PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur
Challenges Buhari to prove allegations of unholy alliance with INEC, police
Despite his prevarication over whether he would seek re-election in 2015 or not, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders have continued the subtle campaign for President Goodluck Jonathan to run for a second term in office.
Barely a week after the party launched a subtle campaign to mobilise support for the president’s re-election bid, the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, Wednesday endorsed him for a second term in office.
In an affidavit last month, the party through its counsel at the Federal High Court, Abuja, had stated that the president was eligible to contest the 2015 presidential election.
The party had made its position known in a case brought against Jonathan challenging his constitutional eligibility to contest the election.
Tukur, fielding questions from reporters in Abuja, said there was nothing wrong with Jonathan seeking a second term in office, if he so decides.
He spoke a few days after campaign posters of the president re-appeared in strategic locations within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the party’s Women Leader, Dr. Kema Chikwe, promised that the party would mobilise five million women to drum support for Jonathan’s second term.
He also challenged the national leader of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, to prove his allegations that the PDP did not need to merge with any party to win elections because it was already in an unholy alliance with the police and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Tukur, during his interaction with the reporters, wondered what was wrong with the president contesting the presidential election in 2015.
Responding to a question over insinuations that the PDP Governors’ Forum ( PDP-GF) was formed to foster Jonathan’s 2015 ambition, Tukur said: “Let me tell you that is in order in politics. Jonathan is the president under our party and what is wrong if he decides to run? The other political parties have the same opportunity to promote their candidates, if they have.”
When further asked to clarify if his statement means the PDP means that the PDP has settled for Jonathan as its candidate for 2015, he said: “But the governors’ forum isn’t the platform for electing candidate; we have our own system.”
He dismissed insinuations that the PDP-GF was formed to rival the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).
“I see the NGF as very important and I can tell you why. Look at Nigeria, we have so many colourations: ethnic, religious. Now if you
don’t have this kind of association, whereby people have to meet and discuss how Nigeria can sustain its roles as a regional power, you cannot do that unless the help come from governors. So, the NGF is very healthy because we have to be frank with ourselves.
“If we understand our differences, then we can work together better. If they are working together to ensure peace and whatever is good, we all agree to that extent it is a very important forum.”
Tukur disagreed with Niger State Governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, that there was no need for a PDP Governors’ Forum, saying, “Well, it is an opinion. It doesn’t mean that all our governors agree with him.”
“He can say so but I have explained to you as the chairman of this party that they are all my governors, we may not share the same position on the formation of the PDP Governors’ Forum, but I have explained to you our intention, as a party. We want our governors to come together,” he added.
He also denied the allegation that Jonathan and the PDP are opposed to Rivers State Governor, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi’s continued leadership of the NGF.
“No, we are not behind it. They have an arrangement of a two-year tenure for their chairman. So, neither the party leadership nor Mr. President is against Amaechi or whoever they elect as their leader for the NGF,” he said.
Tukur explained that the party would soon embark on the process of e-registration of its members, adding: “ Yes for sure, it is in the works, we are going to do it. We believe that now in the age of technology, you don’t need to do a cumbersome process of registration.”
He also explained that the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party would soon take place, saying, “We are going to have our caucus, then we shall have our NEC meeting. It is part of the structures of our party and we follow due process in line with the structures in our party. That’s the only way we can continue to keep in touch with our members, from the lowest level to the highest. We are going to do that.”
He also faulted Buhari’s claim that the PDP is in an unholy alliance with the police and INEC to undermine voter’s sovereignty.
He challenged him to substantiate the allegation that the PDP is already collaborating with INEC and security agencies to rig the 2015 general election.
According to Tukur, “I don’t think one need to react to this kind of statement. I think the best thing to do is to ask for evidence, but if you cannot show evidence, there is no need to react. I only react to things that are factual, not rumours, not antics.”