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Tukur finally quits as PDP chairman

After months of political  horse- trading,  Dr. Bamanga Tukur,  on Wednesday  finally bowed   to pressures on him to resign as the National Chairman of the ruling  Peoples Democratic Party.

Before an  authoritative source in Abuja made this known to The PUNCH  at about 11.51pm, there had been confusion on   whether he had indeed quit or not.

Tukur himself accentuated the confusion when he told State House correspondents minutes before the PDP  Board of Trustees met in the Presidential Villa, that he had not resigned.

“If I resign, you will know. I am not somebody that will resign and you will not know. I have not resigned.”

But a BoT member, who declined to be named, told one of our correspondents that the PDP had already accepted his resignation.

“Yes, it is true that he has resigned and the party has accepted his resignation ,” he said  after the meeting.

He explained that the National Executive Committee of the party would announce Tukur’s resignation during its meeting which would  commence at noon  on Thursday(today).

The source added that the  decision by the leadership of the PDP and the Presidency to  keep  Tukur’s resignation  under wraps was  to  prevent  a leadership vacuum in the party.

“We couldn’t make it public now since we have not appointed his successor. We would announce his resignation after  our  NEC meeting tomorrow(today) . But I can tell you authoritatively that he has resigned.”

Tukur had amid  speculations that  he had   turned in his resignation letter to the President  before noon on  Wednesday,   arrived the Presidential Villa, Abuja for the BOT  meeting which started  at about 7.55pm.

He wore a flowing  brown  guinea brocade.

Although he was absent from the reconvened national caucus meeting in the Villa, he attended the Armed Forces Remembrance Day’s laying of wreath at the National Arcade, Abuja.

Before  these,  his media aide, Mr. Oliver Okpala, said in a text message to  one of our correspondents,  that his boss had yet to resign.

Okpala said, “Be informed that the national chairman has not resigned. It is all speculation.

“The national chairman will be at the BOT meeting at night today (Wednesday)  and will also attend the NEC of the party tomorrow (today).”

Tukur  was however absent at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja on Wednesday when the other members of the NWC met.

The  Chairman of the BOT, Chief Tony Anenih,  had told journalists  after the meeting  that Tukur  attended   as the national chairman  of the PDP and   that he believed he(Tukur) also left in the same capacity.

“He (Tukur) attended the meeting as the national chairman. We all left together. I believe he left as national chairman,” Anenih claimed.

When asked about the major decisions taken at the meeting, he  said they were meant for only BOT members and  not  journalists.

Governor Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State said Tukur’s  fate was a decision the party would take at its own time.

• How Jonathan failed to save him

Jonathan  had on Tuesday night failed to convince the  governors elected on the platform of the PDP  to allow Tukur remain in office till March when the party’s    mid-term convention would hold.

His  suggestion, which was tabled at the national caucus meeting of the party, was aimed at giving the embattled  chairman   a soft landing.

However, the governors protested, saying that they would rather want him to leave office on Thursday (today) not March.

Tukur was said to have compounded his problems with the governors  during  the caucus meeting, which was also attended by Vice-President Namadi Sambo and the principal officers of the National Assembly.

The President, who presided,  was said to have asked Tukur  to explain   the cause(s) of the crises in the PDP.

A highly placed source  at the meeting said that rather than  address issues, Tukur accused the governors of encouraging many  of the    National Working Committee members to   work against him.

The source said, “The chairman started by accusing the governors of being the problems in the party.

“He said they(governors) were encouraging indiscipline with their tactical support for some of the NWC members to undermine him.

“He also said the governors were never happy with his decision to instill  discipline in the party and  to also make sure that the PDP  constitution  was  used as a yardstick in every decision taken by him.”

The source  added that  Tukur  indirectly inferred that those who wanted  him out were actually targeting the President.

It was however gathered that at the meeting, which another source described as unusual, that   Jonathan and not Tukur  presided.

This  action, it was learnt,   was  to ensure that  the national chairman  did not  dictate the pace of the meeting and determine  who was to be recognised to speak.

