This Day (Lagos)

20 January 2014

Nigeria: Tukur - I Went Through Hell As PDP Chairman

The Peoples Democratic Party needs to search for A new person that Can unite the party, to ensure that the party comes back on track. That is the ... ( Resource: PDP Crisis: Searching For Tukur's Replacement

Five days after he was forced to resign, the immediate past National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, has said he went through hell trying to run the party. He spoke when some Muslim clerics paid him a solidarity visit at the weekend at his Wuse 2 Abuja residence.

Tukur said but for the doggedness of President Goodluck Jonathan and the wisdom he displayed in managing the affairs of PDP, the party would have long collapsed, given what he described as 'evil plots' by certain members to completely destroy the party.

He also hinted of the expected qualities of his successor, ahead of the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting that would elect his successor. Some of the qualities, according to him, include being fearless, consistent and focused, because he passed through difficult times while in office.

Tukur, who told the clerics that he made a huge sacrifice by resigning from office, also expressed regrets that some members of the PDP preferred the party to be run with the mentality of business as usual, because, according to him, such members were utterly opposed to any form of change he tried to introduce in running the party.

The former PDP Chairman, who restated his loyalty to President Goodluck Jonathan and his government, pledged his unalloyed support to the president and the PDP.

He explained that he was proud of all the decisions he took to reform the party, in order to deepen democracy and make Nigeria raise its head in the comity of great nations.

The former national chairman urged the clerics to continue praying for President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP to overcome what he referred to as their trying moments. According to him, he found it unbelievable to discover that some stakeholders of the party never had the interest of PDP or Nigeria at heart.

He explained that personal ambitions, crave for sudden wealth and unimaginable level of treachery usually got the full attention of such stakeholders than anything else.

"I did my best to bring PDP to good standard and international best practices on politics. I came in with the mind-set to reform the party by promoting the principle of election instead of selection and the idea of consensus instead of imposition.

"Alas, I was proved wrong by those who believed that the old order in PDP must be retained, not for any good thing, but for their selfish interests.

"Some members got so desperate that they turned to the media and funded all negative reports against me. If you are familiar with all the negative media reports, none attributed any wrong doing to me. The reports only echoed the views of the sponsors that I was unbending in my desire to change the bad situation in PDP.

"They even attempted to use the media to get me in confrontation with Mr. President. I never spoke to anyone about issues, yet the media would attribute some reports to me. But we knew those who were behind it all. They had forgotten that what ever goes round surely must come round. "To put me on the spot, they sponsored another report that governorship aspirants were buying me bullet-proof jeeps so that I can give them governorship slot in their states. How could I do such a thing, when indeed, I was the one advocating change in PDP. I waged war against the idea of imposition or selection of candidates for elections in our party," he said.

Meanwhile, the former Chairman has hinted that he would accept the "tougher job" promised him by President Jonathan last week..

One of Tukur's aides, Awal Hayatudeen, who spoke with THISDAY, said Tukur was set to accept any "advisory role" available.

He said: "Our leader has extensive experience in almost every facet of business and politics both here at home and abroad. You know, some world leaders always joke that he is a president without a flag or office. They hold him in high esteem. He once addressed the United Nations General Assembly as a private citizen. Don't forget he is still involved with the African Business Round table and the African Peer Review Mechanism. So he has all these international exposure and clout which would come in handy in the next assignment"

Meanwhile Jonathan yesterday night met with state governors elected on the platform of the PDP, with a view to narrowing down on the successor of Tukur.

All the governors from the North-east where the position is zoned, arrived the same time with Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State and Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, an indication that they met somewhere ahead of the meeting with the president. Checks indicated that Dickson met with the president briefly before leaving the premises to join the meeting of the North-east governors with Akpabio.

The meeting, held at the First Lady Wing of the State House, commenced at 9.10p.m. Security officers chased out State House correspondents from the venue of the meeting which they said was not for media coverage.

Those present were Vice-President Namadi Sambo, leadership of the National Assembly, SGF, Anyim Pius Anyim, PDP Deputy National Chairman, Uche Secondus. At the end of the meeting last night, former Bauchi State Governor, Adamu Mu'azu, was believed to have emerged as a consensus candidate.

THISDAY investigation revealed that President Jonathan strongly pushed for the former governor and the governors finally deferred to his choice.

Also, the governors who attended the parley included Jonah Jang (Plateau), Seidu Dakingari (Kebbi), Gabriel Suswam (Benue), Theodore Orji (Abia) Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Martins Elechi (Ebonyi) and Sullivan Chime (Enugu).

Others were Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), Ramalan Yero (Kaduna), Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Idris Wada (Kogi) and Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Lyel Imoke (Cross River), Garba Umar (Taraba), Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa) and Adamawa State Deputy Governor, Bala Ngilari. As at the time of filing this report, the meeting was still ongoing.

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