2015: Jonathan set to dump Tukur
To save his political life which is fast slipping away, President Goodluck Jonathan is said to have concluded plans to dump the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, in obvious acquiescence to the demand of the aggrieved faction of the party led by former vice president, Atiku Abubakar.
Tukur, who was accused of high-handedness and bias by the factional PDP (also known as the New PDP) has been defiant threatening to ‘punish’ errant members of the party and their supporters including lawmakers. At a press conference in Abuja Tukur warned that the seats of about 124 PDP members in the National Assembly would be declared vacant if they failed to withdraw their loyalty to the breakaway faction of the party.
However, a Presidency source told our reporter that Tukur is merely blowing hot air as he no longer enjoys the support of the President who is the party leader. The source hinted that Jonathan may cause the removal of the party chairman to save his own political career. “The president is not happy and he is worried by the recent developments in the party. He wants to run again in 2015 and he cannot do so and win under the present circumstance. He is weighing the option of letting Tukur go”, the source said.
When reminded that the lacks the power to remove the party chairman, the source said: “Yes, the party constitution does not give him such power but there is a precedence in the manner former chairmen of the party were removed. Both Audu Ogbeh and Vincent Ogbulafor were forced to resign..such option is open to Mr President”.
It is not clear how soon the President will make good his intention but a PDP top notch said it could happen in a matter of weeks.
Tukur had described the promoters of the New PDP as “undemocratic and unpatriotic elements,” who are bent on destroying “our common destiny.”
But his threat was pooh-poohed as a joke. He was referred to as “a joker” by the leader of the faction, Alhaji Abubakar Baraje, and the spokesperson for the House of Representatives, Zakari Mohammed, who advised him to study the Electoral Act properly before making a pronouncement on such an issue.
On Monday, 26 senators and 57 House of Representatives members announced their loyalty to the New PDP which other key officials are a former National Secretary of the PDP, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and a former Deputy National Chairman, Dr. Sam Jaja.
Forty five members of the House of Representatives had earlier identified with the group that also has a former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; Governors Sule Lamido(Jigawa); Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto); Abdulfatai Ahmed (Kwara); Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers); and Rabiu Kwakwanso (Kano), in its fold.
Tukur who appeared miffed by the audacity of the new PDP members said: “All persons elected on the platform of our great party at all levels who identify with these enemies of the oneness and greatness of our party shall have their seats declared vacant as required by law.
“We shall leave no stone unturned to ensure that such persons and indeed, any other individuals who attempt to subvert the leadership of the PDP shall reap in full, the consequences of such actions.
“I wish to emphasise that the PDP has adequate mechanism for internal conflict resolution. All party members are therefore advised to ventilate their grievances through this medium.
“There is only one lawfully recognised PDP and I am firmly in charge.”
He said, “Gentlemen of the press, you are aware of the current developments in our great party. Our reason for being here is to inform you without any iota of doubt that the PDP has no faction and there is neither room nor reason whatsoever for such a claim under any guise.
“The PDP has only one duly elected National Executive Committee under my chairmanship. I wish therefore to state with all emphasis that any group of persons parading themselves as leaders of NEC or any other organ of our party are impostors and I urge all Nigerians, especially the security agencies and other institutions of democracy to regard them as such.
“Let me state categorically that the PDP as the sole custodian of the sacred mandate of over 160 million Nigerians and which, in the last 14 years has lifted high, the banner of democracy will not fold its arms while some undemocratic and unpatriotic elements destroy our common destiny by causing divisions and confusion among the people.
“Consequently, we shall ensure that any person who is not duly elected into any leadership position in our great party and has not been duly assigned any role but goes ahead to arrogate such to himself will be made to face the full wrath of the law.”