Soni Daniel and Henry Umoru
The alleged resolve by majority of the governors of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to remove the embattled National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, forced the Presidency to suspend the meeting of the Board of Trustees (BoT) and National Executive Committee, NEC, Sunday Vanguard has learnt.
It also emerged that President Goodluck Jonathan wanted the party leadership to have more time to persuade warring Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State and his Jigawa State counterpart, Alhaji Sule Lamido, to return fully to the PDP before the NEC meeting.
The NEC meeting, earlier fixed for Wednesday, January 8, will now hold on January 16, with the BoT meeting scheduled for January 15 and the National Caucus meeting slated for January 14.
It was gathered that the Presidency got strong evidence that the anti-Tukur forces, led by a South-south governor and a minister, who is also from the South-south, compelled the party hierarchy to postpone the meetings.
A party leader told Sunday Vanguard, last night, that the governor, who has the ears of many other PDP governors, was frontally opposed to the continued retention of Tukur and had successfully mobilised for the removal of the party chairman during the NEC meeting.
The governor was said to have met and agreed with the South-south minister, who is also close to Jonathan, to impress upon other governors to do all that was necessary to remove Tukur at the meeting.
However, Jonathan, who is opposed to disgracing the party boss out of office, reportedly asked for the postponement of the two meetings to allow for peace to reign.
The argument of the governor and the minister is that apart from being loyal to Jonathan, Tukur has allowed the party to be factionalised to a point that five governors left.
But the pro-Jonathan camp within the party allegedly argued for the retention of Tukur because of his exceptional loyalty to the president.
The meeting was also said to have been postponed at the instance of the president to give the party leadership more time to persuade Governors Aliyu and Lamido to forget the past and fully return to the party ahead of the 2015 elections.
Jonathan was alleged to have expressed worry that the true position of the two governors on the party remained unknown even though they did not defect along with their five colleagues in the G7 last December to the opposition All Progressive Congress, APC.
But the Secretary of the PDP BoT, Senator Walid Jibrin, explained that the meetings were postponed for logistics reason and to enable members return from their Christmas and New Year break.
“We actually want to have a full house during the meetings so that all party issues could be effectively discussed,” Jibrin said.
It will be recalled that prior to the defection of Governors Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara; Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto; Musa Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano; Murtala Nyako of Adamawa and Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers to APC, there was pressure on Tukur to convene the NEC meeting where the problems of the PDP would be addressed against the backdrop that the last NEC was held before the August 31, 2013 Special National Convention.
The NEC meeting ought to have taken place in the third week of December last year, but was shelved for inexplicable reasons.