President Goodluck Jonathan has come under intense pressure from close associates to “do something urgent” about the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bamanga Tukur, whose efforts to reconcile warring party members failed last week.
Although the national leadership of the PDP described the reconciliation initiative as “successful,” Presidential strategists are said to be uncomfortable with its outcome.
Our source, a close ally of Jonathan, described the Tukur-driven process as “poorly-managed and more worrisome.”
It was unclear as at press time if the President’s men would push for Tukur’s resignation, as a question in that direction was not answered directly.
“No one is bigger than the PDP; no sacrifice is too much to save PDP,” the source added.
But the Presidency denied on Wednesday that Jonathan was under pressure to tinker with the leadership of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.
This is coming just as the PDP also dismissed speculations that the Tukur-led NWC was jittery over the outcome of the reconciliation exercise.
Poor attendance, boycott and complacency on the part of majority of the PDP Governors marred the tour embarked upon by the NWC in the six zones.
The grand finale of the peace efforts at the International Conference Centre in Abuja was shunned by 20 PDP Governors.
The denial by both Tukur and Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Godswill Akpabio, notwithstanding, the source said the absence of majority of the Governors was troubling.”
“You should know that the PDP is a large family and everybody wants to be part of it; so to expect such a large house to continue without crisis is like asking for the moon. But to be honest with you, the last outing was poorly managed.
“Initially, we thought some of the Governors were merely stubborn and heady, but the last event, which they were all expected to attend but boycotted is worrisome and it cannot be allowed to continue like this; something will definitely be done to avert disaster.
“From what we have heard so far, they (Governors) are not fighting the President, they are only at loggerheads with the chairman; under such a situation, hope is not lost at all because it is easy to sort out,” the source said.
He added that feelers from the meetings between Chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), Tony Anenih, and some of the Governors indicated that all they wanted was for Tukur to convene a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party to iron out their differences.
Anenih has already met with Governors Sule Lamido (Jigawa) and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano).
The last time the PDP held its NEC meeting was in July last year.
All the same, Political Adviser to the President, Ahmed Ali Gulak, said the report of pressure on his boss was unfounded.
“It is an unfounded report; you should know that this is the time people peddle all manner of stories and rumours to cause confusion where there is none.
But National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, declined to talk on the issue.
However, Niger State Governor, Mua’zu Babangida Aliyu, who is also Chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF) reiterated on Wednesday the commitment of PDP Governors to remain loyal to the ideals of the party, although he warned that he and some other party faithful should not be pushed out on the grounds of emerging trends.
He spoke during a visit to him by Anenih.
Aliyu has been at the forefront, agitating for power shift to the North in 2015, as he has repeatedly reminded Jonathan of alleged agreement between him and Governors not to re-contest.
Contrary to popular perception that some PDP Governors were planning to jump ship over the storm in the ruling party, Aliyu said “none of us is leaving the party.”
“It will be lousy for any Governor elected on the PDP platform to leave the party simply because of some emerging political challenges,” Aliyu told his guest.
Anenih, in his remarks, told his host that he and his team were in Niger State to consult with the PDP leaders and to discuss honestly with them on how to move the party forward, as according to him, “The PDP umbrella is large enough to give all enough shelter.”