In what is clearly a presidential public show of support for the aspiration of former governor of old Gongola State, Bamanga Tukur, to be the next chirman of the Peoples Democratic Party, President Goodluck Jonathan Monday met with governors of states in the North-east geopolitical zone alongside Mr. Tukur.
But even after the meeting the governor of Mr. Tukur home state of Adamawa, Murtala Nyako, refused to give any public endorsement to the aspiration of the chairmanship aspirant.
Shortly after emerging from the meeting, reporters sought to know from the governor why he was at the villa and his stand on Mr. Tukur.
In his response, Mr. Nyako said he and the other governors were at the villa on the invitation of the president “who is the leader of the party and reserves the right to support who he feels is the right position to lead the party.”
On Mr. Tukur, the governor simply retorted, “Ask Mr. President now, it is his decision, why are you asking me, am I not a small man from Adamawa?”
Mr. Nyako however said he was obligated to support whatever the president supports as a loyal member of the party.
“You know Mr. President is the leader of the party in the country , just like me in Adamawa state, I am the leader of the party in my state and when it comes to the question of top leadership of the party in my state, definitely I should consider certain things,” the governor said.
“The question is who the President wants, whoever the President wants, we should support, just like in my state, they should concede to me who I should like to see in the leadership of the party. The person should be somebody who is electable, who is marketable, somebody who the voters can vote for in the primary.”
Mr. Nyako said he was in support of the concensus initiative being pushed by the presidency and a cross section of the party leadership as according to him, it would save cost and foster unity within the party.
“It is only better than to go and get 2/3 majority, it is not easy so this consensus adds to the unity of the party and also it is easier for us and less costly,” he said.
All efforts by reporters to get a categorical statement from the governor over the candidature of Mr. Tukur failed.
When asked whether Bamanga Tukur is the candidate he wants to lead the party, Mr. Nyako said; “That is a very difficult decision to make.”
On his part, Mr. Tukur told journalists that like the governors, he too was summoned to the villa, adding however that he is relying more on his ability to convince delegates to vote for him during the party’s convention on March 24 than on any other factor.
“Our party will take a decision at the Eagle Square,” he said. “For the people to back me, I will tell them what I am doing. Now I am going to Makurdi after this meeting.”
The former governor however said he preferred going into election than emerging chairman through concensus because according to him, “ the more, the merrier.”
“It is competition. It is good. We want to deepen democracy. Everybody who believes they have solution or improvement for our party, let them come,” he said.
Those who also attended the meeting were the governors of Bauchi, Taraba, Gombe and Adamawa, as well as the Political Adviser to the President, Ahmed Gulak, who is also from Adamawa state.
The position of the national chairman has been zoned to the North-east and notable party stalwarts from the region who have expressed interest in the position are Mr. Tukur include, a former senator and presidential adviser, Abba Aji, current national secretary of the party, Musa Babayo, former ministers, Shettima Mustapha, Ibrahim Bunu and Idris Waziri.
A former governor of Bauchi State, Adamu Muazu, is also angling for the position.