By EMMANUEL AZIKEN, POLITICAL EDITOR
Governors of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, are shopping for a replacement for the embattled National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, it has been learnt.
The search by the warring governors is responsible for the recent quiet in their camp, a source familiar with the development disclosed yesterday. The governors, it was learnt, are now weighing options to decide on whom to support in the place of Tukur with whom they drew the battle line at the beginning of last month.
The decision not to make a mistake in the choice of a replacement for Tukur, it was learnt, was responsible for the governors’ quietness to the decision of the National Working Committee, NWC, not to rush into holding a National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting of the party.
The NEC which is expected to meet every quarter has met only once since the election of Tukur as National Chairman in March 2012 with the last meeting having been held in July 2012.
The NEC is the highest decision making body of the party next to the national convention where the party elects its national officers. The body is dominated by proxies of the governors who through their stranglehold of the state chapters of the party paved way for the election of the members of the body.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh, through interview published in some national dailies, had affirmed decision of the NWC not to summon a meeting of the NEC until after the election of a chairman of the Board of Trustees, BoT.
Metuh had in a statement affirmed that the 12-man NWC was completely loyal to Tukur. The expression of loyalty was against the groundswell of rebellion by the NWC members who at the insistence of the governors reversed the earlier decision of the NWC to dissolve the Adamawa State executive of the party headed by Alhaji Umar Kugama.
“The issue of who is going to replace him is essentially what is holding the governors from pushing for a meeting of the NEC,” a reliable source in the camp of the governors told Vanguard .
“There must be no mistake on this and there is no reason pushing for a NEC meeting when we do not know who can replace Tukur,” the source added.
Another source who confirmed the contemplation of the governors pointed at a former leading member of the last NEC from the North East as one of those being propped up for the position.
The governors drew the battle line with Tukur at the beginning of last month when the national chairman insisted on the sack of the Kugama-led state executive of the party in Adamawa State on the basis of the closeness of Kugama to Governor Murtala Nyako.
All the governors had initially rallied to the defence of Nyako on the basis of defending a common interest that an attack on one of them was an attack on all governors.
The governors were further miffed after their former colleague and the party’s new national secretary, Chief Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the former governor of Osun State was sacked by the courts from office and Tukur rushed to immediately replace him with Mr Solomon Onwe, who is his only ally in the 12-man NWC.
The camp of the governors, however, over time decreased with a few of the governors including the governor of Ebonyi State, Chief Martins Elechi expressing open support for Tukur.
Besides, Elechi about three other governors with close ties to the Goodluck Jonathan administration are also believed to have switched sides to support Tukur who was a direct candidate of the president.
The depletion in their ranks nonetheless, the majority of the 24 governors as at yesterday were still confident that in any meeting of the NEC that they would have their way in a direct face-off with Tukur and the president.