How President Jonathan Saved Tukur’s Planned Sack
By the whiskers, embattled national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Bamanga Tukur survived his planned removal at the meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party yesterday.
But Tukur’s saving grace was President Goodluck Jonathan who pleaded with some leaders of the party to give the former governor of the old Gongola state another chance.
Before the Thursday meeting of the highest decision-making body of the PDP, Jonathan reportedly held not less than four pre-NEC sessions to avert Tukur’s removal which had been hatched to take the form of a vote of no confidence.
Jonathan, according to an impeccable source, held series of meetings with the Board of Trustees, PDP governors loyal to him, ‘identified elders’ of the PDP as well as the PDP Caucus in the National Assembly.
Tukur was on the verge of being shown the exit door following the insistence of some aggrieved PDP governors that the only antidote for peace in the party was the removal of the national chairman with whom they have been having running battles.
A Presidency source said that President Jonathan had no choice than to come to the aid of Tukur.
“The president had no choice, my brother; dumping Tukur at this critical time would spell doom for everybody. As politicians, those fighting Tukur, those he is fighting and governors fighting amongst themselves are doing that as a result of one thing-the 2015 election. Do not forget that those calling for Tukur’s head are doing so as means to an end. Under such a situation, saving him is the best. Best of course, as human beings, Tukur may have seen the need to bring all together because leaders were frank with him”, he said.
But as Tukur survived being booted out, the NEC ratified the resignation of 16 members of the National Working Committee (NWC) following the report of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which nullified the mode of their election.
In the interim, a 22-member acting NWC members has emerged in the now composite leadership organ of the ruling party.
Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chibudum Nwuche is now the party’s acting National Deputy Chairman, while Dr. Remi Akintoye is the acting National Secretary of the party.
Erstwhile information minister, Prof Jerry Gana, is to head the Special Convention Planning Committee for the mini convention scheduled to hold July 15.
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu is to serve as secretary of the committee which has representatives from each state of the federation.
A few states are however, yet to send in their representatives.
The national convention would be preceded by the South West zonal congress on July 11.
As if pre-planned, as soon as Bamanga Tukur declared the meeting open with his address, he handed over the microphone to the chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, who hailed the leadership of the PDP.
Briefing newsmen at the end of the NEC meeting, Prof. Jerry Gana announced the replacement of officers of the party who had resigned, saying amongst decisions reached was the approval of guidelines for the convention, approval of the convention planning committee.
Prof Gana gave the lists of the acting national officers to include Senator Emma Agboti (deputy national secretary), Yusufu Hamisu Abubakar (national organizing secretary), Tony Ceaser Okeke (national publicity secretary), Simon D. Jok Esq (national legal adviser), Barr. Tanko Beji (national youth leader) and Barr. Oyibo Nwaneri (national woman leader).
Others include Barr. Yau Kwadon (deputy national legal adviser), Hon. Peter Adefunmilayo (deputy national youth leader ), Nasiru Ibrahim Bichi (deputy national auditor ), Mrs. Torkwase Ajoh (deputy national women leader), Mohammed Dandari (National Treasurer), Onyemaechi Ikechukwu Jideofor (deputy national organizing secretary) as well as Hon. Auwalu Gwalabe (deputy national financial secretary).
Those who also made the PDP’s protem NWC included Chief Augustine Lugbenwei (deputy national treasurer) and Calib Yahaya (deputy national publicity secretary). Chief Akin Taiwo, Tope Ademiluyi, Chief Mike Akinfenwa and Hon. Gbenga Oduwaiye are all to act as ex-officio members.
Meanwhile, Tukur yesterday identified dwindled internal communication as a major reason why there seems to be glaring aparthy by members towards discipline and party funding by members.
Speaking at the event yesterday, Tukur lamented that open confrontation with political administration has exposed the political weakness of the party, just as fighting the party from within has exposed the party to danger.
He warned party stalwarts to stop disrespect of the office of the President, as undermining him for unjust reasons can nowhere bring us good results.
“This observation is necessary to remind PDP members that we owe ourselves a duty to protect, project and support our President to leave behind a lasting legacy for the Nigerian,” Tukur said.
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