•Governors will kill this party –Iwuanyanwu
From TAIWO AMODU, Abuja
Even as last minute efforts by President Goodluck Jonathan saved the embattled National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, from being removed, the last has not been heard on the cold war between him and the governor of his home state, Adamawa, Murtala Nyako, and by extension the PDP Governors Forum.
The Governors Forum is the umbrella association of the 27 governors on the party’s platform, with Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, as chairman. Sunday Sun investigation revealed that the intervention of President Jonathan and some members of the party’s Board of Trustees last Wednesday only calmed frayed nerves, the combatants would soon return to the trenches.
Twenty-one out of the 27 governors had met at the Rivers State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, on Wednesday night after the meeting at the Presidential Villa, where President Goodluck Jonathan successfully brokered a peace meeting between members of the PDP and the National Working Committee NWC. In attendance to discuss with PDP governors after the peace meeting at the Presidential Villa was former Osun State governor and National Secretary of the party, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola.
A communiqué issued by PDP governors at the end of their meeting, and signed by Rotimi Amaechi, endorsed the position taken on the Adamawa crisis by other members of the PDP’s NWC. According to the communiqué, the governors also “re-affirm their recognition of the Kugama-led executive lawfully elected in March 2012 and endorsed by the national convention.’’
Deputy National Chairman of the party, Dr Sam Jaja, had led nine other members of the party’s NWC into an emergency meeting while their beleaguered chairman was at the Presidential Villa, preparing for the botched Board of Trustees election. At the end of the meeting, Dr Jaja had announced the reinstatement of the Adamawa State chapter of the party executive earlier dissolved by Alhaji Mijinyawa Kugama without Tukur’s knowledge.
While the Adamawa impasse was the immediate cause of the anti-Tukur posturing by the governors, Sunday Sun findings revealed that the PDP governors were not comfortable with his reconciliatory moves to bring back those they viewed as dissidents, who would ultimately challenge their authority as leaders of the party in their respective domain.
A Sunday Sun source declared that even the NWC was divided over Alhaji Tukur’s approach to reconciliation, as they called his attention to the governors’ body language on the issue. “He was ready to call the governors’ bluff.” Tukur’s argument was that every member of the party, whether president, governor or senator is subordinate to the party and the party is supreme.
The governors aren’t comfortable with that. “If you recall, two serving governors, first, the Plateau governor, Jonah Jang, and Abia governor, Theodore Orji, stormed the party’s national secretariat last year to protest Tukur’s reconciliation agenda aimed at prevailing on aggrieved members to return to the party,’’ Sunday Sun source noted.
In a veiled reference to the former governor of Plateau State, Joshua Dariye, Governor Jang had told members of the PDP’s NWC not to contemplate bringing back those who left the party to team up with opposition forces to return, but should allow them to stay back to strengthen opposition parties in Plateau.
Abia governor, Theodore Orji, had equally stormed Wadata Plaza last year in company of all serving senators and members of the House of Representatives from Abia State to dissuade the party from allowing Orji Kalu’s return to PDP. But a chieftain of the party and former aspirant for the office of PDP national chairman, Chief Chya Iwuanyanwu, has raised the alarm that the PDP Governors Forum would kill the party and ultimately truncate democracy.
Speaking with Sunday Sun at the weekend, Iwuanyanwu in a wake-up call advised elders of the party to initiate an internal party mechanism to curb what he called excesses of the governors. “There is need for internal mechanism by the party to check the performance of the governors.
“I had already said it in 2008 that the greatest enemy of democracy in this country is the Governors’ Forum; that organization is illegal and should be disbanded. It is a gang up of people with a lot of money, and with money in Nigeria you can do anything. They chose the national chairman, they chose everything, even the president is one of them, the vice-president is one of them. So, the democracy we have today has been hijacked by an organization called the Governors Forum.’’