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How Jonathan, Governors’ Rivalry Saved Tukur

| June 24, 2013 More


PDP governors were wont to see the party’s national chairman, Bamanga Tukur, as the problem with the party, but at the NEC meeting, they could not speak against him with one voice, reports Chuks Okocha

It was a day his political enemies expected that he would be booted out of office. But as it turned out, there was no mention of the plot to remove the national chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, during Thursday’s meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee in Abuja. The reason for the outcome of the 61st NEC meeting, which was described as the shortest in the history of PDP, was the rivalry among the PDP governors. They were the national chairman’s main antagonists.

The PDP governors had been united in the plot to remove Tukur as national chairman. He was accused of running the party as a “personal estate.” The suspension of the governors of Rivers and Sokoto states, Chuibuike Amaechi and Aliyu Wamakko, respectively, only made the governors more furious and determined to oust Tukur, using the opportunity provided by the NEC meeting. This was despite the setting up of a presidential committee by President Goodluck Jonathan to look into the crisis rocking the party and try to reconcile aggrieved members.

Presidential Peace Committee
The committee headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, has the following as members: Governors Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, Theodore Orji of Abia State, Emmanuel Uduagham of Delta State, Gabriel Suswam of Benue State, Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State, and Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State. Also in the committee are the Chief of Staff to the President, Mike Oghiadomhe, and the Political Adviser to the President, Ahmed Gulak.

But the committee, it was gathered, was set up specifically to look at the implications of the report by the Independent National Electoral Commission, which said some members of the PDP National Working Committee were not properly elected. PDP was worried about the repercussions the INEC report might have if the concerned members of NWC were to be involved in the nominations for the forth coming governorship elections in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun states.

The Anyim committee was able to ensure the reversal of the suspension of Wamakko, which had made the governors elected on the platform of the party agitated. With the lifting of the suspension, it was clear that a major hurdle that could have made the governors stand against Tukur had been removed.

Jonathan Factor
Despite the fact that he was not among those listed by INEC as improperly elected, series of consultations ensured that Tukur was not removed.  The Anyim committee comprised governors considered as pro-Jonathan. THISDAY gathered that the national caucus of the party that took place on Tuesdaybrought to the fore the fact that the question of Tukur’s fate was a contest between the pro and anti-Jonathan governors. Besides,  President Jonathan realised that he needed to stand by Tukur as he was not sure that he could get his own chairman in place again if Tukur is removed given the chicanery of some governors.

According to a source, the pro-Jonathan governors like Akpabio, Theodore Orji, Ibrahim Shema, Isa Yuguda, and Emmanuel Uduagham who are members of the Anyim committee battled it out against the governors considered to be anti-Jonathan.
He said regarding the anti-Jonathan governors, “Their foot soldiers that are members of the national caucus were calling for the sack of the national chairman, alongside other members of the NWC that were indicted by the INEC report.

“But the advantage Tukur had was that a seed of discord had been sowed between the governors, mostly because of the rivalry of the crisis within the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and the PDP Governors’ Forum.
“The fear is that if Tukur is removed, there is the fear of the unknown, in view of the betrayal that took place during the May 24 NGF election. That Tukur is staying is office is not because the Presidency and the governors love him and his style of leadership that much, but, there is this fear that the devil you know is better than the angel that is not seen.”

The source explained that the deception among the governors, which eventually saw some governors appear to be “teaching their colleagues elementary politics and brought out the governor of Plateau State to be defeated by 19 votes to 16 made the pro-Jonathan governors to move with caution.”

The rivalry also manifested at the G.84 meeting hosted by the chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Godswill Akpabio. At the meeting, the members of the Anyim’s committee made it clear that the Presidency was never in the mood to remove Tukur, but rather he wanted to ensure that those indicted in the INEC report were removed to make the NWC, which is seen as the base of the party, effective in its work.

This was what influenced the position adopted by the Board of Trustees of the party, which explained that there was no need changing a team that could be managed.

It was, therefore, the combination of the rivalry among the governors that eventually saved the day for the PDP national chairman.
That was the scenario that played out at the NEC meeting. The fate of Tukur had been decided before the meeting that some had thought was likely meant to decide his removal.

‘Run-of-the-mill’ Meeting
The arrowhead of the plot against the national chairman was believed to be the governor of his Adamawa home state, Murtala Nyako. But Nyako was said to have stayed away from the meeting when he realised he could not summon enough forces to remove Tukur from office.

