PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur
By Chuks Okocha
Less than 24 hours after the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) called for the resignation of the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, because of the arraignment of his son, Mahmud, for alleged fuel subsidy fraud, the party has rejected the call.
Responding, PDP in statement signed by its National Secretary, Olisa Metuh, described the call by ACN as not hypocritical, laughable and acts of desperation, stating that it was not the national chairman that is on trial.
According to PDP, “the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, is not on trial, neither has he been linked to any of the allegations on the current petroleum subsidy trials. We have stated severally that the son of the chairman currently facing trial is an adult and is fully responsible for all his actions in the eyes of the law.
“We shall therefore not allow the name and dignity of our revered chairman to be dragged into an issue he knows nothing about.”
The party further said, “The call by ACN for Alhaji Bamanga Tukur to resign is therefore not only an assault on his fundamental rights but also a wild misadventure by a clueless group that is ignorant on the workings of due process. We wish to remind them that the PDP is not operated on the basis of the opinions of the ACN”.
PDP accused ACN of dishing out judgments even before trials are concluded, stating, “What is expected from a responsible opposition like it is done all over the world is to give credit where it is due, and criticise where necessary.
“The decision by the Goodluck Jonathan administration to bring to trial those who have allegations standing against them is a clear signal that the government has nothing to hide and there are no sacred cows.
“We thought that the ACN will for once rise above petty partisan considerations and acknowledge this fact. Unfortunately, they have once more missed another opportunity to earn the status of a decent organisation,” the party stated.
According to the statement, the party said that it remains the only party that does not unduly interfere in judicial processes involving its members.
It added that the same cannot be said of the ACN, saying for instance, “when the educational qualifications of Senator Bola Tinubu, the ACN national leader were questioned, the entire party machinery, operating under its earlier metamorphosis as Alliance for Democracy
(AD) rose up and vilified those that called for proper investigation. Every effort was deployed to frustrate the investigation.”
Accusing ACN of turning blind eyes when issues affecting its members are in the front burner, PDP said, “The ACN has also turned the other way in the case of a N500 million fraud allegation against the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly. There has been no call for the Speaker to resign. Till date, there is no record of any ACN official or chieftain standing trial in any ACN-controlled state despite the barrage of cases of misconduct in these states.”
The statement by PDP therefore said that it cannot be distracted from the synergy that currently exists between the leadership of the party and the Federal Government, especially in its determination to reform and recreate the moral fabric of the nation.
“We are committed to creating a level-playing field for all Nigerians in every aspect of our national life. We wish to create a Nigeria where no one will suffer for the perceived wrong doings of another person. We must also uphold the principle of the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.”
PDP further said that as a ruling party, and “As the party holding the mandate and trust of the people of Nigeria, we shall continue to show example on all matters of morality and good governance. We shall however not allow the integrity of our leaders to be wantonly violated; neither shall we succumb to blackmail from a very vocal but politically impotent opposition”.