PDP Crisis: Presidency Violates Ceasefire Agreement With G-7 Governors
Barely 24 hours after President Goodluck Jonathan and the group of seven rebellious governors under the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) reached an agreement to observe a ceasefire, especially in media altercation, the presidency has violated the terms of the agreement.
Speaking to state house correspondents in an interview, political adviser to the president, Alhaji Ali Ahmed Gulak, said the demand by the aggrieved governors that the party’s national chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, be removed was unacceptable.
Gulak said the demand was a breach of the party’s constitution.
Excerpts of the interview:
How do you feel about the latest development in the political terrain?
Gulak: I have always said PDP has its internal mechanism to resolve its problems — whatever crisis the outsiders may think we have. We are talking, we are dialoguing, peace is gradually returning to PDP in accordance with the constitution of the party and in accordance with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. These two documents are our guide, we abide by them and we are dialoguing in accordance with the provision of the constitution.
But sceptics believe this crisis will mark the end of PDP; how do you react?
I will tell you that PDP is the only national party that has maintained its name and identity since 1998 till date. Nobody can beat that record.
Will the national chairman survive this factional crisis?
The national chairman has no problem. He was elected and I always say that as there are processes for election, there are processes for removal or resignation. So nobody can cajole anybody to say the national chairman will not survive. Nobody is against the national chairman.
Among the conditions listed by the aggrieved governors, which one will your faction agree to?
I have said it before that 2015, national chairman, EFCC — these are the three demands — we have to be guided by the constitution. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, as given Mr President the right to offer himself for a second term if he so chooses and nobody, either individual or group, can abridge his constitutional right. If he decides not to contest, let it be on his own volition, not because he is intimidated or cajoled into doing that. Secondly, about EFCC, I have said it before and will say it again: Mr President will never ask such an independent body not to carry out their job or statutory function. The third is about national chairman and I have said he emerged through the process of election and his removal is also guided by constitutional provisions.
There is the rumour that your party has started the process of filling the vacancies of the ministerial posts?
Mr President has the constitutional power to hire and fire. So since there are vacancies in the cabinet, it’s Mr President’s prerogative to nominate to the Senate ministers from the various states to fill the vacancies. So it’s not unexpected.
What sort of people are we looking for?
It is for Mr President to set the criteria but, in accordance with the transformation agenda, to bring in people that will work as a team for the success of the transformation.
Before peace of this nature can be achieved, there has to be give and take; so what is your camp willing to give?
Politics is about give and take. What camp are you talking about? There is no camp. Which is Tukur’s faction? There is only one PDP please and that PDP as at today is led by Bamanga Tukur. There is only one PDP; that we have some aggrieved members does not deviate from the fact that there is only one PDP. And these aggrieved members — the elders are already talking to them and they are understanding the constitutional provisions and all of us must be guided by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and by the constitution of our party. We don’t do things just because we want to do them; we must abide by the principles of democracy.
The treasurer of the new PDP resigned. It is being alleged he was forced to resign?
I have never said there is a faction. I have always said they are aggrieved members. There was even no national treasurer as far as we are concerned. The national treasurer of the party is Accountant Bala Buhari. That is the man we elected at Eagle Square on the 31st of August. I have never said there is any faction.
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