The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said on Thursday that the ages of its National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Tony Anenih do not negatively impact on the party’s progress, but that the two men have contributed immensely to the development, peace and progress of Nigeria.
The ruling party stated this in a statement by the office of its National Chairman and signed by his media aide, Oliver Okpala, in reaction to a recent remark by E.O Chukwuma, an Anglican Bishop of Enugu, who described Messrs Tukur and Anenih as too old to be in politics.
The clergyman also asked them to quit politics in order to pave way for the young people.
Both Messrs Tukur and Anenih are over 70 years.
The party, which specifically defended Mr Tukur’s position, said God had used the national chairman to bless Nigeria abundantly, adding that he was not in politics to make money but to serve the people.
“God uses all persons both young and old to bless His people. It is therefore beyond dispute that God has blessed our Nation abundantly through the good work and activities of Alhaji Dr Bamanga Tukur, the National Chairman of PDP. He should know that Alhaji Bamanga Tukur is not in politics to make money,” the party said.
The party asked the clergyman to realize that Mr. Tukur had over the years made his name and contributed to the stability and peace the country enjoys today having served it in different capacities.
It added that the national chairman had decided to use his wealth of experience and knowledge to move Nigeria forward and to impact on the wisdom of her senior citizens, stressing that there was no country in the world that dispenses with such experiences.
It said, “He should realize that Dr. Bamanga Tukur has over the years made his name and contributed to the stability and peace we enjoy today in Nigeria having served Nigeria in different outstanding capacities.
“He is in politics as a patriot, nationalist and elder statesman who have decided to use his wealth of experience and knowledge to move this Country forward and to impact wisdom and knowledge to the younger generation.
“There is no country in the world which dispenses with the experience, knowledge and wisdom of her Senior Citizens. On the contrary the Elder Statesmen are respected, revered, honoured and appreciated.
“Nelson Mandela is a case in point as he has been honoured and respected at home and abroad even as a nonagenarian. Nobody has written him off as a dead wood simply because he is old and sick.”
The PDP berated Mr Chukwuma over his comments, saying they were not only careless but also suggested ignorance, hatred and absolute lack of knowledge of the rudiments of politics.
“It therefore behoves on us to correct this wrong impression especially coming from an Anglican Communion Bishop whose statements bother on falsity implicit on careless utterances portraying him as a politician in the cassock of a Reverend,” the ruling party stressed.
“Clearly, these comments attributed to the Bishop are absolute hogwash and absolute nonsense by referring to the two elder statesmen who have contributed immensely to the development, peace and progress of this country as too old to be in politics.
“The bishop has revealed by his utterances against the two elder statesmen an innate hatred for them yet, the Bible which ought to be the fulcrum and pivot of Bishop Chukwuma’s religion as a man of God abhors and condemn hatred. The Bible even teaches us further that one should love his neighbour like himself.”
“It is therefore amazing and bizarre that a man of God like Bishop Chukwuma who recently met and danced off his 24 years episcopacy should cash off his cassock to descend into the political fray. Respect for elders is part of our African heritage and tradition. Therefore, a supposed man of God who has no respect for elders is not worth his calling and shouldn’t have made those unguided statements.
“It is not a crime to be old because in the Bible, God used old people such as Abraham, Sarah and David to manifest His goodness and greatness. At 50 years, Bishop Chukwuma himself is not exactly a spring chicken. His utterances therefore are a clear manifestation of a man who does not practice or abide by what he preaches.”
The party appealed to the authorities of Anglican Church to call Mr. Chukwuma to order, saying, “We finally entreat the Primate and metropolitan of the Anglican Communion in Nigeria, Rt. Rev. Nicholas Okoh to order and restrain Bishop Chukwuma from further tarnishing the image of the Anglican Communion and her priests in Nigeria.”