January 14, 2013

PDP crisis: Tukur fights back

*PDP Chairman, Bamanga Tukur

*To announce Onwe Ag Sec today
* Why PDP govs are annoyed with Tukur


ABUJA — The embattled Chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, who was boxed into a corner last week by the governors on the party’s platform, has decided to flex his muscles with the elevation of the party’s Deputy National Secretary, Solomon Onwe, to the office of National Secretary.

Besides,  the  warring sides in the leadership crisis rocking the party will this morning try to seize opportunities created by  President Goodluck Jonathan’s intervention last week.

Tukur, who was last week saved from the fury of the party’s governors by President Jonathan, it was learnt last night, is today set to maximize his gain from the court judgment that ousted the National Secretary, Col. Olagunsoye Oyinlola (rtd.) by installing a national secretary.

Supporters of Tukur, including some party elders, were yesterday, also whipping up sentiments, claiming that the push against Tukur by the governors was an attempt by them to cage President Jonathan ahead of the 2015 presidential election.

The governors, meanwhile, were,  weekend, perfecting their response to the legal problems generated by the court judgment against Oyinlola, who is perceived to be a supporter of the governors.

One of the strategies of the governors, it was learnt, is to press home what they claim as Tukur’s uncaring attitude towards many state chapters of the party. The governors, it was also learnt, would show that the national chairman did not sympathise with many state chapters of the party affected by the flood disaster that recently affected many states in the country.

PDP Chairman, Bamanga Tukur

The crisis in the PDP broke out last October after the National Working Committee, NWC, dissolved the executive committee of the Adamawa State chapter of the party led by Alhaji Umaru Kugama. The dissolution of the Kugama executive backed by Governor Murtala Nyako was seen as a deliberate act by Tukur to weaken the governor, an action other PDP governors saw as an affront which could also be used against them in future.

Despite the insistence of the NWC that it would not rescind the decision, the same body, last week, disowned the dissolution after the governors assembled in Abuja with a threat to dissolve the NWC.

Tukur had described the reversal by the NWC members who did not  consult him prior to the reversal by the 10 NWC members as treachery.

The crisis in the party, however, took a new dimension last Friday after a court in Abuja sacked Oyinlola as the national secretary of the body on the ground that he was not validly nominated by the South-West zone of the party.

Apparently aiming to cash in on the misfortune that befell Oyinlola, Vanguard learnt yesterday that Tukur was now set to name Oyinlola’s deputy, Onwe, as the national secretary of the party today.

Party appeals Oyinlola’s sack today

The party’s National Legal Adviser, Victor Kwon,  meantime, said last night that the party would be appealing the judgment of Justice Abdul Kafarati that voided Oyinlola’s election at the March 24, 2012 national convention.

Kwon, who described Kafarati’s judgment as a surprise to the party, said the party would lodge the appeal today and also file for a stay of execution today.

Kwon in a statement had said “the appeal will be filed Monday. We will also file an application for stay of execution same Monday.

”We are surprised at the decision in the light of the evidence presented to the court that the national secretary position was zoned to members of the party from the South-West geopolitical zone of the country and not to the South-West zonal chapter/congress and that the March 21, 2012 South-West zonal congress did not nominate Oyinlola for the position, and also that he stood the election at the national convention alongside other members of the party from the zone without any mention of the South-West zonal congress in issue.”

Why PDP govs are annoyed with Tukur

The PDP governors who had last week reached accommodation with Tukur following the intervention of the president, it was learnt, said their reaction to the national chairman’s action in Adamawa should serve as a final warning. They were understood to have threatened to move against the national chairman should he again stir instability in affairs of the state chapters that are normally at the beck and call of PDP governors.

Tukur’s failure to visit flood-ravaged states

It was also learnt that the governors complained to President Jonathan that they were not happy with Tukur following his failure to visit their states as chairman of the PDP, or even to sympathise with those whose states were devastated by flood late last year.

According to the source, the governors particularly demanded that Tukur must show high level of transparency by carrying along other critical stakeholders in the party including governors, members of the NWC and other elders of the party.

PDP elders reject reinstatement of  Kugama-led executive

However, PDP elders and stakeholders at a press conference in Abuja, yesterday, under the aegis of the Adamawa PDP Elders also rejected the reinstatement of the Kugama-led executive by the PDP leadership through the Deputy National Chairman, Dr. Sam Sam Jaja, last Tuesday.

Speaking through a former gubernatorial aspirant in the state, Dr. Umar Ardo, the elders described the action of the 10 PDP NWC members who restored the Kugama executive  as undemocratic, unacceptable, and rubbish. They stressed that the leadership of the PDP had lowered the standards of administration with the action of the 10 officials who they dubbed the “gang of 10.”

The elders who urged the president to stand firm in his decision to restore  sanity to the party, stressed that they would defy the committee and continue their work of building the party in Adamawa since Gov. Nyako also defied the NWC of the party after it set up the Amb. Umar Damagun-led caretaker committee.

The elders regretted that Jonathan has failed to realise the move by the governors, just as they urged him to act quickly and save the party from what they termed the tyranny of governors before the situation becomes too late.

It is all about 2015 — Ardo

Ardo said the governors were using the Adamawa crisis to test their might as well as see how far they could go in the plot to destabilize the party ahead of their own selfish agenda for the 2015 general elections.

He said: “It is all about 2015. Anybody that tells you anything to the contrary is not sincere.

They want to impose one of them as the presidential candidate of the party in 2015 and that is why they are defying what the people and the president want.”

They have also threatened not to recognize the Gov. Sule Lamido-led committee on “Adamawa Crisis and Resolution,” even as they described the committee as “mysterious.” They said they did not know who established it, the terms of reference as well as the composition of the Committee.

Ardo who explained that they only saw an advert on the pages of newspapers asking members to submit memoranda to the committee, stressed that they did not know who set up the committee and what it was supposed to do.

According to them, if the committee remains mysterious, they, as elders, will not recognize it and will work only with the newly elected executive committee of the party led by Joel Madaki.

He noted: “If it is the president, let us see a statement from the presidency. If it is from the National Working Committee of the party let’s see a statement from the national chairman of the party saying so. But if it is from the Oyinlola gang of 10, then there’s no way we can recognize it and as far as we are concerned, it is dead on arrival.

“There ought to be a letter from the presidency saying so if it is actually from the president and if it is from the party then there should be a statement from the national working committee but we cannot just wake up and see a committee from the blues asking us to submit memoranda.