Alhaji Bamanga Tukur
Party: We can’t lose sleep over him
Chuks Okocha in Abuja and Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, has advised the former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, wants to return to reconcile with stakeholders of the party in the state if he wants to return.
Tukur reiterated that the ongoing national reconciliation within the party was without bitterness and rancour.
Speaking with THISDAY against the backdrop of the visit by the state PDP stakeholders led by the state governor, Theodore Orji, protesting the planned re-admittance of Orji, the PDP National Chairman said the reconciliation embarked upon by the National Working Committee (NWC) was genuine and not based on rancour or bitterness.
He explained what he told the state stakeholders, saying democracy was by choice and not imposition.
Tukur said: “Our reconciliation as a party must be total in the sense that everyone must be carried along. You saw what happened yesterday (Wednesday). All stakeholders of PDP in the state came here, all senators, all members of the House of Representatives from the state, former national chairman and every stakeholder were here.
“Those that came here represent the party in the state. My advice to the former governor is to go and reconcile with his people. We don’t want a reconciliation through imposition from the national secretariat of the party”.
For him to rejoin PDP, he said: “There are constitutional provisions and this implies that he must rejoin the party from his ward. This procedure must be followed. He must reconcile with his people. This is part of the reconciliation that we are talking about.
“The aim of reconciliation is necessary to ensure that the President Goodluck Jonathan is not distracted. Reconciliation is necessary to ensure that the aggrieved members of the party are carried along and brought back to the party. This will help to make the party people’s party and this reconciliation will be based on the recommendations of the Ekwueme’s report.”
He stated that the party’s reconciliatory move was further driven by the new patterns of political recognition and motivated by the instruments of dialogue, appeal and articulation targeting all classes of persons, groups and communities in the country.
The national chairman explained that the objectives of his reconciliatory agenda was based on unity and not imposition, in order to arrest the increasing tensions in the country. This, he said is necessary because seven out of every 10 Nigerian were members of the party.
To this end, he said that reconciliation will help the party to build bridges and alliances, thus ensuring religious harmony and ethnic tolerance and not cause crisis in the name of reconciliation.
Meanwhile, despite efforts to block every possible re-entry point for Kalu to return to the party, Abia State chapter of the party has said that it would not lose sleep over the former governor because “Kalu is no longer an issue in Abia politics.”
The party stated this position in response to the claim by the state chapter of the Progressive Peoples Party (PPA), Chief Emeka Okafor, that PDP was jittery over Kalu’s rising political status hence the move to block his bid to return.
A statement issued by the state Publicity Secretary of PDP, Chief Uchechi Ogbuka, said it was an irony for the PPA chairman to ascribe high political status to Kalu when there was nothing on ground to substantiate such claims.
“The PDP is yet to understand what amounts to the high political profile and stature of a man as claimed by only the likes of Okafor, when the same man whose image is been panel-beaten is frantically seeking for relevance in any available cocoon within the PDP, having realised that outside the PDP, he is no longer an issue in Abia politics,” he said.
Ogbuka insisted that there was no way Abia PDP would lose sleep over Kalu, who according to him, had lost political steam to the extent of “begging to pick an offer” to mediate between Boko Haram and the Federal Government and “secretly lobbying to be readmitted back to the PDP.”
He urged Okafor to explain why the PPA founder with “all his self-acclaimed political stature and profile” should still be “seeking relevance and refuge in PDP, when his so-called PPA is being consigned to the political dust-bin.”
The PDP publicity secretary reiterated the position of the party on the issue of party registration, saying that the party was ready to admit or readmit anybody “with known democratic deficiencies.”
However, he was quick to point out that such applicant who wishes to join the party “must be purged of those anti-democracy virus which had cost Abians so much until the present governor came to their rescue.”
Orji had on Wednesday led a delegation of Abia PDP stakeholders to the national leadership of PDP at Abuja, and asked the national chairman of he party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur that Kalu was not needed in Abia PDP.
According to him, the present peace being enjoyed by the party in Abia would be lost if the former presidential candidate of PPA was allowed to return to the party he abandoned to form PPA.