The internal strife within the Peoples Democratic Party deepened on Thursday with President Goodluck Jonathan’s intervention failing to pacify the PDP governors who are adamant in their resolve to remove their party’s National Chairman, Bamangar Tukur.
Jonathan’s three-hour meeting with the governors at the Villa on Thursday, sources confirmed to The PUNCH, failed to extract a commitment from the states’ chief executives to sheathe their swords in the battle against Tukur.
Myriads of assurances from party chieftains to the contrary notwithstanding, the governors were said to be bent on removing Tukur over his alleged meddling in the Adamawa PDP politics and unilateral dissolution of the executive council in the state chapter of the party.
Many members of the NWC, led by the Deputy National Chairman, Mr. Sam Jaja, had denounced and rescinded the dissolution of the Adamawa exco.
At the end of their meeting in the Federal Capital Territory on Wednesday evening, the governors had called for the immediate convening of the National Executive Committee meeting of the party as well as endorsed the decision of the NWC rescinding the dissolution of the PDP Adamawa State Executive.
Sources close to the Nigeria Governors’ Forum confided in our correspondents that the state chief executives were tired of Tukur, a second republic governor of old Gongola State, and that he must go.
Sensing that the governors, who are said to have influence on majority of members of the party’s NEC, could eventually have their way in sacking him, Tukur was said to have vowed that almost all the members of the NWC would go with him.
Tukur is seen as an appointee of the President, who foisted him on the party at its National Convention in Abuja in March, 2012.
The governors, especially those from the North-East, had voted for another aspirant, Dr. Musa Babayo, at their shadow election in Bauchi as the zone’s candidate, but the President insisted that he would only work with Tukur.
Since his emergence, Tukur has shown that he is ready to take revenge, especially against his home state governor, Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, for not wholeheartedly supporting his aspiration.
His sacking of the state executive committee of the party is being viewed by the governors as the President’s hidden agenda to take over the party’s structures in states whose governors are considered not friendly with either the President or the party’s chairman.
Already, Jonathan and the leadership of the PDP are said to be in dilemma over how to meet the demand of the party’s governors on the need to have a NEC meeting.
The last NEC meeting of the party was held in July 2012.
The NWC, especially Tukur and the President, are of the opinion that the governors, who control majority of NEC members, could use the opportunity to remove Tukur by passing a vote of no confidence in him.
The party has however, admitted that there is crisis in the party but said the crisis has been settled by its Board of Trustees.
A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the Party, Chief Olisa Metuh, said the PDP remained the only political party in the country where differences in the leadership of its various organs could be resolved within a record time
He said, “In a political party as large as the PDP, divergent opinions on issues are normal but in the ability of its leaders to resolve and find a common ground on such issues, dwells the strength and dynamism of such an organisation.
“In this instance, it is only in the PDP that misunderstandings are not just resolved but done in matter of hours.
“The National Working Committee of the PDP therefore wishes to commend the Board of Trustees of the party for proving its role as the conscience of the party.”
The statement added that the NWC members had already closed their ranks and that they remained united under the leadership of Tukur.
Jonathan had met with the members of the NWC on Wednesday in his effort to reunite the party said to be having crises on many fronts.
At the end of the governors’ meeting with Jonathan on Thursday, Chairman of the governors’ forum, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, was heard asking his colleagues to move from the Presidential Villa to an undisclosed venue within the FCT for further discussions.
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, who spoke to journalists after much pressure, described the wrangling within the party as normal “in a big party like the PDP.”
He, however, assured Nigerians that the issues would be resolved amicably.
Specifically on the Adamawa crisis, the governor expressed the conviction that the issue would be finally resolved by the time the Governor Sule Lamido-committee set up on the matter submits its report in about a week.
He said, “You know the PDP is a very large party. The party may have its own internal challenges; of course we have our own modus operandi: ways of resolving all these issues.
“Various committees have been set up from the Board of Trustees to the National Working Committee. I believe that at the end of the day, in the next one week, all those issues will be a thing of the past.”
When confronted with the report that the PDP governors were not happy with party’s chairman, Akpabio said, “There is nothing like the PDP governors not being happy. We identify with the party; we have confidence in the party and all the internal wranglings you are hearing are normal in any democracy.”
“The governors are happy with the party and we are sure that under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan, all the issues pertaining to the party will be resolved amicably and the party will come out stronger.”