EMBATTLED Peoples Democratic Party National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, yesterday, described the reinstatement of the sacked Adamawa State Executives of the party by the National Working Committee, NWC, as a betrayal of trust.
A mild drama played out at the National Secretariat of the party yesterday as Tukur and some NWC members snubbed one another before the party leaders went into a marathon meeting at the Presidential Villa. The bickering has forced President Goodluck Jonathan to wade into the crisis, urging members to sheathe their swords and work together as a team.
This came as Vanguard gathered that the party could not elect its Board of Trustees, BoT, chairman on Tuesday because the membership of about 50 per cent of those on the board had expired. The party deferred the election of its BoT chairman to enable it weed out the non members of the board, reliable sources told Vanguard.
Ahmadu Ali's ambition scuttled
Meanwhile, the ambition of former National Chairman of the party, Dr Ahmadu Ali, to emerge as the BoT chair was scuttled, yesterday, with the retaining of Walid Jibrin as the BoT secretary. Jubrin is from North-Central geo-political zone as Ali. The BoT chairman and secretary, according to the party rules cannot come from the same zone in line with the Federal character principle.
It will be recalled that 10 members of the NWC, led by Deputy National Chairman, Dr. Sam Jaja and National Secretary, Olagunsoye Oyinlola had, Tuesday, rescinded the party's earlier decision sacking the Adamawa PDP exco and replacing them with a caretaker committee. The reinstatement of the officials behind Tukur, was seen as a big slap on him and an indication that governors elected on the party's platform have fallen out with Tukur because of their resolve to protect one of their own, Murtala Nyako, the governor of Adamawa State.
The dissolution of the Adamawa Exco, which was loyal to Nyako and replacement with a caretaker committee said to be sympathetic to Tukur, had generated ripples in the state and at the national level, putting the two political leaders at loggerheads.
Tukur, who was apparently jolted by the decision of the NWC members, was said to be counting on the support of President Jonathan, who brought him on board in the belief that his position as the national chairman would give him needed support to achieve his re-election bid in 2015.
Although, Tukur declined to speak to newsmen who had assembled in his Wuse 2 residence in Abuja on Wednesday morning, he pointed out that the action of the NWC members amounted to a betrayal of trust. "I have nothing to say over what the NWC did yesterday but the fact remains that their action is nothing but a betrayal of trust. There are documents relating to the Adamawa congresses and they speak for themselves," Tukur said.
Contrary to the claim that Tukur dissolved the Adamawa PDP Exco and appointed a caretaker committee loyal to him, documents obtained by Vanguard suggested that it was actually the NWC members, who initiated the move that led to the sack of the officials.
After the dissolution of the Adamawa PDP chapter earlier in the year, Tukur and Oyinlola on December 5, 2012 wrote to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, informing him of the decision of the NWC to conduct fresh congresses in the state. In the letter entitled "Notification of Party Congresses in Adamawa State" with reference No. PDP/DOM/GF1/276 and jointly signed by Oyinlola and Tukur, the duo wrote, "In keeping with the provisions of Section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010, we write to inform the INEC that the NWC of our great party has approved the conduct of the following party congresse in Adamawa State." Under the timetable sent to INEC by the two party officials, the Ward congresses were slated for December 27, 2012, Local Government Congresses fixed for January 3, 2013 while the State congress was scheduled for January 8, 2013.
Based on the letter to INEC, the National Organising Secretary of the Party, Abubakar Mustaphar on December 6, 2012 also wrote to INEC and the Acting National Vice Chairman, North East, notifying them of the approved timetable for the congresses.
Mustaphar also wrote to Tukur and obtained his approval to carry on with the conduct of the congresses, as set out in the timetable. But at the emergency meeting of the NWC on Tuesday, which was seen as a 'coup' against Tukur, the members distanced themselves from decisions relating to the Adamawa chapter dissolution and the congresses, describing the dissolution and the congresses as null and void.
