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PDP crisis: Tukur survives plot to sack him

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IMAGE: Bamanga Tukur »

21. June


Embattled National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bamanga Tukur, on Thursday survived the plot by his opponents to see his back at the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting where he was given the mandate to continue in office.

But the eight members of the National Working Committee (NWC) who a recent Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) report indicted as not being properly elected by the party’s National Convention were officially relieved of their positions.

The affected officials had earlier tendered their letters of resignation in accordance with a Presidential committee recommendation for their sack on account of INEC’s report.

The officers who tendered their resignations at the NEC meeting include the National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh; Deputy National Chairman, Sam Sam Jaja; National Organising Secretary, Abubakar Mustapha; Deputy National Organising Secretary, Oke-chukwu Nnadozie; Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Binta Goje; National Youth Leader, Garba Chiza; Deputy Youth Leader, Dennis Alonge Niyi; Deputy National Auditor, Umar Ibrahim; National Women Leader, Kema Chikwe; Deputy National Women Leader, Hannatu Ulam; Deputy National Treasurer, Claudus Inengas; and National Legal Adviser, Victor Gwom.

With all Deputy National Officers sent packing alongside four ex-officio members, 20 party positions became vacant.

A July 20 date has been fixed by the NEC to hold a mini National Convention to elect a set of officers to occupy the positions.

In the interim, however, the vacancies created by the departure of the affected officers have been filled with nominated members who are to hold the position in acting capacity until July 20.

Members of the interim NWC as made public on Thursday are: Chibudom Nwuche (Acting Deputy National Chairman), Remi Akinloye (Acting National Secretary), Emma Agboti (Acting Deputy National Secretary), Yusuf Hamisu Abubakar (Acting National Organising Secretary), Tony Ceaser Okeke (Acting National Publicity Secretary), Simon Jok (Acting National Legal Adviser), Mohammed Sa’ad (Acting National Youth Leader) and Oyibo Nwaneri (Acting National Women Leader).

The others are: Yau Kwadon (Acting Deputy National Legal Adviser), Peter Adefunmilayo (Acting Deputy National Youth Leader), Nasiru Ibrahim Birchi (Acting Deputy National Auditor), Torkwase Ajoh (Acting Deputy National Women Leader), Mohammed Dandari (Acting National Treasurer), Onyemaechi Ikechukwu Jideofor (Acting Deputy National Organising Secretary) and Augustine Lugbenwei (Acting Deputy National Treasurer).

The rest are: Calib Yahaya (Acting Deputy National Publicity Secretary), Akin Taiwo (Acting Ex-officio), Tope Ademiluyi (Acting Ex-officio), Mike Akinfenwa (Acting Ex-officio) and Gbenga Oduwaiye (Acting Ex-officio).

The sacked members of the NWC were asked to vacate the NEC meeting room as soon as their resignations were tendered and accepted by the NEC.

At the meeting on Thursday, hired praise singers were seen loitering around the vicinity of the party secretariat, carrying various placards with inscriptions that sang praises of Tukur.

Even when security operatives arrived to secure the entire stretch of the road from the Wuse Zone 1 Junction down to the PDP secretariat (a distance of about two kilometres) the praise singing groups were allowed to do their singing without molestation.

Other passers-by were also asked to cross to the other side of the dual carriage road in order not to interfere in the security settings.

A combined team of fully armed soldiers, mobile policemen, men of the Department of State Security (DSS) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) provided security at the venue of the meeting.

The atmosphere was a pointer to the fact that the rumoured exit of the National Chairman will not be a reality.

It would be recalled that the Presidency waded into the plot to remove Tukur at the National Caucus meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday night to save Tukur’s job.

Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum (PDPGF) and Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, had said on Wednesday that the party’s Governors had concluded arrangements with the Presidency to ensure that only those who were affected by the INEC directive should be allowed to resign.

As a safety net, Akpabio was said to have met with the G84 (a group of state chairmen and secretaries) and extracted a pledge from them that they will give a block vote to Tukur should the situation arise.

However, this was not needed at Thursday’s session, as no member deviated from the agreement reached with Jonathan on the need to save Tukur.

Briefing newsmen at the end of the NEC meeting, Jerry Gana, one of the founding members, disclosed that the party had accepted the resignation of the party officials.

According to him, the NEC of the party had put together a National Convention Planning Committee of which he (Gana) is the Chairman, while Akpabio is to serve as Deputy Chairman.

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, is to serve as Secretary of the committee.

Gana reiterated that the planned mini-convention is not a new convention, and should not be misconstrued as such.

Therefore, those who are to emerge at the convention are merely to complete the terms of the current NWC which started in 2012.

In the same vein, fresh delegates are not to be selected, as those who were delegates at the 2012 convention would be the same delegates at the July 20 mini convention.

However, the South West geopolitical zone of the party will have to conduct a fresh Zonal Congress on July 11 following the court ruling which declared the last Zonal Congress conducted before the National Convention of 2012 illegal.

Similarly, new entrants into the race will not be allowed, as only those who were aspirants during the last convention but forced to step down for the now sacked NWC members are eligible to participate in the contest.

The convention planning committee, he said, is yet to be properly put together, as states are expected to forward the names of two nominees each to be part of the committee.

However, as the party’s NEC meets to put its house in order, one of its chieftains and a governorship aspirant in Adamawa State in the 2011 election, Umar Ardo, faulted the reasons given by the party for the resignation of the affected national officers.

He debunked the claim that the action was taken because of the said INEC report.

Ardo, in a statement in Abuja, stated that if the party has suddenly turned to adhere to the rule of law, the remaining officers of the party ought to tow the same line and send in their resignations.

“I do not believe that the current so-called resignation of PDP members of the NWC is because of INEC’s report on their mode of elections. When did INEC’s reports ever become a matter of serious concern to both the PDP and INEC itself?

“If it is really because of INEC’s report, then what about the PDP’s Ward, LGAs and State Chapters in nine states of the federation which INEC’s report declared as unconstitutional?

“In three separate letters dated March 5, 14, and April 2, 2012 signed by the Commission’s Secretary and addressed to the PDP National Chairman, INEC rejected the mode of election of the party’s Wards and LGA’s organs as unconstitutional and advised the party’s National Secretariat not to proceed with its congresses until it re-conducted the Wards and LGAs congresses in the states affected.

“However, the party flagrantly disobeyed this directive and continued its congresses at the states, zonal and even national convention with delegates composited by these Wards and LGAs chapters” Ardo added.

Article Credit: Daily Independent Newspaper

Updated 6 Years ago

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