In fact, clues that the meeting would be a rather run-of-the-mill gathering for Tukur emerged when he arrived the PDP national secretariat to the chant of praises by a group of supporters. They sang “Bamanga Tukur Mu ke so,” meaning, he is the one we want, to the delight of the national chairman.

The tone of the prayers by the former governor of old Anambra State, Senator Jim Nwobodo, and the Bauchi State governor, Isa Yuguda, was an indication that nothing negative would come out of the meeting against Tukur.

Nwobodo in his prayer asked God to ensure that there was continued unity in the party, saying the unity of PDP is the unity of Nigeria. He also prayed that the party should emerge stronger from the meeting. His prayers were supported by Yuguda, who prayed in the same vein for the unity and stability of PDP.

Special Convention
Besides the passage of the vote of confidence on Tukur, the NEC meeting accepted the resignation of NWC members who INEC said were not properly elected. The NEC in session in accepting their resignation immediately announced an Interim National Executive Committee to help Tukur manage the affairs of the party till July 20 when a special national convention would be conducted.

According to the chairman of the Special Convention Committee, Professor Jerry Gana, who  announced the membership  of the Interim National Executive Committee, those selected were Hon. Chibudom Nwuche, acting deputy national chairman; Dr. Remi Akintoye, acting national secretary; Senator Emma Agboti, acting deputy national secretary; Yusuf Hamisu Abubakar, acting national organising secretary; Tony Ceaser Okeke, acting national publicity secretary; and Simon D. Jok, national legal adviser.

Others are Mohammed Sa’ad, acting national youth leader; Barrister Oyibo Nwaneri, acting national women leader; Barrister Yau Kwadon, acting deputy national legal adviser; Peter Adefunmilayo, acting deputy national youth leader; Nasiru Ibrahim Birch, acting deputy national auditor; Mrs. Torkwase Ajoh, acting deputy national women leader; Mohammed Dandari, acting national treasurer; Onyemaechi Ikechukwu Jideofor, acting deputy national organising secretary; Chief Augustine Lugbenwei, acting deputy national treasurer; and Calib Yahaya, acting deputy national publicity secretary.

Chief Akin Taiwo, Tope Ademiluyi, Chief Mike Akinfenwa and Gbenga Oduwaiye were appointed acting ex-officio members.
Gana who announced that the Special National Convention will take place on July 20 said Akpabio was the deputy chairman of the convention committee. He also said that the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, was the secretary to the July 20 special convention.

He also said that zonal congresses will take place only in the South-west on July 11, while all the delegates for the national convention of March 24, 2012 remained delegates to the July 20 special convention. Gana said that other members of the special convention committee would be announced later.
“The  committee will by Friday write a letter informing INEC of the decision of  the PDP NEC in session and also write to inform the commission of the special national convention in line with the Electoral Act, section 85, that said any political party holding convention must give a 21 days’ notice,” Gana said.

Vote of Confidence
The former minister of information said that ex-Deputy Senate President Ibrahim Mantu moved a motion for a vote of confidence on Jonathan’s two years midterm report.  The motion was successful adopted by all the delegates to the NEC meeting.

One clear thing from the body language of the NEC members in session was that the NWC members and their deputies that resigned could find their ways back to the NWC by July 20. This is because according to a source, “what we did by accepting their resignation is to abide by the INEC report and allow them to go back and re-contest. This is why the NEC approved that all the delegates of the March 24, 2012 national convention were ratified as delegates for the July 20 convention.”

The NEC meeting was attended by the governors of Akwa Ibom, Sokoto, Kogi, Taraba, Kaduna, and Niger states, Deputy Governor of Jigawa, Deputy Governor of Katsina, Kano, Kwara, Kebbi, Gombe, Bauchi and Cross River states. Only the governors of Rivers, Enugu, Ebonyi, Adamawa and Benue states were absent. The governor of Rivers State was absent because of his suspension.

Other members of NEC at the meeting included Senate President David Mark, Ekweremadu, Speaker of the House of Representatives Aminu Waziri Tambuwaal, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Emeka Ihedioha, Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih, former national chairmen of the party, Ahmadu Ali, Abubakr Baraje, Okwesileze Nwodo, and Vincent Ogbulafor. Former Senate Presidents Ken Nnamani and Adolphus Wabara as well as party elder, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyawu, were also at the crucial meeting.

Category: Bauchi State News

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