Despite the attempt to disgrace Tukur, Vanguard learnt that the Presidency was not ready to sacrifice Tukur to appease PDP state governors who are trying to position their stooges ahead of 2015. Vanguard gathered that many of the outgoing governors might not support Jonathan's re-election bid because of the fear that leaving him behind could make him to move against them once they are out of power and lose their immunity.
PDP Chairman, Bamanga Tukur
Why we deferred election -- Ojo Maduekwe
Speaking to newsmen why the election was deferred, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, a former National PDP Secretary and current Nigerian Ambassador to Canada, said it was to enable the board to properly align its membership.
Tuesday's meeting was presided over by President Jonathan at the Presidential Villa. Maduekwe said that a special committee had been set up to scrutinise membership of the board and work for a free and fair election. He said that the committee, which would be chaired by Prof. Jerry Gana, was mandated to look into the membership of the BOT and the procedure for the coming election. He listed the other committee members as Dr Shetimah Mustafa, Gov. Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State, Sen. Stella Omu, Sen. Hope Uzodinma and Chief Olabode George.
Jonathan wades into NWC crisis
President Jonathan has waded into the crisis within the NWC of the Peoples Democratic Party with the convening of a meeting of the National Caucus of the party with the view to resolving it.
Yesterday's meeting which had in attendance the national chairman and members of the NWC as well as the president of the Senate and speaker of the House of Representatives lasted for over three hours. Briefing newsmen at the end of the meeting, Tukur said the PDP was one family that is capable of resolving its internal problems amicably.
Answering question from newsmen, the PDP chairman declined to comment specifically on the Adamawa crisis, saying that the party's position would be announced today. According to him: "PDP is like a family and like in any family, there maybe some disagreements on principles and we have resolved it. Some differences you need to bring them to light with the aim of examining them and find out why there is the disagreement. As the family head, I can tell you that we are one and the same". He said there were some misunderstandings but those misunderstandings have been resolved and the position of the party would be made known today.
How Mark's motion sealed Ali's ambition
Prior to Tuesday's meeting of the BoT, former National Chairman, Dr. Amadu Ali, was optimistic that the coast was clear for him to emerge as the chairman.
Hours into the meeting, his hope of actualizing his ambition was shattered following a motion by a prominent member from his North Central Zone that the issue of the Secretary of the board be looked into by members.
Vanguard gathered that the motion by Senate President David Mark (Benue North Central) re-affirming the substantive Secretary of the board, Senator Walid Jibrin for another five year term became the last straw that nailed the aspiration of Ali.
It was gathered that at the meeting where the immediate past BoT Chairman and former President, Olusegun Obasamjo was absent, members unanimously confirmed the five year team for Senator Jibrin, just as this may put an end to Ali's aspiration as the two principal officers of the board cannot come from the same geo-political zone of the country.
Vanguard also gathered that Mark's motion came up when Ali's wife, Marian, who was sitting close to his husband prompted him to talk and Ali stood up to say that there was need for members to discuss the issue of BoT Secretary that is being occupied by a member from North Central, restating his leadership qualities and contribution to the party.
Senator Mark in his quest to retain the position of the North central leader then moved the motion. By the constitution of the PDP, as regards the BoT, the principle of Federal Character holds sway. Ali is from Kogi State, while Jibrin is from Nasarawa State, all in North Central zone.
The move by Mark, it was gathered, became imperative because if Ali was elected the BoT chairman, his influence as the political leader of North Central might be diminished. Other details of the BoT meeting showed that the former Minister of Information, Prof Jerry Gana was nominated chairman of the committee to streamline and restructure the members of the BoT, apart from the statutory members of the Board and was given three weeks to submit its report.
Other members of the Gana's committee are Senator Stella Omu (South-South); Governor Ibrahim Shema (North-West); Shettima Mustapha (North-East); Chief Bode George (South-West) and Senator Hope Uzodinma (South-East).