Alhaji Bamanga Tukur
By Chuks Okocha in Abuja
A power tussle has broken out within the National Working Commyittee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), with the National Secretary of the party, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, openly attacking the National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur’s aides, declaring their actions in office illegal, null and void. Oyinlola has also accused Tukur’s principal secretary, Alhaji Habu Fari, of setting the party and governors elected on its platform on a collision course.
The imbroglio among the key members of the NWC was said to have arisen from the rejection of Tukur’s memo, last Wednesday, by other members of the NWC who had voted against his reform initiatives for the party. Tukur, had in the memo, proposed that some directors of the PDP be redeployed as part of measures to improve the administrative processes in the party. At the NWC meeting last Wednesday, Tukur had presented the memoranda reshuffling the party’s directors, owing to entrenched interests within the PDP, but the NWC had rejected the memo.
Some of the directors, who have spent more than eight years in office, are considered corrupt and are seen as part of the problems affecting the party. Also rejected was the memo from Tukur to establish more committees that would facilitate the smooth and effective working of the party. It was gathered that the NWC members had kicked against it following their displeasure with the setting up of the 50-member advisory committee led by former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme by Tukur without
recourse to them.
As a result, some of the aggrieved members of the NWC had absented themselves from the inaugural meeting of the NWC, though the National Women’s Leader, Kema Chikwe, and the National Treasurer, Bala Ka’oje, were in attendance. But prior to the meeting, Oyinlola had on May 14, written a letter to all state chairmen of the party urging them not have any correspondence with the office of the national
chairman, insisting that all correspondence must be directed to his office.
Oyinlola then followed up with an internal memo to Fari on June 8, titled, ‘Illegal Acts Prejudicial to the Interest of the Peoples Democratic Party’, accusing Tukur’s aide of engaging in acts that were prejudicial to the interest of the party as well as usurping the powers of the national secretary of the party.
In the memo, Oyinlola had accused the principal secretary of writing and sending out external correspondence, which he claimed ought to have been his responsibility.
For instance, it was gathered that Oyinlola was not happy that Fari, on Tukur’s directive, had written an introductory letter on behalf of Hon. Abdullahi Gumel, the chairman’s Special Adviser to the National Assembly.
By writing the introductory letters to the relevant quarters, the national secretary concluded that Fari’s action amounted to the usurpation of his duties. Oyinlola further accused Fari of being on a vengeance mission stretching back to his days as the pioneer national administrative secretary of the party, stating that Fari was still angry over the circumstances leading to the sack of the entire pioneer directors of the party by its former national chairman, Senator Barnabas Gemade.
On getting wind of the memo, Tukur took umbrage, countering with a memo of his own to Oyinlola, informing him that the special advisers under his office were his personal staff, including the principal secretary and, therefore, that the introductory should come from his principal secretary and not the national secretary.
Tukur maintained that in line with the constitution of the party, his special advisers are his personal aides and it was for this reason that their letters of appointments were signed by his principal secretary, who was previously designated chief of staff to the chairman.
The Office of Chief of Staff was said to have been the root cause of the crisis, as Oyinlola had insisted that the PDP Establishment Manual has no provision for the office, insisting that Fari’s proper designation should be principal secretary.