The  actions  allowed the Deputy National Chairman of the party,   Uche Secondus,  to respond to the allegations   by Tukur against the NWC members.

The constitution of the party only names the deputy chairman, the national secretary, the national legal adviser, the  national treasurer, the national woman leader and the national youth leader as other members of the caucus.

Secondus was said to have punctured all the allegations  by Tukur,  by  citing several  cases where  Tukur took decisions  without carrying them along.

He  mentioned the dissolution of some state executives of the party by Tukur and the suspension of some members  as examples.

Not only that, the chairman was accused of  always asking the NWC members to come to his house for meetings, an action some of them believed was not in the interest of the party.

The chairman was also alleged to have  employed  many aides, who were  not recognised by the party.

It was also learnt that Secondus, who sat beside  Tukur at the meeting, said it would be difficult for the NWC members to work with the embattled chairman again.

The  PDP governors had   advised  the NWC members   to suspend Tukur  during their  meeting on Wednesday.

It was gathered that when this  information leaked to the President, he warned  them that doing so could heat up the polity and portray Tukur in bad light.

• Tukur  may get ambassadorial position 

It was however gathered that   Tukur had been penciled  in  to serve as Nigeria’s ambassador to China. He is to replace Ambassador. Aminu Wali.

It was gathered that   the decision was  reached at the  caucus  meeting on Tuesday night.

Wali will return to the country to head President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign for 2015 election.

• President’s wife plans to install Tukur’s successor

Meanwhile, the wife of the President, Mrs. Patience Jonathan is said to be scheming to install the Minister of Transport,   Idris Umar as Tukur’s successor.

Some  of the PDP governors are also said to be pushing for a former Governor of Bauchi State, Mr. Adamu Muazu, as the next  chairman of the party.

• We’ve left PDP for good,  Amaechi, Nyako insist

Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi and his   Adamawa State counterpart, Murtala Nyako, have insisted that they  would not return to the PDP whether or not Tukur remained its chairman.

Amaechi, who spoke through the Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, Chief Tony Okocha,  said  that it was not possible for an arrow that had already left bow to return.

Amaechi said, “Tukur’s resignation or no resignation will not change our decision to leave the PDP because we have no regret moving to the All Progressives Congress. The arrow has left the bow and will not return to it.”

Nyako, through his  Director Press and Public Affairs, Ahmad Sajoh,  said the problem he and his colleagues had with the PDP was beyond the person of Tukur.

He said, “We do not have a personal problem with Tukur, it is the impunity that is in the PDP that we said we did not like.

“We are talking generally about the party’s level of impunity not just Tukur, it doesn’t look like the PDP structure is ready to shed this brigandage which has come to symbolise its operations.”

• Jonathan, PDP govs  in pre-NEC  meeting

How to woo back Amaechi, Nyako and three other   PDP  governors who  defected to the APC  formed part  of the discussion the PDP governors had with  Jonathan on  Wednesday.

The meeting also looked at ways of ensuring  the party’s victory at the forthcoming governorship elections in Osun and Ekiti sates.

Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State disclosed these to State House correspondents at the end of  the meeting.

He said, “The concern is that the fortunes of our party are dwindling and so we need to address that. How do we re-position our party to win the forthcoming elections in Ekiti and Osun?

“How do we win back our colleagues that have stepped aside, we don’t believe that they have left the party, they only stepped aside. These are the issues that were raised.”

Suswam  said issues bordering on Tukur  was not discussed at the parley.

He said, “First, we met with the President as PDP governors to discuss issues of the party and the way forward. And that meeting is continuing,we just touched base with the President to discuss issues that affect the party.

“The issues discussed with the president were basically on how to re-strategise and re-position our party and how to move forward as a party.

“The second meeting is the national caucus and I am not in the position to comment on that. After the BoT meeting, the Vice President will brief you on the outcome.”

President of the Senate, David Mark; the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal; the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Eweremadu; the Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha;  the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba; and  the House Leader, Mulikat Akande, also   attended the  meeting.

-Punch

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