For peace and genuine reconciliation to reign in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the state governors have given four conditions which President Goodluck Jonathan and the party’s stakeholders must embrace.
Specifically, the PDP governors are demanding for the removal of the National Chairman of the party, Dr. Bamanga Tukur, and dissolution of the National Working Committee, NWC.
Also, the governors want a commitment that the existing state executives of the PDP will not be dissolved before the 2015 elections. As part of the demand, the governors want to be given a free hand in installing their successors.
More importantly, the governors want assurance of safety nets; that they will not be harassed and prosecuted after leaving office in 2015.
No fewer than 16 of the 23 PDP governors would be leaving office in 2015 after serving out two terms of four years each.
Most Nigerian governors after completing their terms have faced a raft of corruption cases brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC.
A member of the reconciliation committee led by the party’s BoT chairman, Chief Tony Anenih, told National Mirror at the weekend that these were the aggregate views of the governors.
“In the last few days, we have met some governors, who were very frank about their reservations with the PDP. We have met with about five of the governors and the general consensus among them is that Tukur must go for peace to reign in PDP.
“The governors also gave conditions such as allowing them to pick their successors in the 2015 election. The issue of life after 2015 is another major factor. They want assurance that the government would not prosecute them after leaving office,” the source said.
Another highly placed source said that the governors are not bending on their opposition to Tukur. According to him, they can’t trust the national chairman.
“If the governors can’t have control over their state party executives, then they are finished. So, they must fight it out. This is what is happening now,” the source said.
Even after Anenih and Governor Babangida Aliyu held a closed-door meeting last week, the Niger State Governor said Tukur remains PDP’s biggest headache.
Impeccable sources told National Mirror that President Jonathan is giving the dissolution of the Tukurled NWC serious thought.
Already, associates and aides of the President, who are keen on his return in the 2015 elections are rooting for Tukur’s exit to bring the governors and other stakeholders on board of the Jonathan’s project.
A source also said that one of the reasons Jonathan’s aides are advancing for the dissolution of the NWC was that the composition of the national executives does not favour the President.
Until the removal of the National Secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and National Auditor, Bode Mustapha, former President Olusegun Obasanjo allegedly had six members of the 12-member NWC in his camp. The Deputy National Chairman, Dr. Sam Jaja, is the candidate of Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State while the National Organising Secretary is the nominee of Vice-President Namadi Sambo.
The relationship between the Presidency and Tukur has since last week gone sour. A source in the Presidency told National Mirror that President Jonathan is unhappy over Tukur’s comments on the state of insecurity in the country.
In an interview with journalists, Tukur had declared that Nigeria is under siege.
He had said: “Today, there is fear everywhere, churches are being burnt, mosques are being attacked, United Nations building bombed, motor parks are being bombed, people cannot go to motor parks again to travel for the fear of being attacked, security installations such as police stations, prisons are being burnt down and inmates released at will, nobody knows the next target of attack.
“Surely our nation is under siege. It is not the question of PDP, ACN, CPC or any political party or any religion, the truth is that Nigeria is under siege therefore all of us must come together and face this challenge.
“It is not about the PDP or President Goodluck Jonathan; this is a matter that should be of concern to everybody irrespective of political, ethnic or religious affiliations. The opposition, labour movement, religious leaders, traditional rulers, name it; we all have to come to fight the evil that is now manifesting everywhere in our land, those perpetuating this evil are within us in the society, it is not a matter of Mr. President or the PDP-led Federal Government alone.”
The Presidency sees this as an indictment on the Jonathan administration.
“The development is a source of worry for the President. Initially, he was not given in to the call for Tukur’s removal, but now President Jonathan is weighing the options. There is now 50-50 chance for Tukur’s removal,” the source said.
It was learnt that some close political associates of the President are already searching for the successor to Tukur. Initially, Ambassador Hassan Adamu was being considered by the president but the age factor has disqualified him. The Presidency is searching for a competent and experienced administrator with vast political experience from the North East as Tukur’s replacement,” a source close to the President said.
It was learnt that two options are left for Tukur. One, he may honourably resign before the mid-term convention or be removed at the convention in 2014.
“That is if he survives a vote of no confidence that may be passed on him at the National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting which he has refused to call. Any time the NEC is called, the governors may finally move against the Tukur-led NWC,” a source said.
A senior member of the PDP told our correspondent that the mid-term convention may hold earlier to change the party’s leadership.
But the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, said he was unaware of the plot to sack the party’s NWC. “I’m completely unaware of this plan. It is uncalled for. These reports are being sponsored. It is a coordinated attack on the leadership of the party. But there is no truth in it,” Metuh told National Mirror yesterday.