By KINGSLEY OMONOBI
ABUJA — Strong indications have emerged in Abuja that ousted former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, has been penciled down by President Goodluck Jonathan as the next Minister of Defence.
While announcing Tukur’s retirement and displaying the envelope containing the letter last week, President Jonathan, who is the leader of his party, revealed that he was going to reward the former chairman with a very tough appointment.
Security sources told Vanguard, yesterday, that contrary to the belief that Tukur was asked to resign as PDP chairman because he ended up causing disaffection within the party, President Jonathan only told the former chairman to step aside to enable a wholesome resolution of perceived grievances of various camps who cited Tukur as the problem.
The decision to reward the one time governor of old Gongola State, according to the sources, followed Jonathan’s conviction that Tukur is not only a detribalised Nigerian, having worked with him at close range, but that the former chairman is somebody that cannot be bought over no matter the incentive.
His dogged loyalty and resolve to stand by President Jonathan even when governors, including those of the G-5 who defected, allegedly approached him with mouth watering incentives to join the fray of those wanting to stop the President from contesting the 2015 election, was cited as one of the reasons.
Furthermore, Vanguard was told that in the coming days and months leading to the 2015 elections, tough times regarding issues of security challenges are expected because security agencies are already in the know about plans by certain groups and elements to cause chaos and destabilise the peace of the nation for selfish and political interests.
According to the source,“the fact that the north eastern part of the country has been the hotbed of terrorism, leading to the declaration of a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states last April, with some elders of the area, who are allegedly sponsored, claiming that the military onslaught on Boko Haram has ulterior motive” is also said to have played a role in the President’s decision.
“With Bamanga Tukur as Minister of Defence, and overseeing the quest to have a terror-free society and revival of peace and security in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, the so-called elders and groups who are politicizing very serious security threats to the nation and its citizens will be made to understand that government’s intention in the North-East is noble,” the source added.
If he takes over as the minister, Tukur would become the second PDP chairman to be appointed Defence Minister after the appointment of former chairman, Dr. Bello Haliru Mohammed, to that position in the past.