The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, has boasted that President Goodluck Jonathan is not in a position to remove him from office.
He said since he was elected at a convention, he could only be removed through a properly conducted national convention.
Tukur was reacting to a rumour that he had been directed by the President to resign. He told journalists in Abuja on Monday that the rumour was being planted by those he described as being in the opposition.
He said, “I am an elected national chairman; I have my certificate of return and I cannot resign. A convention brought me; so it has to take the convention that brought me for me to resign.
“So, not even the President can ask me to resign. Remember, some members of the National Working Committee were asked to go recently because the election that brought them was flawed. So, Mr. President cannot tread that route again.”
Tukur also maintained that he had not been accused of breaching PDP’s constitution and that no one had successfully proved any allegation of wrongdoing against him.
But before he spoke, he had encountered an open rebellion by most members of the party’s NWC who shunned an emergency meeting summoned by him.
Tukur had arrived at the Wadata Plaza national secretariat of the PDP located at Zone Five in Abuja, early on Monday for the meeting, which he scheduled for 11am. He waited for hours before only four out of the 12 NWC members showed up.
The others, most of whom were within the secretariat stayed away, thus making it impossible for a quorum to be formed before the meeting could take place.
The botched emergency meeting was called by Tukur to review what transpired at the NWC members’ Thursday forum with Jonathan.
At the Thursday meeting, majority of the NWC members had accused the national chairman of running a one-man working committee.
Tukur was also accused of dissolving many state executive committees of the PDP and constituting many of the caretaker committees in such states without consulting other NWC members.
Jonathan was said to have expressed his displeasure with the style of the national chairman and asked him to respond to the many allegations raised against him.
There were unconfirmed allegations that a PDP governor was responsible for the NWC members’ rebellion against Tukur.
The governor, who was hitherto a close ally of Tukur, was said to have been angered when he and two of his colleagues were summoned to the Presidential Villa by the wife of the President, Mrs. Patience Jonathan. The President’s wife was said to have “decreed” to them that nothing should happen to Tukur.
It was learnt that even when the three governors presented a litany of “sins” allegedly committed by the national chairman, the President’s wife maintained her position on Tukur.
Our correspondent, who was at Wadata Plaza on Monday observed that a majority of the NWC members were within the premises but refused to attend the emergency meeting.
Only the National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo; the National Treasurer, Bala Buhari; and the National Auditor, Mr. Adewole Adeyanju, turned up for the aborted meeting with Tukur.
Tukur, Oladipo, Buhari and Adeyanju were therefore unable to proceed with the meeting because they didn’t form the needed quorum as stipulated in the party’s constitution.
Part V111 (4) of the PDP constitution says, “The quorum of the NWC meeting shall be two-thirds of membership drawn from at least two-thirds of the zones in the country and a simple majority shall pass any motion.”
Investigations by our correspondent showed that after waiting till 12:43pm, Tukur decided to call off the meeting. He left the secretariat around 12.46pm.
The national chairman refused to acknowledge greetings from security men and employees of the party while leaving.
However, as soon as he left,other national officers of the party, apart for the Deputy National Secretary, Mr. Solomon Onwe, met briefly.
Those in attendance were the Deputy National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus; the National Youth Leader, Abdulahi Mainasira; the National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh; the National Financial Secretary, Mr. Bolaji Anani; the National Organising Secretary, Alhaji Abubakar Mustapha, and the National Legal Adviser, Mr. Victor Kwon.
What they discussed was however unclear as none of them spoke with journalists.
Our correspondent however gathered that Tukur was pushing for the sack of the entire NWC .
If Tukur eventually resigns, his deputy would take over as stipulated in Chapter VI Section 45 (2) of the PDP constitution.
The section states, “In the case of the national chairman, he shall hand over to the deputy national chairman who shall, without prejudice to Section 45(6) of this constitution, act as the national chairman pending the election of a replacement.”
Section 45(6) says that other national officers are to tender their resignation to the party’s national secretary.
The National Caucus of the party is expected to meet on Tuesday (today), while its Board of Trustees will meet on Wednesday before the National Executive Committee will meet on Thursday.
The meetings are expected to deliberate on the party’s crises and the fate of Tukur.