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Tukur Refuses to Resign as PDP NEC Meets Tomorrow

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IMAGE: Bamanga Tukur »

Chuks Okocha and Muhammad Bello 

Barring any last minute changes, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has slated July 15 to hold a mini-national convention to endorse the changes in the National Working Committee (NWC) expected to take place during tomorrow’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party.

Before the mini-national convention, however, the party will also hold zonal congresses on July 13 nationwide.

The purpose of the zonal congresses and mini-convention is to hold elections into positions for those 16 members of the NWC that the report of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had indicated that their election did not meet the PDP election guidelines. 
Though the national chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, may not be affected after all by the resignation galore of other NWC members, it was gathered that the party’s 16 NWC members who will tender their resignation tomorrow at the NEC meeting, were those affected by the INEC report.

Insisting that he was not affected by the purge of NWC members, Tukur, who was at the State House, Abuja, yesterday, told reporters at the end of a one-hour meeting of the NWC with President Goodluck Jonathan, that he would not quit as speculated.
Others expected to retain their seats are the national financial secretary of the PDP and the national auditor.

However, a party source said that position of national secretary, whose position has been vacant following the removal of Chief Olagunsoye Oyinlola by a Federal High Court, would also contested at the mini-convention.

Tukur said all the eight people, including their deputies and the ex-officio members representing the south-west zone who were not voted for during the March 2012 convention are those that will be affected by the purge.

This exercise, the party chairman said, covered eight of the NWC officials and their deputies who will drop their portfolios and seek fresh mandates if they so wished.

Tukur, who was flanked by the National Publicity Secetary, Olisa Metuh, denied that he would be stepping down tomorrow, stating with a hint of irritation: “It is not true that I am resigning. Resign for what? It is not true at all. We are here to run the PDP and we have done so and we will continue to run the PDP.”

Metuh, who interjected as his principal was trying to explain himself, added: “It is not true the chairman is resigning. The chairman is not only in office, he is in power. In PDP, there is no vacancy in the national chairmanship.”

On the purpose of the meeting with the president, Tukur pointed out that the meeting was held to regularise the PDP family because of INEC’s observation.

“The meeting was about regularising the family of PDP because there was the INEC observation, some of the members of the NWC were not properly elected so it has to be regularised.

“Those who have not been elected will resign and they will go back, they will have the opportunity to regularise their positions as NWC members,” he said.
Differing with Tukur, however, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekwerenmadu, told correspondents at the close of their meeting with the president that the party was yet to reach a final decision on the issue of whether the chairman should resign or not.
Instead, he said the leadership of the party was still weighing its options while consulting with stakeholders with a view to moving forward.

“We are still consulting. In the evening, we are going to have a meeting of the national caucus of the party and look at all the options available to the party. We hope that by tomorrow or later this evening we will have a position of the PDP on this issue,” he said.
Saying that their meeting with the president was a “routine consultation”, Ekwerenmadu added: “But this one had to do with our party issues because we are of the same political party. It is essentially a party affair.”

On why only four leaders of the National Assembly attended the meeting, he said: “You know we are on break and some have travelled. But because of the consultations going on, some are on their way back. The speaker is on his way back to Abuja, the senate president ought to have travelled to China, he is also on his way back. He has changed his plans to come back.

“The senate leader is also on his way back from Calabar, the House leader is also on her way back. I am sure in the next one hour or two, they will all be back because we are on vacation and this meeting was quite impromptu. We have contacted all of them and they are all coming back.”

On whether the National Assembly was concerned about the PDP crises, he said: “Every family has their own issues, the PDP is no exception. The most important thing is our ability to resolve these issues and this is why you can see consultations going on. So I am hopeful that we will come out of the crises much more stronger.”

Confirming Ekweremadu’s position, a PDP source told THISDAY that governors were also divided over Tukur’s continued leadership of the party.

He said there were series of meetings yesterday among pro and anti-Tukur forces.
He maintained that despite the show of unity at the Presidential Villa yesterday, Tukur might still be forced to step down at the NEC meeting tomorrow.

Before the NEC meeting, however, the meeting of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party is expected to hold today to ratify some of the decisions taken at the national caucus meeting of the party that took place yesterday night in Abuja.
The INEC report had listed the election of 16 candidates whose election by affirmation had failed to comply with the party’s guidelines to include the Deputy National Chairman, Dr. Sam Sam Jaja; National Organising Secretary, Abubakar Mustapha; National Youth Leader, Alhaji Garba Chiza; Deputy National Youth Leader, Dennis Alonge Niyi; Deputy National Auditor, Senator Umar Ibrahim; Deputy National Women’s Leader, Hanatu Ulam; National Women’s Leader, Kema Chikwe; Deputy National Organising Secretary, Okechukwu Nnadozie; Deputy National Treasurer, Claudus Inengas; National Legal Adviser, Victor Kwom; National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh; and the Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Binta Goje, among others.

The report therefore listed the ballot cast at the convention as follows: National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur, total votes cast – 3248, votes scored – 3185; National Auditor, Bode Mustapha, total votes cast – 3183, total votes scored – 3005; Financial Secretary, Bolaji Anani, total votes cast - 3065, total votes scored – 2975; and the National Secretary, Oyinlola Olagunsoye, total votes cast - 3165, total votes scored - 306. The remaining four members of the NWC are those duly recognised by INEC.

Meanwhile, ahead of the NEC meeting tomorrow, Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum (PDP-GF), Governor Godswill Akpabio, yesterday met with all members of the PDP G.84 at the Akwa Ibom State governor’s lodge in Abuja.

The G.84 members of NEC are the voting members who usually vote en bloc at NEC meetings and determine the outcome of most contentious issues.

It was for this reason that Akpabio hosted them to a meeting in his lodge.
Also, the national caucus of the party rose from a one and half hour meeting with a resolution that the president will spearhead a high-powered ensemble to reconcile aggrieved members.

Akpabio disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, saying that the president will work assiduously as the father of the party to bring all together.
Akpabio, who said the suspension of his colleague, the Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi was brought before the caucus, noted that his recall by the party may have been stalled by fact that his case was still in court.

Although he did not mention who the members of the Jonathan-led reconciliation committee were, the Akwa Ibom State governor said the focus of the group will be to ensure that the party’s unity is not compromised.
In addition to the presidential committee, another committee that will raise guidelines that will be submitted to the NEC to steer its deliberations was raised by the caucus. It includes Akpabi, representatives of the party’s BoT and a host of others.

In a related development, the Gombe State government has protested news report that the state governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo, was absent at the Monday meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) led by Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State.

The Special Assistant to the governor on media and publicity, Juniad Usman, maintained that the governor was present, stating that he was the 17th governor at the meeting.

He said: “Gombe State Governor, Alhaji Dankwambo attended the second meeting of the Nigeria Governors' Forum (NGF) held on Monday 17th of June, 2013, at the NGF secretariat, Abuja.

“The meeting was chaired by the NGF Chairman, His Excellency Da David Jonah Jang, Governor of Plateau State. Governor Dankwambo was the 17th governor that attended the crucial NGF meeting.

“Recall that His Excellency Governor Dankwambo could not vote at the time of the election because he was away on a trip to Japan.”

Article Credit: Thisday Newspaper

Updated 6 Years ago

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