Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal had on Friday admitted that it would be difficult for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to win the 2015 general elections without the seven state governors who broke away from the party during its mini-convention in Abuja last month.
Tambuwal in an address entitled “Leadership in Developing Democracies: A Nigerian Perspective”, which he delivered at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC, said that some Niger Delta militants who had been threatening bloodshed in the country if President Goodluck Jonathan loses out in 2015 presidential election were being politically motivated by some top politicians in government.
He also said, “Definitely what happened on that convention day is going to influence the turn of events in 2015, especially if the PDP is not able to manage its internal crisis and return those seven governors to the main fold of the party. The challenges that the PDP faces now is how the leadership of Bamanga Tukur will address the points being raised by the aggrieved governors. The agitation is that the leadership of the PDP should allow freedom and aspirations to come out freely so that those that feel strong for some particular positions should be allowed to contest without being hindered.
“So, it is up to the group that is led by Bamanga Tukur to appreciate the implication and the consequence of that action that was taken by the faction that broke away from the party at the mini convention. Tukur must understand what the action of those seven governors will cost the PDP before the 2015 elections, and failure to do that; I am afraid… and if we allow that particular group, from what we can see, either to go and form another political party since they are working together or go and join the merger and possibly increase the strength of the newly formed All Progressives Congress (APC), the PDP being led by Bamanga Tukur will have a very strong formidable force coming up against it in 2015.”
Tambuwal continued, “The challenge for the Tukur-led PDP is to go and find every means to pacify and bring the seven governors and their people back into the main PDP fold because if you lose just one state, it can be very costly not to talk of seven states, and of those seven, there is Kano that is having a very strong voting population in Nigeria; there is Rivers, and there is also Niger State. They are not states like Nassarawa, Ebonyi or Bayelsa. These seven states are the ones that have significant voting strength and I believe that PDP needs to be more careful in handling this very delicate situation.”
He told the audience that it had been one problem after the other in the PDP since Tukur came into office as the party’s national chairman. “First, he started with Adamawa, his home state, and it is clear that it was because he is having his own son in mind to succeed the present governor of the state. Same is happening in some of the states where some of his allies are having interests in who becomes the next governors.”
Tambuwal explained that apart from governors Rotimi Amaechi, Babangida Aliyu, Sule Lamido, Murtala Nyako, Rabiu Kwakwanso, Abdulfatah Ahmed and Aliyu Wammako who broke away from the ruling party, other governors are uncomfortable with the leadership style of Tukur.
On the Boko Haram menace, the speaker said, “We are doing everything humanly possible to address the insurgence before the next election. We have mapped out strategies on how to combat terrorism. Before 2015, we should be able to have enough degree of peace in the North-East for us to be able to conduct elections in the area. That is why the government had to declare a state of emergency, and from the reports we have been receiving, the problem of terrorism is going down in the area.”