The PDP is very big and robust enough, with its branches in 774 local government areas in Nigeria. So, if you have five persons moving away from the PDP, you have 10-50 moving into the PDP.”
The governor disagreed with those urging President Goodluck Jonathan to back out from the dialogue with the aggrieved governors.
He said dialogue can never be too much.
On whether the dialogue should be discontinued, Akpabio said: “No, no! It depends on what they are talking about. Dialogue can never be too much. We just believe strongly here that we have a very humble President who is very patient. I hope we don’t take advantage of his patience to continue to waste his time and distract him.
“That’s why he urged not to be distracted. Even for those of us who are observers, certainly there should be an end to the dialogue so that he can face the business of the state. There is no price you cannot pay for peace. That’s why we’re all here. There is need for all to have peace and peace we shall have and dialogue we shall have until success is achieved…”