Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Frank Talk About Ruling Party - PDP Risks Losing Power - Bamanga

Yola — His Mega Leadership Style Slows Down Activities at Wadata Plaza.

Speaks on Son's Travails over Fuel Subsidy Fraud.

The National Chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, warned yesterday that it is an illusion for the party's members to think that PDP will rule Nigeria forever, if there are no reforms that would enable the party to deliver good governance to the Nigerian people.

Alhaji Tukur who spoke with journalists at his residence in Yola yesterday, said his mission at the ruling party is to put it on a sound, independent footing, such that members would be 'taught to fish,' and not to be given fish every time they are hungry.

The party's chairman said, "Let me tell you, when we were forming this party, we interacted with the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa. They are the richest party in Africa. Their members contribute to the funding of the party. By the grace of God, this is the path we want to tread. Party is like a club. When you are a member of a club you pay its dues. We shall strive to show people how to be productive.

If you are a member of a party, that party should be able to teach you how to fish and not to give you fish. We have to win the hearts of the Nigerian people. If we fail to win their hearts, they will never vote for us. People say PDP will rule forever, it is a lie. We can only rule forever if the Party continues to do the right things that it was known for."

Alhaji Tukur, whose son is facing the law over allegations that his company benefited from oil subsidy, but did not supply fuel in 2011, told journalists that he didn't become the party's chairman to enrich himself. Rather, his dream is to transform the party.

He said, "I'm not on the seat to enrich myself, but to bring about changes and transformation, being a founding member of the PDP. For me, it is to payback. I want to be remembered as someone that brought changes and ideas to the PDP.

I don't lie, and at this departure lounge, I think I must do the right thing, if I want to be honoured and remembered." When reporters asked him to comment on the arraignment of his son over the fuel subsidy scam, he parried the question, arguing that he should not be crucified for the sins of his son. According to him, as an adult, his son is old enough to answer for his actions, and wondered why journalists were too sensational and were personalizing issues. He said that "people are only looking for the bad side of a person.

If it's positive story you don't care, but if it's negative it can be flashed out: Bamanga's son in trouble, or Bamanga's son blabla with screaming headlines. Because you want to sell your newspapers, it has become a story."

However, the ruling party's chairman has come under criticism over his son's involvement in the subsidy saga. Yesterday, the National Conscience Party (NCP) and the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) condemned the involvement of PDP chieftains' sons in the fuel subsidy scam, saying no stone should be left unturned to ensure justice is done in the matter.

In separate interviews, the National Chairman of NCP, Dr Yunusa Tanko, and media officer of TMG, Dooshima Tsee, said the involvement of families of Nigerian leaders in corruption is not surprising.

"It is only in Nigeria that lackeys and cronies are glorified as against credibility and dedication to serve the people, which are thrown in to dustbin. We believe that subsidy does not exist at all. The government of the day and it predecessors have been using it to continue to impoverished the people as their gain for voting or keeping quiet for them to continue to perpetuate themselves in power.

Even though the Government has shown signs of prosecuting the matter due to popular demand it is noble of mention. But how it is finally executed is another matter. Now that people have been identified, government and the court should not shy away from doing the right thing for the benefit of the nation," Tanko said.

On her part, Tsee said, "The arraignment of Abdullahi Alao, the son of prominent businessman, Alhaji Abdullazeez Arikesola-Alao, Mahmud Tukur and Nasamu Ali, the sons of the current and past PDP Chairmen, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and Ahmadu Ali and respectively, is not particularly surprising.

It is inevitable that some of the bigwigs in Nigeria would be caught up in the chain of events that have exposed layer upon layer of corruption in the higher rungs of society and governance in Nigeria recently. As the saying goes, "Deep corruption often follows Big money".

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