By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—AHEAD of 2015 presidential election, National Chairman of People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, yesterday, said there was nothing wrong if the party presents President Goodluck Jonathan for the election, just as he challenged other opposition political parties to forward theirs if they have.
He also said the party will soon commence the electronic registration of its members, which was jettisoned by the governors elected on the platform of the party during the tenure of Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, saying it would help PDP have a central database of all its members.
Tukur, who also denied reports that the presidency and the party were behind the problems of Chibuike Amaechi, said: “No, we are not behind it. They have an arrangement of two year tenure for their chairman. So, neither the party leadership nor Mr. President is against Amaechi or whoever they elect as their leader for NGF.”
Answering questions from journalists in Abuja yesterday, Tukur, who was however not specific on the date of commencement of the exercise, stressed that necessary machinery have been put in place for the e-registration exercise.
PDP Governors’ Forum
When asked if the PDP Governors’ Forum was not formed to weaken the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, as well as actualise President Jonathan’s second term ambition, the PDP National Chairman noted that the forum was not the platform for selecting candidates for elections.
He said: “Let me tell you, in politics there is a lot of misinformation and people tend to interpret issues from different view points.
“Jonathan is now the President and belongs to the PDP so what is wrong in the party presenting him? The other parties can equally present their candidates if they have any.
“The Governors’ Forum is not for selecting a candidate; we have got our own system in doing that. Candidates are not elected at Governors’ Forum.”
On e-registration, Tukur said: “It is currently in the works and we are going to commence it for sure. We are now in the age of technology whereby things are no longer done manually. So I can assure you that very soon we will commence the e-registration of our members to have a common membership database.”
Tukur, who noted that the Nigeria Governors’ Forum was playing an important role in the development of Nigeria, said: “I think the Nigerian Governors’ Forum is very healthy and I can tell you why.
“Look at Nigeria with different ethnic, religious coloration and economic balancing. We need this kind of situation whereby you tend to melt your people and put them together.
“Mind you, Nigeria is fast moving as a regional power and you cannot achieve that until you have a strong and stable government. Therefore, the NGF is very healthy because we all have to be collectively clear with ourselves; and if we understand our differences, then we can work together better.
On Aliyu’s comment
“We have people from the opposition with different opinions, but if they are working together in terms of agreeing on common good, to that effect I can tell you that the NGF is an important forum.”
On the declaration of Niger State governor and Chairman, Northern Governors’ Forum, Babangida Aliyu that President Jonathan was behind this with intention of supplanting the larger body, the NGF, Tukur said: “Well, it is an opinion. It doesn’t mean that all our governors agree with him.
“He can say so but I have explained to you as the chairman of this party that they are all my governors. We may not share the same position on the formation of PDP Governors Forum. But I have explained to you our intention, as a party. We want our governors to come together.”
When asked on views by some eminent Nigerians, who have dismissed the Governors’ Forum as a threat to democracy, Tukur said: “Well, if you say people are criticising them, it is politics. It is an opinion. People can criticise. That was why I took my time to explain to you the basis of our action.”
PDP NEC meeting,
On why there was no National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting, he said: “We are going to have our caucus, and then we shall have our NEC meeting. It is part of the structures of our party and we follow due process in line with the structures in our party.
“That is the only way we can continue to keep in touch with our members, from the lowest level to the highest. We are going to do that.”
On General Muhammadu Buhari’s statement that PDP doesn’t need any merger, because it has already merged with Police, INEC, the judiciary and Pension Fund, he said: “I don’t think one need to react to this kind of statement.
“I think the best thing to do is to ask for evidence. If you cannot show evidence, there is no need to react. I can only react to things that are factual, not rumours, not antics.”
On Adamawa crisis, Tukur said: “There is crisis in Adamawa? What crisis? If there is crisis in Adamawa, please, tell me.”