Vanguard (Lagos)

25 January 2013

Nigeria: PDP's Topsy-Turvy - Blowing Hot and Cold

Deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance — Oscar Wilde

Deceit was undoubtedly the setting for a reconciliatory meeting between the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP national chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and the members of the party National Working Committee, NWC last Wednesday.

Those present were Tukur; the Deputy National Chairman, Dr. Sam Jaja; Acting National Secretary, Solomon Onwe; National Legal Adviser, Victor Kwon; National Woman Leader, Ambassador Kema Chikwe; National Youth leader, Garba Umar Chiza; National Auditor, Chief Bode Mustapha; National Organising Secretary, Abubakar Mustapha; National Treasurer, Bala Kaoje; National Financial Secretary, Elder Bolaji Akpan Anani and National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh.

Removed from memory was the bitterness and ill-feelings that followed the coup that took place in the same national secretariat just two weeks ago when ten members of the NWC secretly met to upturn the earlier decision dissolving the Adamawa State executive of the party.

Under pressure from the majority of the governors who sponsored their election to the national executive of the party, the PDP NWC had at the last minute unceremoniously reversed the decision taken in October to dissolve the Adamawa State executive of the party led by Alhaji Mijinyanwan Kugama who is a loyalist of the Adamawa State governor, Admiral Murtala Nyako.

The decision to dissolve the Kugama led executive was universally believed to have been taken at the prompting of Tukur, who is from Adamawa State and who is alleged to be aiming to take full control of the state structure of the party. But when push came to shove two weeks ago, ten of the twelve members of the NWC met without Tukur and reversed the dissolution.

Their excuse as they claimed was that the NWC had agreed to reverse the dissolution last December but could not announce it before the death of the former governor of Kaduna State, Sir Patrick Yakowa and following that, the yuletide holidays.

Wednesday's meeting between the NWC members and Tukur followed a courtesy call on the national chairman by Governor Martins Elechi of Ebonyi State.

Though he did not say it, Elechi was on hand to express gratitude to Tukur over the promotion of his man, Barrister Solomon Onwe from the position of deputy national secretary to that of Acting National Secretary.

The substantive holder of that position and Tukur's nemesis on the NWC, Col. Olagunsoye Oyinola had penultimate Friday lost his position upon a court decision that voided the congress that brought him to office.

Given the air of treachery that pervaded the secretariat prior to last Wednesday's meeting between Tukur and the NWC members, it was not surprising that the meeting kicked off with Christian and Muslim prayers.

The National Legal Adviser, Barrister Victor Kwon offered the Christian prayer while the National Organising Secretary, Alhaji Abubakar Mustapha said the Islamic prayer.

Sources at the meeting disclosed that some of the NWC members apologized for their action in announcing the reversal of the dissolution of the Adamawa exco without informing the national chairman.

A source at the meeting told Vanguard that the NWC members told Tukur that the decision to restate Alhaji Umaru Mijinyawa Kugama that was loyal to the state governor, Admiral Murtala Nyako was not done to undermine the powers of the PDP National Chairman, but done because they were under pressure from outside especially fear of NWC being sacked and a caretaker Another source at the meeting added:

"We were never at war with the national chairman we are on the same page on all issues. What happened was a communication problem that was fanned by the press and this is especially so since we had reversed the decision to dissolve the Adamawa executive as far back as December 12.

What hindered us was the death of Sir Patrick Yakowa and the holidays that followed," a member at the meeting told Vanguard yesterday on the condition of anonymity since he was not delegated to speak to the press.

Tukur at that meeting was said to have told them that to err is human and that as a father he was forgiving everyone that would have embarrassed him.

The reconciliation nonetheless, many issues still remain unresolved despite the later claim by the NWC that all issues have now been resolved.

One unresolved issue is the fate of the ad-hoc committee initially constituted by the NWC last October to replace the Alhaji Mijinyanwan Kugama executive that was dissolved.

That caretaker committee led by Umar Damagum is now in limbo as the NWC which constituted it has now retraced its steps to the Kugama executive.

Also in limbo is the national vice-chairman, Northeast, Alhaji Girigiri Lawal. Lawal was suspended for indiscipline by the NWC for apparently not moving fast to protect the desires of the national chairman.

It will be recalled that for fear of being thrown out by the 'Almighty Governors', Sam Jaja penultimate week and nine others in the NWC bowed to pressure from the governors elected on the party's platform and made a great U-Turn on its earlier decision by recalling the sacked Adamawa State Executive Committee.

It did not go down well with Tukur because a decision concerning his state was taken in his absence with explanations that he was preparing for the meeting of the Board of Trustees, BoT where a new Chairman ought to have emerged and later described the action as a betrayal of trust.

It will also be recalled that the PDP had last year October sacked the Adamawa state PDP Executive led by Alhaji Umaru Mijinyawa Kugama that was loyal to the state governor, Admiral Murtala Nyako, rtd and Ambassador Umar Damagun led nine-member caretaker Committee was immediately put in place to oversee the affairs of the state PDP.

Emmanuel Tsamdu was appointed to serve as the Secretary with Mr. Eli Gamaliel; Barr. Dahiru Shehu; Alhaji Sabo Mohammed; Mrs Grace Mamba; Mrs. Altine Inuwa; Adamu Wazirin Paka; and Mr. Samuel Zadok as members.

The decision to sack the Adamawa State Executive was announced through a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Metuh last October who claimed that the dissolved exco had "flagrantly disregarded and shown serial disobedience to the decisions of the NWC."

"On behalf of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of our great party, the National Working Committee hereby dissolves the Adamawa State Executive Committee of the PDP.

"This is in exercise of Article 31, section 2(e) and 29, 2(b) of the 2012 amended constitution of our party and consequent on repeated breaches of the constitution by the Adamawa State chapter. A caretaker committee has been set up in its place."

"Article 31(2) (e) specifically empowers the NWC thus: " where necessary, dissolve a State Executive Committee and appoint a caretaker committee to run the party until another Executive Committee is elected , provided that the period from the dissolution to the election of the new Executive shall not exceed 3 months."

Metuh noted further that the dissolved exco conducted illegal local government elections and still went ahead to submit a list of candidates to the State Independent National Electoral Commission without the approval of the NWC.

He said, "this is contrary to the provisions of Section 50(1) of the constitution of the party which among others, states emphatically that the National Executive Committee which the NWC acts on behalf of in this respect, is the final authority for the formulation of guidelines and regulations for the nomination of candidates for election into public offices at all levels and conveying same to INEC or any other authority to whom it may concern.

"The NWC also referred to complaints and petitions from principal stakeholders of the party in Adamawa State on various unconstitutional acts of the dissolved state exco, especially the principle of zoning as enshrined in Article 7(3)(e) of the party constitution as well as several letters from INEC complaining of non compliance with relevant laws in the conduct of the Adamawa State congresses."

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