From TAIWO AMODU, Abuja
Alhaji Bamanga Tukur penultimate week celebrated his one year in office as national chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, [PDP].
The man who has survived several onslaughts from his governors to ease him out of Wadata Plaza insists that he enjoys good working relationship with PDP governors.
He also enunciates his vision for the party and the challenges of reconciliation of aggrieved members. He spoke with newsmen at his residence in Abuja. Daily Sun was there.
Your Excellency, you just clocked one year in office as Chairman of the PDP. You have just returned from a reconciliatory tour. What would you identify as the major landmark of your one year in office and what would you also identify as the major breakthrough of this your reconciliation tour?
What I would say, was my template when I came in which I keep repeating was our twelve point agenda. I give you the triple Rs’, which is reconciliation, reformation and rebuilding. I give you the triple E: environment sustainability, education and energy security.
The third is triple D, which is defense, dialogue and diplomacy. The remaining three is the consequences, if we do what we pledged to do and accepted by our people. If you reconcile, you get peace, you get security, you get investment.
So, they are all like concentric circles, they are all working together.
No, what did I find? I found out that yes, our people are still on the ground with their party; I found out that they are patient and they understood what is happening and they voiced it out. They voiced out about insecurity, they voiced out about economy.
Because the idea of having the three ‘E’ is that, as I told you, if you educate your people, they take care of the element of this environment, the environment sustainability I am talking about, I am talking about also three things : land, water and people that is God given to every nation on this earth. But if you give them education, they will take care of this element; they will turn water to hydro and get energy, they can cut wood, boil water and get energy, but ultimately through education.
Your reconciliation tour, some of us were worried when we learnt that in spite of the massive turnout, some governors and some ministers boycotted, particularly in the north-central zone where no single governor came. At the Abuja grand finale, most of the governors didn’t turn up. What is really happening?
Well, we gave them short notice, I was even pleasantly surprised at the turnout at all the zones, because of the short notice given to them. There was no single governor who didn’t get in touch with us for one reason or the other why he couldn’t make it. Some of them were represented by their deputies. Really, it isn’t true that they didn’t come because they didn’t believe in reconciliation. They approved of it.
On the Abuja rally, we met with some of them at the zonal rallies. If we met in Bauchi, certainly why should you come for the final rally?
If you come, we thank you but if you didn’t come, maybe you didn’t believe in the repetition of what happened in your state. So, I can categorically tell you no governor of PDP is averse to reconciliation. No.
At every zone, the major issues were different: in south-west it was internal democracy; in south-east, it was marginalization. In South-south, it was lack of internal democracy and poverty. In the North-east, it was internal democracy and allegation that ministers don’t relate well with party men.
So, having heard from them, what is the next line of action?
Well, first of all you cannot solve a problem unless you know the problem exists. We are very happy, as I told you that they were being frank. I am happy because all of NWC members were there. We are going not only to look at what they have already told us and find the common denominator and try to find a solution.
Secondly, is to make sure that we go to states, to embark on individual states visit to see what we need to do, because we have to find solutions because they gave us the mandate to manage their party and you know that anywhere we went we told them that we are bringing the party back to them— no imposition, send to us your representative and our own is to process what you believe is your own choice, then we can work.
Having been in office for one year now what would you say have been your major challenges, or your major challenge? You said the other time that NEC will come after the election of chairman of BoT, how soon are we expecting NEC meeting?
Thank you, next NEC meeting. You see, it is the overall body of the party, the supreme body. Now, if you go to NEC, you don’t go to NEC just like that; you go to NEC by giving them all these information to work so that you can urge them what you believe they should do.
That’s what I did when I came in with my twelve point agenda. I have to now go to them with my twelve point agenda, give them information.
Now, I am going to call NEC and tell them this is what I have seen and suggest to them the solution for their approval.
The major challenge is the insecurity, because our people feel insecure and they need to be assured. They need to be convinced that the security agencies are doing their work; our people are afraid. The streets in Yobe and Maiduguri are empty and that’s my greatest challenge. We hope that with us confronting that evil, security will now come back to our people.
In the north-west zone, Governor Yero of Kaduna state mentioned that the major challenge of PDP has been how to manage its success as well as the need for more commitment and the excesses of its governors.
You know we don’t condone indiscipline and we don’t tolerate corruption. We really believe that we shouldn’t tolerate indiscipline, not at all. For instance, why should our members go to court over party matters. The PDP is a family. So, why should you think that you cannot get justice within the family?
My question is on south-west anger over marginalization in the PDP led federal government. What are you doing to redress this?
You are quite correct; party is what you call patronage. That’s what a political party is. Since it is a family, you have to feed yourfamily. We are looking into it.
One of the major agenda of your administration is reconciliation. Some of the aspirants who sought for the office of national chairman aren’t happy with the process that threw you up. What are you doing to reconcile yourself with them?
Well, I believe if you had come to our tours, you would have seen them. They were there. I have no ill feelings against those I contested with. We are working together, I talk to them and they talk to me. If I call them they come. So, what else can one ask for?
The South-west is complaining of total alienation, the office of the Secretary zoned to South-west is currently in acting capacity being held by South-east. When will the party ensure that there is election to bring out a zonal representative for the people in NWC? Secondly, what is your relationship with the governors of the PDP?
It is a process, we are going to have election, this caretaker is to bring election. The congresses will be held, we are working on it, when we do the congresses it will be done and we can do election and the one whom they elect will emerge.
My relationship with my governors. I am hundred percent with my governors, all of them. They call me. All the governors there is no place we went that the governors didn’t come out, specifically to say that they are supporting me.
All the governors believe in me, they came out, even the stories that were written in the papers, they came out to correct them. We work very cordially. They are our commanders, mind you the chairman heads PDP but a governor is his own commander in the state. The only thing the Chairman and the NWC do is to strengthen his followership to support the governor, so that the next election we still have the PDP winning. That’s is it.
So, there is no dissension, how can we have dissension anyway, PDP governors and PDP Chairman, it does not make any sense, it doesn’t.
Are we competing for anything? No, we are complementing, there is no competition between the Chairman and the governors and therefore there is no element of truth in the stories at all.