Vanguard (Lagos)

14 February 2013

Nigeria: Jonathan, Tukur Move to Break Govs' Influence On PDP

Abuja — President Goodluck Jonathan and the national chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, have commenced practical moves to dilute the influence of the party's governors on the party's National Executive Committee, NEC.

The NEC is the highest decision making organ of the party next to the national convention.

As part of the moves, Tukur was last night locked in a dinner meeting with state chairmen of the party from 12 states where he is expected to directly woo them for their support. The state chairmen at the dinner were drawn from states presently controlled by opposition political parties. The president is expected to follow up with another meeting with state chairmen from the 36 states of the country tomorrow.

The move by Tukur and the president it was learnt was aimed towards consolidating their hold on the party's NEC where the governors presently hold sway.

The strategy of meeting with the 12 chairmen without incumbent PDP governors, Vanguard learnt, was meant to solidify the relationship between the party hierarchy and them ahead of tomorrow's crucial meeting between all state chairmen and the president.

One source privy to the development disclosed that the president and the national chairman were aiming to woo the state chairmen with the purpose of divorcing them from the influence of the governors. The governors presently have overwhelming influence in the running of the party and have been known to direct party directions towards their favour.

Unable to hold NEC meeting

Partly because of the influence of the governors, the party has been unable to hold a NEC meeting in recent times, having held the last meeting last July against the provisions of the party's constitution which provides for quarterly meetings of the NEC.

Party chairmen's influence

"The party now recognizes that the state chairmen who constitute the single largest block in the NEC are pivotal to what ever policy issues that must succeed in the party and hence this move," a source privy to the development told Vanguard, yesterday before the interactive session.

It was further disclosed that the move by the president and the national chairman to woo the governors followed penultimate week's resolution by the state chairmen to support the governors in the face-off between them on the one hand and the president and the national chairman on the other.

At that meeting the state chairmen had taken position with the governors against Tukur in insisting on the recognition of the Umar Kugama- led executive in Adamawa State.

The state chairmen in the communiqué of the meeting that took place penultimate Thursday had further resolved "that the conference expressed delight on the development in Adamawa State which saw to the re-instatement of the Kugama-led executive and appealed for continued fraternity on the part of members so as to further enhance the party's internal cohesion."

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