BY JOHN ALECHENU, IHUOMA CHIEDOZIE, KAMARUDEEN OGUNDELE AND OLALEKAN ADETAYO
The Presidency on Sunday dismissed the reported insistence of five northern governors on the sack of the Peoples Democratic Party National Chairman, Dr. Bamanga Tukur.
The governors — Muritala Nyako (Adamawa), Rabiu Kwankanso (Kano), Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), and Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto) —had on Saturday met with President Goodluck Jonathan on issues that included the political impasse in Rivers State and the crisis in the PDP.
They were quoted to have told the President that only Tukur’s exit would guarantee peace in the party.
But Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak, told one of our correspondents that the governors ought to know that Jonathan alone could not remove Tukur since he (Tukur) was a product of an election.
According to him, it amounts to political immaturity for the governors to “ambush” the President and ask him to sack the PDP chairman.
Though he admitted that he did not attend the meeting, Gulak said the governors’ reported position was not the right line of negotiation.
Gulak said, “It is political immaturity for the governors to ask the President to sack Alhaji Tukur. That is not supposed to be the line of negotiation. When you go for a negotiation, all cards must be on the table.
“You can’t go and ambush the President and ask him to sack somebody that was elected at a national convention of the party.
“As senior members of the party, the governors know that Tukur is a product of election. The President can’t sack him alone. That will not be proper.
“There are processes stipulated in the PDP constitution for officers to be removed from office and they (governors) are aware of the procedure.”
The PUNCH learnt on Sunday in Abuja that the five governors also demanded fresh elections into all the positions in the party’s National Working Committee.
They were said to have told Jonathan that having a fresh set of members in the NWC would go a long way in rejuvenating the peace process.
Two of the five governors, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed these to the correspondent.
One of them said “We want the President to support our position that all the offices in the NWC should be declared vacant; to allow for fresh elections.’’
The 12 offices in the NWC are national chairman, deputy national chairman, national secretary, deputy national secretary, national treasurer, national financial secretary, national organising secretary, national publicity secretary, national auditor, national legal adviser, national woman leader and national youth leader.It was gathered that Nyako complained about his continued isolation from the affairs of the party, especially in his state.
A source close to the meeting said, “He (Nyako) told the President that he was left with no choice but to speak out after several attempts to get the party to see reason over the issue( his isolation) failed.
“The governor also accused Tukur of high- handedness and undue interference in the affairs of the state chapter of the party.”
It was learnt that the governors also expressed displeasure that certain individuals, who were openly hostile to them were being given positions of responsibility within the scheme of things in the PDP.
Another governor, who spoke with one of our correspondents, said Kwankwaso was aggrieved because no one either from the Presidency or the PDP had contacted him to find out how the state was faring after the terrorist attacks which claimed many lives in the state.
However, the Chairman of the PDP ‘Special Convention, Prof. Jerry Gana, has said the party will continue to survive in spite of its many challenges.
He stated this while fielding questions from journalists at the public presentation of three books written by the Head, Department of European Languages, University of Lagos, Prof. Jide Timothy-Asobele, in Abuja.
Gana, who recalled that five major groups came together to form the PDP, said when “people see a little bit of crisis in PDP, they think it is going to die.”
He appealed to Nigerians to use public offices to serve humanity, adding that, “We should come together to make progress; we must not rig elections and we must allow the people to speak. That is the essence of democracy”.
Meanwhile, an Abuja High Court will today(Monday) hear an amended motion in which some members of the PDP are insisting on the sack of Tukur and the acting members of the PDP NWC
The PDP members want the court to compel the party to conduct fresh elections into all the offices in the committee.
The court, presided by Justice Suleiman Belgore, had on Thursday ordered the party to refrain from conducting a special national convention slated for August 31, 2013.
The court however refused to restrain Tukur from serving as the national chairman. It also declined to sack the acting members of the NWC.
The plaintiffs, through their counsel, Jibrin Okutepa, told the court that “the resignation of other members of the NWC of PDP have incurably affected the election and the continued stay in office of the National Chairman of the PDP.”
They noted that, “It is in the interest of justice to order fresh election in the national offices of the PDP as specified in article 29 (1) (a) – (b) (d) ((h) and (j) (l) of the constitution of PDP by empowering the NEC of PDP to do so.”