The party chairman exonerated the presidency and PDP leadership from the Rivers crisis.
The National Chairman of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Bamanga Tukur, has described the failed attempt to impeach the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Otelemba Amachree, by five lawmakers as “an expression of one’s constitutional rights” on the part of the dissenting lawmakers.
Five lawmakers led by Evans Bipi had taken over the state’s House of Assembly on Tuesday in an attempt to impeach the Speaker, Otelemba Amachree, and gain control of the House. A violent altercation soon ensued leading to the hospitalisation of some of the lawmakers.
Mr. Tukur, fielding questions from reporters on Thursday at his residence in Yola, Adamawa, said that his party will not condone any act of indiscipline by any of its members. He stated that the party will investigate what transpired on Tuesday.
“I am yet to be briefed on what really happened in River State House of Assembly but my party will investigate the matter to put the record straight,” he said.
Mr. Tukur, however debunked insinuations of the involvement of the presidency and the party leadership in what he described as a show of shame displayed by Rivers lawmakers, saying the party will clear its name by setting precedence and disciplining any of its members who acts against the party constitution in their conducts.
“PDP is a family where big things are happening. The party is so large that a lot of things happened in it, the good, the bad and the ugly. Even in Japan, in the house of parliamentary they fight; in Britain, legislatives have their own issues. What has happened in River State has nothing to do with the leadership of the party or the presidency; it is purely a legislative affair. Notwithstanding, the party will investigate the matter if any of its members is found guilty of one thing or the other, the person will surely be disciplined,” he said.
He, however, noted that fighting in the legislative arm of government has become a culture in the country.
While responding to a question over the division in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, he said the NGF is not constitutionally backed but it merely served as a platform where governors socialise, adding that the governors are mature enough to handle issues relating to their social interrelationship.
Mr. Tukur explained that individuals have the constitutional right to express their views with decorum in line with the democratic tenets of freedom of expression.
“It baffled me when people blamed the presidency and leader of the PDP for the division in NGF. We cannot associate with an unconstitutional organisation where people wine and dine and we are not ready to intervene in their affairs,” he said.
He expressed optimism that his leadership style has yielded positive outcomes in his home state, Adamawa, pointing out that the leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, and former governor of the state, Boni Haruna, had returned to the party based on the sanity and confidence that are entrenched into the party and also Mr. Tukur’s reconciliatory approach.
“I have a programme of reconciliation, reformation, rebuilding which I believe is working because what happened yesterday (Thursday) in Adamawa State wouldn’t have happened if not for reconciliatory efforts; Haruna would not have returned to the party.”
He said his posture in reconciliatory moves has led to the scramble by many aggrieved party members in other states to stage a comeback to the PDP.
“See what happened in Nassarawa; the people that left us have returned back to the fold,” he said.
On the issue of the state of emergency imposed on Adamawa State, he said it was not politically motivated; stressing that it is a pure security issue. He, however, advised the people of the state to bear with the federal government for their own safety until the martial rule is over.
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