Monday, January 13, 2014

Tukur panics, seeks deputy national leaders’ support


National Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur
The National Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, on Sunday met with the deputy national officers of the party and begged them to help him retain his position.
At the meeting, Tukur urged them to support him during the January 16 National Executive Council meeting of the PDP.
One of the deputy national leaders, who attended the meeting, said that Tukur expressed his anger over the attitude of many of the members of the NWC toward his leadership.
He said that the national chairman was embittered that the national officers had pitched tent with his political enemies.
Tukur was said to have told them that this was why he did not want some of the national officers to return to their positions during the last mini convention of the party in Abuja.
He claimed that from the way the national chairman spoke it was clear that he was no longer sure of what would happen to him.
The source said, “We held the meeting at his residence where the chairman asked for our understanding and begged us to support him by lobbying for him ahead of the January 16 NEC meeting.
”It was disheartening listening to him because he felt he had done his best for the party and President Goodluck Jonathan who he believed might be under immense pressure to stop backing him.
”But we are not members of the NWC and it will be difficult for us to help him settle the rift among the NWC members, who are also our seniors in party hierarchy in the country.”
When contacted, the Media Assistant to Tukur, Mr. Oliver Okpala, said he was not aware of the meeting.
Okpala also described what was happening in the PDP as part of politics.
He dismissed claims that the national chairman was the problem of the party
Okpala said, “ Dr. Tukur is not and can never be the problem of the PDP. This is a party he has worked tirelessly to build; he cannot join those who want to destroy it.
“What is happening now is part of politics but I can assure you that the PDP has internal mechanisms to deal with issues and we will come out of this crisis a bigger and stronger party.”
Also, the Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Mr. Ahmed Gulak, said the party elders were looking into all party affairs to resolve the perceived crisis.
Gulak expressed the belief that the party would emerge stronger by the time the issues were finally settled.
”Party elders are looking into the party affairs. It cannot be described as crisis really but I am sure that they will be resolved and the party would emerge stronger thereafter,” he said.
Meanwhile, the NWC has explained that the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Godswill Akpabio, was not the sponsor of what they told the President at their meeting with him on Thursday night.
A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh, in Abuja on Saturday evening, exonerated Akpabio from the crisis rocking the party.
The statement reads , “We wish to state unequivocally that the NWC is not divided and members are not in any way influenced by any person whatsoever in presenting their positions at the meeting with the President.
“For the avoidance of doubt, all members of the NWC took turns to make their presentations to the President in the meeting which dwelt on the domestic affairs of our party. No member was in anyway represented and none aired his or her view in represented capacity.
”The PDP stakeholders forum salutes former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s decision and urges him to remain committed in the struggle to rescue Nigeria and provide a platform to breed competent leadership which will rescue Nigeria from disintegration.”
Meanwhile, President Jonathan is said to be in a dilemma on how to resolve the crises rocking the PDP.
Investigations by The PUNCH in Abuja on Sunday, indicated that Jonathan was worried by the crises but was unsure of the best way of finding permanent solutions to them.
It was gathered that the President’s dilemma was compounded by the letter written by Obasanjo to Tukur.
In the letter, Obasanjo informed Tukur of his intention to stay away from PDP’s activities at all levels if a financier of the party in the South-West, Alhaji Buruji Kasamu, was not removed.
Although the President was said to have commenced a subtle search for Tukur’s replacement, the  intervention of his wife, Patience, might play a role in determining his fate.
Tukur was said to have asked Patience to intercede for him and prevail on the President not to succumb to pressures to ease him out of office.
Apart from reaching out to the President’s wife , Tukur was said to be asking some PDP governors and presidential aides to save him.
However, a presidential source, told one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity, that Jonathan had been convinced that Tukur’s removal was the best option.

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