By Henry Umoru
STRONG indications emerged yesterday that there was no end yet to the crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, following the rejection by the Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje-led faction of the olive branch extended to it by the party’s National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
According to the Baraje – led PDP, aka ‘New PDP’ (nPDP), with the stage it had reached in the struggle, it had gone beyond putting the issues behind it and joining the Tukur-led PDP. The issues involved, among others, is the nPDP’s insistence that President Goodluck Jonathan should not seek re-election in 2015, Bamanga Tukur should resign and governors should have control of state PDP executives.
The Baraje led nPDP has in its fold former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and aggrieved Governors Sule Lamido of Jigawa State; Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara; Aliyu Babangida of Niger; Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto; Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers; Musa Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano and Murtala Nyako of Adamawa, aka G7 Governors.
“It is grammar Bamanga Tukur and his men are speaking. They are looking for anything to hold on to. How can an illegal occupant of your house now come and say you should take part of the house”, the nPDP said yesterday.
The leadership of the PDP had, in extending an olive branch to the breakaway faction after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) endorsed it as the authentic PDP, on Friday, said:
“The position of INEC in affirming the leadership of the PDP under the National Chairmanship of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, and rejecting the demand for recognition by our aggrieved brothers has indeed laid to rest all contentions regarding the authentic leadership of our great party.
“However, we wish to state categorically that this is not a time for us to gloat or preen ourselves over victory. We must use this window of opportunity to engender true reconciliations, put all the issues behind us and move ahead as one big united family that we are.
”In this light, we call on all our aggrieved brothers to relegate all personal interests and return to the fold so that we can ward off all external aggressions and forge a common formidable political front. We wish to assure that the PDP as the only true national party is large enough to accommodate all interests and persons as we remain loyal to the provisions of our constitution as a party.
“We must at this time close ranks and rally around President Goodluck Jonathan and our leaders at all levels so that collectively, we will ensure that our great party delivered on its mandate and promises as enshrined in the PDP manifesto, the ideals of our founding fathers and the Transformation Agenda of the PDP-led government for the overall good of our people.
“The challenges of the last few months, rather than detract, have proven that the PDP remains the preeminent party that will continue to win elections at all levels in the country.”
The statement urged all party leaders, elders and indeed all members of the PDP across the board to continue to support President Goodluck Jonathan and his Transformation Agenda.
But, in a response, yesterday, the nPDP, while speaking to Sunday Vanguard through its National Publicity Secretary, Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, said,”They are just speaking grammar. When they are ready for the olive branch, we will know. They know us and we know them. They cannot go to the pages of newspapers and ask what they want from us.
We are not ready for that, we have gone beyond this level.
”They are so desperate, we are not children in this game of politics. If we could fight the military to get the present democracy we are enjoying today, this fight is a childish one.”
The Baraje-led PDP, had on Thursday, suffered a setback following the rejection of its officials by INEC, thereby endorsing Tukur and his National Working Committee, NWC, as the authentic and recognised PDP, even as a Lagos High Court same day threw out Baraje’s suit against the Bamanga Tukur, led NWC.
According to INEC, in a letter by its Acting Secretary, U.F Usman, to the Baraje led group, it would not withdraw the recognition it accorded the Tukur-led NWC because, as an electoral umpire, it witnessed the processes that led to his emergence as National Chairman as well as other members of NWC.
The INEC’s letter to the PDP faction entitled, “ Notification of Change in the change of leadership of PDP and request for formal recognition”, read , “Commission acknowledges the receipt of your letter dated September 1 and 23 2013 respectively wherein you requested the commission’s recognition of the Abubakar Baraje faction of the newly elected National Working Committee.
“You will recall the commission monitored the national convention and the special national convention of the PDP held on March 12 2012 and August 31 2013 respectively which took place at the Eagle Square Abuja, after notices to the commission. A National Working Committee was elected at the two conventions wherein Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as the national chairman.
“The commission will not withdraw recognition from the leadership of the PDP elected at the election duly monitored by the commission”.
“Please be guided”, INEC said in the letter addressed to Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the nPDP National Secretary of Oyi River Crescent , Off IBB Boulevard, Maitama Abuja.”