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Sunday, 28 July 2013

Presidency to govs: Jonathan alone can’t sack Tukur

 BY JOHN ALECHENU, IHUOMA CHIEDOZIE, KAMARUDEEN OGUNDELE AND OLALEKAN ADETAYO 


PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur
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.”
Punch

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