*National Chairman: I am not moved by sack plot
By Henry Umoru
Anxiety enveloped the camp of the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamangar Tukar, yesterday, as President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo prepared to meet with two rebel governors – Sule Lamido of Jigawa State and Babangida Aliyu of Niger State- today over their disagreement with the leadership of the ruling party.
Sunday Vanguard gathered that the meeting, scheduled to take place at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, will also have in attendance the Chairman, Board of Trustees, BoT, of PDP, Chief Tony Anenih, as well as some leaders and stakeholders of the party.
Lamido and Aliyu had stayed back in the PDP after their five colleagues in the G7, the platform on which they fought the PDP leadership, defected to the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC). The five governors who defected are Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Abdufatah Ahmed (Kwara), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Aliyu Wammako (Sokoto) and Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano).
The meeting is a follow up to the one Jonathan and Sambo held last Sunday with the governors elected on the platform of PDP where problems affecting the party were raised, but there was no consensus, especially as it came after the defection of the five of the governors in the G7 to the APC.
The Tukur camp is said to be jittery ahead of today’s meeting because of the condition given by the rebel governors that the PDP National Chairman must go as the only solution to the political logjam in the ruling party against the backdrop that since he became Chairman of the PDP in 2012, the party has not seen peace because of what they described as his poor administrative style.
Sunday Vanguard was told, last night, that Lamido and Aliyu would represent their former colleagues in the G7 at the meeting by proxy. In essence, the President seems to still want the five governors who defected back in the PDP.
At last Sunday’s meeting, the position was said to have been canvassed that Tukur could be dropped in March next year during the mid term convention.
The rebel governors, since the election of Tukur along side other members of the National Working Committee, NWC, have been calling for his sack against the backdrop that his manner of administration did not agree with them.
At the Sunday night meeting, the PDP governors loyal to Jonathan were said to have frowned at the attitude of the PDP National Chairman which they noted inflamed negative passion rather than calm frayed nerves as well as overheated the polity.
It was also gathered that a former Deputy National Chairman of the party and now the governor of Katsina State from North-west, Ibrahim Shema; Isa Yuguda of Bauchi; Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa; Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta; Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom; Liyel Imoke of Cross River and Jonah Jang of Plateau State, who were at the meeting, told the President and Vice President that the demand to ask Tukur to go at the special convention next year was the only panacea to the lingering crisis in the PDP. Gabriel Suswan of Benue state was absent as he was said to be out of the country.
It was also gathered that the governors, led by chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum and
Akwa-Ibom State governor, Akpabio, told Jonathan that Tukur’s comments after the defection did not portray the party chairman as a statesman ready to serve as a rallying point for the party.
The governors, the source said, were not happy that since the August 31 convention, there had been no PDP National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting, even as they expressed regret that the National Chairman took decisions without consultations with the body which statutorily should have imput before major decisions were taken by the NWC.
It was also gathered that the 16 PDP governors under Akpabio leadership will meet today at Akwa Ibom Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja.
A source told Sunday Vanguard that the crisis rocking the party as well as the `Tukur must go’ issue will top the agenda just as they will also discuss how the PDP can be strengthened at the national, state, local government and ward levels as well as ways of financing the PDP ahead of the 2015 general elections.
According to the source, the PDP at the national level was not being financed especially by those who get Federal Government contracts, an anomaly that will also be discussed at the meeting and thereafter, the PDP governors will move to the Presidential villa for the meeting with Jonathan, Sambo, Lamido and Aliyu.
Meanwhile, Tukur has described the alleged move to remove him by the governors as mere speculation, just as he said he was not moved by the report.
Speaking with Sunday Vanguard through his Special Assistant, Media, Prince Oliver Okpala, the PDP National Chairman said, “Bamanga Tukur is not moved by the political speculation on the pages of newspapers that he will be sacrificed in the reconciliation movement because he has paid his dues as the National Chairman of the party and as one of the founding fathers of the PDP.
“He is ever ready to take the PDP to greater heights and ensure more electoral victory for the party in 2014 and 2015. It is a political speculation.”