By JOHNBOSCO AGBAKWURU & JOSEPH ERUNKE
ABUJA — THE alleged dangling of automatic return ticket by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to aggrieved senators elected on its party platform to drop their defection plan to the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, seems to be responsible for the reluctance of the senators that had indicated interest to dump the party for APC.
Already, the promise of automatic ticket for the senators was made to save the party’s National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur from the alleged plan to remove him from office.
Some senators are however, of the opinion that Tukur could only be removed at the party’s convention, and not through any other process.
At the heat of the plan by some senators loyal to the disbanded Alhaji Kawu Baraje-led new Peoples Democratic Party, nPDP, to dump the party and join the APC, the embattled PDP chairman held a closed-door meeting with the leadership and PDP senators to persuade them not to jump ship.
They were said to have been promised automatic return ticket to the senate as the constitution allowed them limitless tenure as legislators.
A senator who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that Tukur’s relationship with the senators improved following the said promise, even as the national chairman further promised to mediate between them and some of their governors who the lawmakers lamented had hijacked the party structures in their states.
It was gathered that Tukur had assured the senators of brokering peace between them and their governors to ensure harmony in the party.
It was also gathered that it was only in the five states where the PDP governors defected to the APC, that the senators sympathetic to the governors are said to have indicated some level of seriousness in the defection plan.
Apart from Senators Magnus Abe of Rivers South East and Abubakar Saraki, Kwara Central Senatorial districts that have boldly announced their defection to the APC, some other senators are playing hide and seek game as a result of the automatic ticket promise.
Vanguard further gathered that the promise to ensure the return of PDP loyal senators to the upper legislative chamber is contributory to the insistence of some governors that Alhaji Tukur must go.
A principal officer who spoke to Vanguard on condition of anonymity said that the national party chairman has not committed any offence to warrant his sack, stressing that it was only through the party’s convention that Tukur could be removed.
He said, “I don’t think that the national chairman has committed any offence that should warrant calls for his removal. It is only through the party’s convention that he should be removed and I am not aware of any convention taking place soon.”