Tukur: Crisis with govs imaginary
By Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The crisis rocking the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been attributed to the struggle for the control of the party’s structures by the presidency and the party’s governors ahead of the 2015 general election.
Some members of the National Working Committee (NWC) confided in THISDAY yesterday that the leadership of the party is under intense pressure because of the jockeying for positions by the two contending parties to give them vantage position in realising their political ambitions in the 2015 elections.
However, amid reports that the party’s governors are pushing for the removal of the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, who is accused of being responsible for the crisis in the party, the chairman yesterday denied such a claim.
Tukur described the report of a crisis of confidence between him and the governors as imaginary, explaining that they are the commanders in the field (state) and are not in competition with him or any NWC member.
Two members of the NWC, who pleaded for anonymity because they were not officially authorised to speak on the matter, told THISDAY that the NWC has become the ‘blame guy’ in the crisis in the party.
The sources, speaking against the backdrop of reported moves by the presidency to replace Tukur, explained that there is nothing the present team, led by the national chairman, has done without the support and knowledge of the presidency.
They explained that Tukur sees President Goodluck Jonathan every Monday at 8 p.m. to discuss the affairs of the party with him.
One of the sources said there was nothing the NWC had done without the consent of the presidency, saying: “Even the summoning of the National Executive Committee (NEC) cannot be done without President Goodluck Jonathan approving of it.
“The problem is that both the presidency and the PDP governors are struggling for the PDP structures and the governors want to control their states. This is the case of two elephants fighting and the grass is being rubbished. This is our plight in the NWC.”
According to one of the sources, “The crisis, if you can call it so, is all about the struggle and control of the party ahead of the 2015 general election. The presidency wants to control the party structures at all levels ahead of the coming 2015 general election.
“The PDP governors in their respective states who have been described as field commanders also want to control their states’ structures as the political heads. This is where the crisis comes to play.”
Another NWC member said at the inception of the present NWC on March 24, 2012, “the national chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur-led NWC, planned to embark on national reconciliation of all aggrieved members and stakeholders, but there were no funds made available to us”.
“The governors are not funding the party as expected. Dues from the states are not being paid as expected and the presidency is not helping matters in the funding of the party. The planned state-by-state reconciliation planned by the NWC could not kick off because of the absence of funds,” he said.
But as much as the NWC members said they were not querying the reconciliation tour embarked upon by the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) Chairman, Chief Tony Anenih, one of them said the difference between his tour and the planned reconciliation by the NWC at its inception was that he had money to fund the exercise.
“Money has been released to the BoT members to embark on reconciliation, yet the clamour for fund to enable us embark on a state-by-state reconciliation has not been heeded. This (tour) has remained on the drawing board since the inception of this NWC,” he added.
On the non-meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party since July last year, the sources said the situation was because the party was trying to put the BoT in place.
According to them, the delay in constituting the BoT affected the calling of NEC meeting because it is the custom in the party that the NEC meeting must hold alongside those of the BoT and the party’s National Caucus.
However, on his relationship with the governors, Tukur, in a telephone interview with THISDAY, said it was cordial and refuted reports that he is having problems with them.
Tukur, who described the allegation as imaginary, said: “I am 100 per cent with my governors. They call me. There is no place we went, that the governors did not come out to say specifically that they are in support of me and my NWC.
“The governors, all of them, respect me. They came out. What the papers mentioned, they tried to correct it.
“They are our commanders. The state chairman has his own governor as his commander. The only thing the chairman has to do is to strengthen his followership in his state to support the governor so that in the next elections, the PDP wins.
“There is no dissention. How can we have any dissention anyway? A PDP governor and a PDP chairman, are we competing on anything? No! We are complementary to one another. There is no competition between the chairman and the governors and, therefore, there is no element of dissention; it is just an imagination.”