•Governors remain adamant, as embattled national chairman seeks soft-landing
From: TAIWO AMODU, Abuja
Last Wednesday, at the end of the weekly meeting of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, [PDP] National Working Committee, [NWC] members put up a facade of a cordial relationship as they told journalists that they have all resolved to bury their differences and work as a team.
Interestingly, the briefing was the second time this year that national publicity secretary of the party, Barrister Olisa Metuh would be addressing journalists to assure party faithful that those they elected to run the affairs at Wadata Plaza are actually working as a team and remain committed to the growth of the party.
The first of such emergency media briefing was addressed in January to douse the furor created by the reinstatement of the Alhaji Mijinyawa Kugama led state executive in Adamawa State by 10 members of the PDP NWC without the knowledge of the national chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
Last October, the PDP NWC dissolved the Adamawa State executive and replaced it with the Ambassador Umar-Damagun led nine-member caretaker committee to oversee its affairs.
But the governors had threatened to move against the entire national officers of the party and replace it with a caretaker committee, if they failed to return to office, the Alhaji Kugama executive believed to be loyal to governor Nyako.
The reinstatement has created mutual distrust among members of the national executive of the party, as the embattled Bamanga Tukur who has been engaged in supremacy battle with his home state governor, Murtala Nyako over the control of the Adamawa state chapter of the party believed his colleagues betrayed him by bowing to pressures from PDP governors. Since the unprecedented recant on Adamawa, Tukur and his team has been playing cat and mouse game with one another.
Fear of mutually assured destruction.
But Daily Sun checks revealed that aware of the mutually assured destruction which a sustained feud could court for them, the members resolved at the meeting to work as a united team to ward off onslaughts from forces bent on unseating them.
The ‘opposition’ flank in the PDP are not relenting.
Three members of the party: Abba Yale, Alhaji Yahaya Aruwa Sule and Basir Maidugu have filed a suit on March 27, 2013, before an Abuja High Court. They are asking the court to compel the party to conduct a fresh convention to elect its national officials. The suit according to Daily Sun findings was premised on the report of the Independent National Electoral Commission, [INEC] on the party national convention held on 24th March, 2012 at Eagles Square, Abuja under the supervision of INEC national officers.
In the recommendation of the 12-member INEC monitoring team led by Colonel M.K Hammanga [rtd]and made available to Daily Sun, it voided the election of 12 members of the PDP National Working Committee.
The affected officers, according to the INEC report, ‘’whose positions were filled by affirmation process through motions moved and seconded by delegates’’ include, Dr Sam Sam Jaja, Alhaji Abubakar Mustapha, Alhaji Garba Chiza, Barrister Olisa Metuh, and Mrs Kema Chikwe, deputy national chairman, national organizing secretary, national youth leader, national publicity secretary and national woman leader, respectively. Seven others were also affected in the INEC damning report.
The INEC report however approved the elections of the National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, the Financial Secretary, Bolaji Anani; the axed National Secretary, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and the sacked National Auditor, Chief Bode Mustapha.
Oyinlola and Mustapha were in February removed by the Bamanga Tukur-led national leadership of the PDP, which relied on court judgments which were against them.
The petitioners are seeking among other things, an order compelling the PDP to conduct fresh elections into the national offices held by the affected national officers to bring same in tandem with PDP’s constitution.
Oyinlola as loose canon
Besides the suit instituted by the trio of Abba Yale, Alhaji Yahaya Aruwa Sule and Basir Maidugu, to challenge the national convention, supporters of the displaced national secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola are also smarting to take their pound of flesh.
The former Osun state governor was last January, removed as national scribe by Tukur who premised his action on a federal high court judgment which pronounced that the zonal congress that produced Prince Oyinlola was illegally conducted.
