By Henry Umoru, Abuja
The National Working Committee, NWC of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have passed a vote of no confidence on the National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
Members of the NWC their report to President Goodluck Jonathan, lampooned Tukur, saying that the PDP would not win the 2015 elections with Tukur as on the saddle.
However, Tukur has also, alleged that one of the members of the PDP Stakeholders Forum, asked him to pay N20 million to enable him mobilise support for him as national chairman following the defection of some party members to All Progressives Congress, APC.
At a meeting with Jonathan yesterday night at the Presidential Villa, the NWC members told him that Tukur was running the PDP like a one man business as they were not carried along in most of his decisions. They further accused him of turning his Wuse private residence to Wadata Plaza National Secretariat of the party. They particularly mentioned the disbandment of the Sokoto and Kwara States executive councils without consultations as some of the unilateral decisions taken by Tukur.
A source told Saturday Vanguard that the Chairman who was also at the meeting was asked by other members of NWC to point at any major achievement recorded by the present NWC since it came on board in March 2012.
One of the members who spoke on condition of anonymity after the meeting told Saturday Vanguard that Tukur was the major problem of the party against the backdrop that never in the history of the party, had PDP witnessed the kind of problems that culminated in the defection of five serving governors and several lawmakers.
In stating his own side, Tukur was quoted as claiming that there was no division as all the members were together, and promised to improve on the existing relationship. He further remarked that the members were simply fighting him because of 2015 and President Jonathan’s ambition.
It was at this point that members of NWC were said to have reacted sharply warning the National Chairman against the use of blackmail to attract sympathy.
According to the sources, after hearing from Tukur, a bewildered Jonathan was said to have told the NWC members that he never knew that the problems were of serious magnitude.
Jonathan was however said to have pleaded with NWC members to be calm as the issues would be looked into next week at the Board of Trustees, BoT, and National Caucus meetings which would dovetail into the National Executive Committee, NEC meeting on January 16.
”Yes we met with President Jonathan where we reported the National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur that he was the problem of the party; that PDP cannot win 2015 election with him as chairman and that he must go for peace to return to the party.
’’We also told the President that Tukur was operating from his Wuse residence thereby running the party like a one man business. He should stop blackmailing people, he blackmailed the governors, members of the National Assembly and now NWC members.”
Among those who attended the meeting according to the sources included the National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo; Deputy National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus; National Auditor, Adewole Adeyanju; National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh; National Organising Secretary, Abubakar Mustapha; National Treasurer; National Financial Secretary, Elder Bolaji Anani; National Woman Leader, Mrs Kema Chikwe; National Legal Adviser, Victor Kwom and National Youth Leader, Abdullahi MaiBasira. Only the Deputy National Secretary, Onwe Solomon Onwe was said to be absent because he was still in the East.
Meanwhile, a statement signed by the Special Assistant to Tukur on Media, Prince Oliver Okpala, stated that one of the PDP chieftains had promised to help the national chairman mobilise support if the national chairman gives him N20m; adding that following Tukur’s refusal to give him the money, the chieftain started his media war against the PDP National Chairman.
”The brain behind the SMS and blackmail is a selfish political opportunist who recently approached the National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Tukurand demanded N20 million to enable him mobilise support for the National Chairman following the defection of PDP Governors to the APC, an amount he claimed would also be utilized for massive propaganda and blackmail against the defected governors.
”Given that Alhaji Tukur is a statesman with a strong strength of character and probity, he refused to dance to the wishes and demands of the chieftain who got annoyed and promised that he was going to engage in serious blackmail against Dr. Tukur which certainly has led to his present crusade of blackmail against the National Chairman.
Nigerians, mostly media houses in the country are therefore advised to be wary of this said (person), his utterances and scandalous documents in other to avoid undeserved libel and litigations.
”For the avoidance of doubt, there is no iota of truth in the malicious propaganda against the PDP and Dr. Tukur. The alleged issue of $20,000 dollars bribe to NEC members only exist in the imagination of this person and his anti-democratic elements.”
But in a swift reaction, Imo Ugochinyere who Okpala referred to in his statement described the allegations as baseless, nonsensical, childish and an attempt by a sinking old man to hold on to power said.
”My attention has been drawn to the emergency press briefing by the Bamanga Tukur’s dying PDP over the issue of the ongoing bribing of some PDP NEC members following next week’s NEC meeting with $20, 000 to help get a vote of confidence endorsement for his rotten regime and his weak paymaster which I exposed to the public some days ago.”