Tukur will not go, Jonathan will contest 2015 presidential poll, Presidency insists.
President Goodluck Jonathan may have finally agreed to sacrifice the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Bamanga Tukur, in order to achieve the peaceful resolution of the festering crisis within the ruling party.
Mr. Jonathan was said to have yielded to the demands of the seven aggrieved governors of the party, with whom he met last Sunday night, to withdraw his support for Mr. Tukur and remove him from the position.
But the Presidency later insisted on Monday that Mr. Tukur would not quit his position because the party’s constitution stipulated processes for the removal or resignation of a chairman.
It also said that nobody could stop Mr. Jonathan from exercising his constitutional right to contest the 2015 presidential election.
The governors – Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Musa Kwankwaso (Kano), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers) and Abdufatah Ahmed (Kwara), all of who belong to the “New PDP” met with the president and some governors loyal to him, at the Presidential Villa to seek ways of resolving the crisis in the party
Joined by a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and other chieftains of the PDP, the governors had floated the “New PDP” last August 31, while the Special National Convention of the ruling party was in progress.
Before now, five of the governors visited some leaders and elder statesmen in the country during which they canvassed the resignation of the national chairman who they described as “incompetent.”
While the governors’ campaign was on, Mr Tukur himself kicked against the calls for his removal, insisting that he was in the party to render patriotic service to the country.
Sources at the Sunday’s meeting told PREMIUMTIMES that the one of the conditions given to Mr Jonathan by the aggrieved governors at the trouble-shooting meeting, was that Mr. Tukur should be relieved of his position.
Other issues canvassed at the meeting were that the President should drop his 2015 presidential ambition and that he should restrain the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from going after governors.
It was gathered that Mr Jonathan, who was accompanied to the talks by Governors Liyel Imoke of Cross River, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, Idris Wada of Kogi States as well as the Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, Tony Anenih, agreed in principle to get the national chairman out with a view to achieving early resolution of the crisis in the party.
The president also agreed to restore the Adamawa State PDP executive committee loyal to Mr Nyako. The governor’s faction is headed by Mijinyawa Kugama while the committee loyal to Mr Tukur, an indigene of the state, is led by Joel Madaki.
Meanwhile, the Presidency said on Monday that Mr Tukur would not lose his position despite the demand by the governors for his removal.
Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak, who stated in an interview with journalists in Abuja, said the constitution of the ruling party had already stipulated the criteria for the removal of its chairmen.
Mr Gulak, who was not at the Sunday night meeting, was fielding questions from journalists on the outcome of the reconciliation meeting between the president and the aggrieved governors.
He argued that the call for the removal of the PDP chairman was not in line with due process.
“The national chairman has no problem; he was elected and I always say that as there are processes for election, there are processes for removal or resignation,” the presidential aide said.
“So nobody can cajole anybody to say the national chairman will not survive. Nobody is against the national chairman.”
Mr. Gulak also said that Mr Jonathan had never interfered with the investigations of the EFCC, insisting that as an independent agency it was wrong for anyone to feel the president would direct it to investigate anybody, including the governors.
“I have said it before that 2015, national chairman, EFCC, these are the three demands and we have to be guided by the constitution. The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, has given Mr. President the right to offer himself for second term if he so chooses and nobody whether individual or group can abridge his constitutional right.
“If he decides not to contest let it be on his own volition not because he is intimidated or cajoled into doing that.
“Secondly, about EFCC, I have said it before and will say it again, Mr. President will never ask such an independent body not to carr out their job or statutory function.
“The third is about national chairman and I have said he emerged through the process of election and his removal is also guided by constitutional provisions”.
On speculations that the President had commenced moves to appoint replacement of the nine ministers fired last week, Mr Gulak noted that the President had the power to hire and fire and would send nominations of candidates who he find fit to work with him in achieving the transformation agenda, to the Senate from the various states to fill the vacancies.
The Special Adviser insisted there was no faction in the PDP, but that there were only aggrieved people.
He also debunked the allegation by the “New” PDP” that its National Treasurer, Tanko Gwamna was forced to resign by the Presidency, saying “there was even no national treasurer as far as we are concerned. The National Treasurer of the party is Accountant Bala Buhari. That is the man we elected at Eagles Square on the 31st of August”.
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