… An empty boast –Baraje
Impostors will be flushed out –National Chairman
From TAIWO AMODU, Abuja
The crisis in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rather than abate, it is worsening as the embattled National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur, the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) and the Presidency may have shut the doors to reconcile with the break-away faction led by some governors and ex-vice president Atiku Abubakar.
Last weekend in Abuja, Atiku, Governors Rabiu Kwankwaso, Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, Magatarkada Aliyu Wamakko, Abdulfatah Ahmed, Murtala Nyako and Sule Lamido of Kano, Niger, Sokoto, Kwara, Adamawa and Jigawa states respectively, stormed out of Eagles Square venue of the Special National Convention in protest against the disqualification of certain candidates and imposition of a” Unity List” by the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the party, Chief Tony Anenih.
They were later joined at Shehu Yar’Adua Centre by Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi, who had since been suspended from the party.
Former Acting National Chairman, Alhaji Kawu Baraje and ex-former National Secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola were announced as Chairman and secretary, respectively.
“It was learnt that at a meeting with nine PDP governors loyal to President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa on Tuesday night, it was resolved that Jonathan should call the bluff of the aggrieved governors.
At the meeting were Alhaji Tukur, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim and the Political Adviser to the President, Ahmed Gulak.
The governors in attendance were Mukhtar Ramallan Yero, Gabriel Suswam, Theodore Orji, Liyel Imoke and Seriake Dickson, governors of Kaduna, Benue, Abia, Cross River and Bayelsa states respectively.
Others were Governors Godswill Akpabio, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, Idris Wada and Mallam Isa Yuguda, of Akwa Ibom, Gombe, Kogi and Bauchi states, respectively.
Emboldened by the resolve of President Jonathan and the nine governors, Alhaji Tukur yesterday declared that there was no faction of the party in existence and threatened that “any person who is not duly-elected into any leadership position in our great party and has not been duly assigned any role but goes ahead to arrogate such to himself will be made to face the full wrath of the law”.
The full statement from Tukur reads: “Gentlemen of the press, you are aware of the current developments in our great party.
“Our reason for being here is to inform you without any iota of doubt that the Peoples Democratic Party has no faction and there is neither room nor reason whatsoever for such a claim under any guise.
“The PDP has only one duly-elected National Executive Committee (NEC) under my Chairmanship. I wish therefore, to state with all emphasis that any group of persons parading themselves as leaders of NEC or any other organ of our party are impostors and I urge all Nigerians, especially the security agencies and other institutions of democracy to regard them as such.
“Let me state categorically that the PDP as the sole custodian of the sacred mandate of over 160 million Nigerians and who in the last fourteen years has lifted high the banner of democracy will not fold its arms while some undemocratic and unpatriotic elements destroy our common destiny by causing divisions and confusion among the people.
“Consequently, we shall ensure that any person who is not duly elected into any leadership position in our great party and has not been duly assigned any role but goes ahead to arrogate such to himself will be made to face the full wrath of the law.
“Similarly, all persons elected on the platform of our great party at all levels who identify with these enemies of the oneness and greatness of our party shall have their seats declared vacant as required by law.
“We shall leave no stone unturned to ensure that such persons and indeed any other individual who attempts to subvert the leadership of the PDP shall reap in full, the consequences of such actions.
“I wish to emphasize that the PDP has adequate mechanism for internal conflict resolution. All party members are therefore, advised to ventilate their grievances through this medium.
“There is only one lawfully-recognized PDP and I am firmly in charge”, Tukur said.
Reacting, the factional Chairman, Alhaji Baraje, dismissed Tukur’s threat to seek for the recall of any federal lawmaker who fraternises with his faction as an empty boast.
“They are all jokers. They don’t know what is party politics. We aren’t surprised, because he is ignorant of party politics. In any case, the process of declaring seats vacant or recalling lawmakers from state Assembly or from National Assembly is well known.
“To wake up and threaten to recall shows he is ignorant. He isn’t fit to be called the National Chairman of the PDP,” Baraje noted.
However, it was also learnt that the Presidency would soon drop Bamanga Tukur, but it is wary of giving the impression that it did so under pressure from the aggrieved governors.