Bamanga Tukur Is Going No Where, Says Jonathan
After initially endorsing the recommendation of the Anyim Pius Anyim led presidential committee investigating the crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) asking for the resignation or sack of the parties National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, President Jonathan has made a complete volte-face and has become a strong advocate in support of the chairman.
The committee had recommended Tukur sack as a way of resolving the crisis within the party and the recommendation got the approval of the president only to rescind the decision.
The President according to sources insisted on retaining Tukur with a source saying: “Is it every battle that the President must lose? He lost the battle to make Jonah Jang chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, so must he also lose this one?”
The battle to remove the chairman which observers said last night, was turning into an ego tussle is being mounted by vested party interests including governors and the powerful caucus of state chairmen.
As at last night, there were high level meetings in Abuja by major stakeholders of the party who are either for or against the removal of the chairman.
Those canvassing for Tukur’s sack disclosed that the exit of Tukur has become the only solution to the endless crises in the party.
A group known as PDP Stakeholders Forum addressed the press yesterday, insisting that the national chairman was ab initio not qualified to lead the party having been expelled in 2001.
Speaking through its National Coordinator, Ikenga Ugochinyere, the group said: “Bamanga Tukur is ab-initio not a bonafide member of the PDP that is capable of being elected into the office he currently occupies. Alhaji Bamanga Tukur was expelled by the National Executive Committee of the party after being indicted for “high level anti-party activities” alongside five others including Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke on May 31, 2001.
“The expulsion of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and five others in 2001 by the PDP passed through the due process of law as enshrined in the party’s constitution and still subsists as same has never been contested, challenged or set aside.
He continued: “Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, at the point of his nomination for election as National Chairman was never a registered member of not less than two years since his expulsion from the party in 2001, which expulsion has not been lifted by the PDP or set aside by a court of law.
He also cited the performance of the National Chairman which has brought so much disunity, cluelessness and lack of direction for the party as part of the reason why he must go.
On the other a group sympathetic to Tukur, last night, said that removing Tukur would be contemptuous of the judiciary which it warned has ordered otherwise.
The group under the aegis, Movement for Change and Empowerment in the Peoples Democratic Party (MCE – PDP), yesterday warned that attempts to sack Tukur using the INEC report would not be realistic.
In a statement by its National Coordinator, Mr. Kola Dakova-Vaughan, the group noted that no matter how well the move may be hatched, it would be sub judice and ultra vires, against the backdrop that the matter was already pending before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Erstwhile Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark was one of the high profile party men that also came out yesterday to back Tukur. Clark in a statement alleged that the move against Tukur was another ploy by those against President Goodluck Jonathan, even as he asserted that the man had done no wrong.
Also speaking in his support, outgoing National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh who submitted his resignation letter yesterday, said Tukur should not go given that his election as National Chairman was not faulted by the INEC report.
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