Justice Abdul Kafarati in his judgment held that the election of Oyinlola to the position was a “flagrant violation of two court orders.’’ Kafarati said that evidence existed before the court that two separate orders from a court in Lagos dated April 27, 2012 and May 2, 2012 ordered stoppage of the conduct of Congress that made Oyinlola the South- West candidate for the post.
But the axed national secretary in his memo sent to the Governor Ibrahim Shema led south-west peace panel, a creation of the Peoples’ Democratic Party Governors’ Forum, [PDPGF] called the attention of the panel to the fact that ’it was the same South-west delegates to the PDP zonal congress of March 21, 2012, that also voted at the national convention held on Saturday March 24, 2012.’’
Part of his letter addressed to the Katsina governor, Ibrahim Shema reads: “I wish to also make it known that most of the decisions taken in this matter have been unilaterally taken by the national chairman who attempted on more than one occasion to rail-road the NWC into taking hasty and ill-conceived decisions.
“This development could only ridicule all of us in the eyes of right thinking members of the society; and I must say that, expectedly, these sordid developments have had negative effects on the morale of members of the PDP in my zone.
“Let me go further that going by this same Federal High Court, Lagos ruling cited earlier, both the national chairman and the national secretary have not been validly elected following the nullification of the South-west zonal congress by the court. That aspect of the judgment concerning Olagunsoye Oyinlola has been implemented.
“However, the Federal High Court ruling which annulled the South-west Congress which also produced the national chairman and members of the NWC has not been considered in the process of implementing court
“Technically, that judgment also invalidated the election of the national chairman based on the fact that the South-west delegates to the PDP zonal congress of March 21, 2012, also voted at our National Convention held on Saturday March 24, 2012.’’
At the media session, Metuh, declared that it was in the interest of the PDP national working to cooperate with the national chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
“We are resolved to remain focused in administering the affairs of the party and we are not going to respond to any rumour or any other issue concerning the national convention.
“All members are completely agreed that the national convention was conducted in accordance with the provisions of the party’s constitution.
“It is instructive to state as well that members of the NWC unanimously endorsed the leadership of the party under Bamanga Tukur and we are supporting him fully because we believe in his ideas and programme and together we will be able to move the party to a successful elections in 2015”.
Metu further claimed that the PDP NWC was now fully intact.
“NWC is intact, one, indivisible, united and in one accord at promoting the policies and programmes of the PDP. We are fully in one accord and in complete support of the programme of President Goodluck Jonathan”.
While Metuh at the media session pledged loyalty of PDP NWC to all the other structures of the party, he was however silent on the agitation of PDP governors for the convening of the NEC meeting of the party.
The governors at the end of one of their recent meetings called for the convening of the party NEC meeting in line with the party constitution which stipulated that NEC shall meet, at least once in every quarter.
Section 12.74 of the PDP constitution 2009 [as amended]reads: “The National Executive Committee shall meet at least, once in every quarter at the instance of the Chairman or at requests of two third of its membership who shall notify the Chairman at least seven days prior to the meeting and an emergency meeting be summoned by the National Chairman having regard to all the circumstances of the agenda.’’
Daily Sun findings revealed that the last time the PDP NEC meeting was called was last June. A party source noted that the embattled national chairman has since been prevaricating on the NEC meeting because of the issues agitating the minds of the governors which they could raise and ultimately turn the table against him.
“Before now, the excuse was that NEC couldn’t meet in the absence of a chairman for the office of BoT, the highest advisory organ of the party. Chief Anenih had since emerged. So, what is the excuse again? I think he is afraid of the governors.”
At a media session with newsmen to commemorate his one year in office, Tukur has submitted that he needed to go to NEC with a comprehensive report on the findings of his team on the just concluded reconciliation tours.
“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.’’
But Daily Sun investigation revealed that Bamanga Tukur is deliberately buying time in order to work on the state chairmen and secretaries of the party and some governors sympathetic to his cause, who can checkmate their combative colleagues at NEC session. How long he can prevaricate remains to be seen.