- We ‘ll not return to PDP, say G5 Govs, lawmakers
By: Soni Daniel, Clifford Ndujihe, Henry Umoru, Demola Akinyemi, Dapo Akinrefon & Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA—Governors and lawmakers who left the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the All Progressives Congress, APC, yesterday, welcomed the removal of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as the national chairman of the ruling party, saying though vindicated, they would not return to the party.
While lauding the removal of Tukur, the governors and lawmakers said the destruction wrought on the party was beyond redemption, saying that the PDP was not destined to survive harder times.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, however, removed himself from the agitation for Tukur’s resignation, saying that he did not begrudge the former national chairman.
The insistence of the defectors nonetheless, one of the leading pro-Goodluck Jonathan advocacy groups, Movement for National Transformation, MNT, called for reconciliation with the defectors as he called on the new leadership to learn from the mistakes of the Tukur leadership.
The reactions followed Tukur’s formal resignation at the National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting of the party yesterday.
President Goodluck Jonathan who led Vice-President Namadi Sambo, principal officers of the National Assembly and other high government officials to the meeting said he would offer Tukur tougher responsibilities even as he called on the new leadership to be more consistent in procedures for meetings.
Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State spoke yesterday on behalf of the Group of five governors who left the PDP last November following persistent conflicts with the Tukur leadership of the party.
In a statement made available to Vanguard, Nyako said that the five governors had proved to the world that they had a genuine reason to abandon the PDP under Tukur and pitch tent with the APC.
But the governors were quick to warn that they would not return to the PDP even with the removal of Tukur since the party had become synonymous with impunity and lawlessness.
Nyako who spoke through his director of press, Ahmad Sajoh, said: “We want it known that the main reason the G5 governors and their supporters left the PDP was the regime of impunity and lawlessness instituted in the party, and the deafness with which genuine agitations were ignored by the national leadership of the party.
“This was particularly more manifest in the manner in which properly constituted State executives of the party were wantonly dissolved and members suspended.
“Also, the G5 governors and other office holders in the party who went to the APC had objected to the erosion of all tenets and principles of democratic practice in the PDP particularly the imposition of candidates from Abuja on the electorate in their states contrary to outcomes of nomination processes, and the extreme regimentation of views and opinions in the party to the effect that when one holds an opposing view political aides are sent to insult and threaten such persons.”
The governors called on those asking them to return to the PDP to note that at the time they had been trying to obtain listening ears to their agitations most of those talking today had ignored them and at times even called them names.
“It should also be noted that on their part they had done everything possible to attract some understanding but no one cared.
“At times we even bent over backward to achieve results but we were spurned by both the PDP leadership and those calling them back today.”
The governors made it clear that the resignation of Tukur was not a sufficient reason to believe that the problems that necessitated their departure from the party had been addressed.
According to them, the only thing the resignation has done is to vindicate the G5 Governors that their agitations were after all genuine and that the steps they took are justified.
The governors said, “Our movement to the APC is therefore conclusive and the only option available to us under the circumstances is to remain there, save democracy in Nigeria, safeguard our honour and ensure that fairness and justice prevail in the country.”
Obasanjo who spoke through his media aide, Tunde Oladunjoye, on phone, said the former president did not begrudge Tukur.
I hold no grudge against Tukur — OBJ
Oladunjoye, who made a reference to Obasanjo’s recent letter to Tukur noted that the former president never called for Tukur’s resignation, saying that the issues raised in the letter were purely on personal principle.
“I want you to note that Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has nothing personal against Alhaji Bamanga Tukur. If you look at Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s last letter to the former National Chairman, the issues he raised in that letter are much more than Tukur’s resignation. If you have a copy of the letter, you will agree with me that those issues are yet to be addressed,” he added.
The former Chairman of the Board of Trustees, BoT, of PDP had written a letter dated January 7, to Tukur in which he announced his withdrawal from activities of the party at local, state, zonal and national levels.
Obasanjo had hinged his distance from the party on the fact that the party had been negating the principle of morality, decency and discipline in its decisions and enthronement of its leadership.
Senator Bukola Saraki, the former governor of Kwara State also welcomed the exit of Tukur and said it was a vindication of the governors’ agitation against the former national chairman.
He, however, regretted that Tukur had torn the PDP umbrella to tatters with no prospect of repair in sight.
“Earlier today, I received the news that Alhaji Bamanga Tukur has officially resigned as chairman after damaging PDP beyond repair. This has vindicated me and other progressives’ that had to leave the party at a point when some of the issues we clamoured for are now coming to light.
”Over the last seven months, we were blackmailed and called names ranging from rebels, dissidents, ingrates and that we were self centered,” Senator Saraki said.
“Unfortunately, it has become obvious today that PDP under the leadership of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur was a failure and a big tumor that was allowed to become a cancerous one.”
Members of the House of Representatives who also defected from the PDP to the APC also rebuffed the new entreaties on them to return to the fold.
Leader of the defunct nPDP, Rep Andrew Uchendu, from Rivers State said yesterday: “Our decision to leave PDP is irreversible and not regrettable in any way. We tried all necessary avenues to reconcile our differences with the leaders of the party but all our efforts failed.
“There is a new platform for Nigerians to express their electoral powers and that is the APC. The PDP now has a major challenge because there is no way we will return to PDP.”
Speaking in the same vein, Chairman House Committee on Petroleum Resources, Rep Dakuku Peterside from Rivers State said the removal of Tukur vindicated their agitation against the erstwhile national chairman, but ruled out any return to the ruling party.
“No! Never! We have been justified that the leadership of the crumbling PDP while we were there was rudderless and had no programme for Nigeria and Nigerians,” Peterside said.
Rep Ahmad Ali, APC, Kwara, and Rep Ogbonna Nwuke, Etche/Omumu Federal Constituency, Rivers State also spoke in the same light.
The Mass Mobilisation for Transformation, MMT, begrudged Tukur for the recent spate of crises in the party and called on aggrieved individuals to return to the mainstream of the party.
The group in a statement issued by its national chairman, Joseph Ambakederimo said: “We received the news of the resignation of the PDP National Chairman Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, with jubilation.”
The Lagos State chapter of the Peoples Demcoratic Party, PDP, has hailed the resignation of its former national chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, saying it was a wise decision.
In a statement by the state publicity secretary, Mr Taofik Gani said “We have absolute confidence and belief in the capability of our leaders to forge ahead under any circumstances. The decision to ease out Dr Bamanga Tukur must have been well considered by these wise men.”
The Chief Maxi Okwu – led All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, saluted the PDP on the resolution of the lingering internal crisis in the party.
Okwu, in a statement by his Senior Media Assistant, Victor Chigozie Eneh, said Alhaji Tukur had shown rare statesmanship by bowing out peacefully so as not to put himself as a stumbling block to party unity and progress.
Soon after President Jonathan told members of NEC that Tukur had agreed to step aside and tendered a letter of resignation which he, President Jonathan then presented to the National Secretary, Professor Wale Oladipo, the hall erupted as members stood for a standing ovation at exactly 1.55 pm.