After the so-called new PDP members have failed in their bid to use the courts to take over the Tukur-led PDP, they are now heaping the blame for the continued crisis on Jonathan’s obduracy
| By Olu Ojewale | Nov. 11, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT
THE frosty relationship between the renegade members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is not likely to thaw soon. For now, both sides appear to be holding fast to their positions. The factional group led by seven PDP governors, on Monday, October 28, accused President Goodluck Jonathan and the leadership of the party of insincerity towards a peaceful resolution of the crisis in the party. In a communiqué issued at the end of its meeting held the previous night, the group said it was disappointed that the president had refused to act on the issues they raised during their meetings with him and some leaders of the party on how to resolve the crisis rocking the party. The group also pointed out that Jonathan had also refused to act on issues discussed with the Olusegun Obasanjo-led Elders Committee and the reports presented to him. Rather than act, it accused President Jonathan and his supporters of turning down the report.
The splinter group known as New PDP warned that the situation could finally culminate in final disintegration of the party. The communiqué reads in part: “The meeting noted with sadness that instead of President Jonathan to critically examine and act on some of the issues we raised, our members in various states of the federation are being persecuted, humiliated through unfair use of state powers, arrested and put into prison, as is the case in Baylesa and Gombe states, just to demonstrate its disdain for peace and plot to destroy the party.”
Apart from that, the group further accused Bamaga Tukur, national chairman of the PDP, of setting up parallel chapters in states where he has no support. “Some of the demands presented by our governors include the need to reverse the impunity in Rivers State, where a sitting governor was suspended from the party against the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the PDP constitution, and the refusal to uphold the result of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, election that saw Governor (Chibuike) Amaechi winning by 19 votes 16 against by Governor (Jonah) Jang of Plateau State. Others include our request for the removal of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as our party national chairman knowing his flawed election as our party chairman, and ending the impunity in Adamawa State, among other demands that will put PDP on a strong position as a political party but for reasons not too clear to some of us, failed to receive the blessing of Mr. President.”
The group led by Abubakar Baraje, its national chairman, insisted that Tukur would destroy the party. “The meeting concluded by urging our governors to continue to pursue peace within the party in the hope that President Jonathan and Tukur’s faction would stop the persecution of the party faithful and allow common reason to prevail in our efforts to restore peace to our party but should all our efforts to restore peace to the party fail, Nigerians should know those to hold responsible for the destruction of the PDP, come the 2015 general election,” the communiqué signed by Chukwuemeka Eze, its national publicity secretary, said.
The governors who attended the meeting held at the Sokoto Governor’s lodge and later moved to Kano Governor’s lodge, in Abuja, were Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto); Sule Lamido (Jigawa); Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers); Aliyu Babangida (Niger); Abdulfatai Ahmed (Kwara); Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Rabiu Kwankwanso (Kano). Apart from the governors, others in their group were Atiku Abubakar, former vice-president and some former governors – Bukola Saraki (Kwara), Shaba Lafiagi (Kwara), Danjuma Goje (Gombe), and Abdulahi Adamu (Nasarawa), Olagunsoye Oyinlola (Osun) and acting national secretary of the breakaway group. The rest were Baraje; Sam Sam Jaja, deputy national chairman and Ibrahim Kazaure, vice-chairman, North-West of the PDP.
On the deployment of police to the vicinity of the Sokoto Governor’s Lodge, Abuja, to scuttle the factional meeting on Sunday evening, Eze said it was unfortunate that the police who were unable to find a solution to the menace of Boko Haram, kidnapping and other security challenges in the country could be cheaply used to harass innocent and unarmed civilians, adding: “We understand that the worst is yet to come as this unserious organ masquerading as an anti-graft agency would soon be unleashed on all our key members in both the Senate and House of Representatives in an operation code-named ‘Operation Coerce Them Back to Tukur.’
In his reaction to the allegation against him, Tukur said he did not set up any parallel state executive in any state, adding that the party appointed caretaker committees in states where the tenure of their substantive officers had expired. Tukur, who spoke through Oliver Okpala, his media adviser, said the accusers were not aware that the executives that were removed in the affected states wrote to the national headquarters of the party to inform it that their tenure had expired.
The controversial leader must have also enraged the factional group when he declared that President Jonathan would rule the country until 2019, after which a younger member of the PDP would take over the mantle of leadership. Speaking in Abuja when he received leaders and members of the Anambra State chapter of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, at his private residence, Tukur said the future of the country belonged to the youths and urged them to start early preparations towards taking over leadership in all facets of national life.
“I urge you students from Anambra State not to relent in supporting the party’s agenda in all areas, most especially its desire to position the youths for the challenges of taking part in rebuilding Nigeria. The PDP remains focused with its 12-point agenda which include reconciliation, reformation and rebuilding of not only the PDP, but the entire country. You must key into the deal by playing prominent roles in the process henceforth,” he said.
Danielson Tony, spokesman for the students, expressed apprehension about the crisis rocking the PDP, but praised Tukur for his wisdom, understanding and the maturity with which he had displayed in managing the crisis.
Tukur was also vindicated as Justice Elvis Chukwu of the federal high court, Abuja, in a judgment, restrained the faction, led by Baraje and the seven renegade governors from parading itself as the authentic party. The court also declared the National Working Committee, NWC, under Tukur as the duly constituted national executive of the party.
All these have shown that the Baraje group is losing out. But whether it would allow reconciliation to take place or look for its fortune elsewhere is left to be seen. But for now Tukur appears not to be a pushover.
But Baraje in a recent interview said the crisis rocking the PDP would come to an end when there was no more impunity, lawlessness, disorderliness and whims and caprices allegedly being perpetrated by the PDP national chairman.