Alhaji Bamanga Tukur
Chuks Okocha and Muhammad Bello in Abuja
The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, yesterday charged members of the party in the South-west region to embrace peace.
This came as the Vice-President, Namadi Sambo, Thursday night met with a group of stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), popularly known as G-84 at the Presidential Villa.
Speaking in a meeting with leaders of the party in the region on reconciliation and how to reposition the party, Tukur, who was the guest of honour, said, since the PDP had become a headache to the opposition political parties, it was good for its members to form a formidable and united front.
“When you have headache, you take a medication called APC. The opposition political parties are having headache that is why they are taking APC.
“PDP is the headache of the opposition party. PDP is big enough to accomodate all Nigerians and the umbrella is big enough. Once you are under the PDP, your headache is gone.”
Tukur appealed to the South-west members of the party not to waste their time quarreling, as constant schisms within the party in the zone would always cause a division, which the opposition would always take advantage of.
The PDP national chairman, on sighting the sacked National Secretary of the party, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, described him “the prince of peace and the Oba in waiting.”
According to the national chairman who charged the South-west on the need for unity, he said: “Let there be unity from the top to the bottom. Don’t give the enemy a chance, urging them not to allow the present condition of the party in the South-west to deter them.
Tukur called on the region PDP to ensure discipline to the rules of the party at the national secretariat, saying, “discipline yourself to do the right thing. Be firm, just and honest . Once this is done, we must be able to do the best.”
In his speech at the occasion titled: ‘Yoruba Nation: The Last Road to Victory’, the former Deputy National Chairman, Chief Bode George, called on the South-west PDP to reunite and be able to face the future. According to George, “We are presently dangling on a precipice of irrelevance and dark, bitter ruination. We are now halted in a mourning twilight zone, bewildered, wondering about the crucibles of the present, pestered about the lost opportunities and the forfeited dreams.
“We are now lost, deprived, roaming in self-contrived shadows. We are stunted without growth. We are frozen in chaotic tumult without movement. We are halted in muddle and misery by our own contrivances. Alas! we are orphaned, detained in self-inflicting conundrum and despair.”
Lamenting the disunity within in the South-west PDP, George said the Yoruba nation had been in disunity, urging them to look at the founding dreams of their fore fathers that dealt on scholarship, learning entrepreneurship and leadership.
He explained that such great advantages of the founding fathers of the South-west are now in the past, stating that the region dwells in the past glories.
The former deputy national chairman said the meeting was timely and that there should be no grey areas in the South-west quest for self-recognition, concluding with a biblical quotation in the gospel of St. Mark, which said: “Let us establish the salt of friendship among ourselves and live in peace with one another.”
Earlier, South-west leaders such as Yekini Adeojo, Shauib Oyedokun, Olusegun Oni, spoke in the same vein for a united Yoruba against the opposition as the 2015 general election draws near.
The meeting was attended by almost all South-west leaders.
At the end of the meeting, which was hosted by Sambo, which lasted a little more than an hour, Tukur did not disclose much to journalists.
He jocularly waived aside questions put to him on whether or not the group was being cultivated by Aso Rock to upstage the governors of the party, many of whom he has been having issues with in recent times.
Bamanga had on Tuesday met with the same group in his residence to discuss a possibility of the ensemble supplanting the governors who are bonafide members of the National Executive Council (NEC), the highest decision making body of the party.
He dismissed any such insinuation, insisting that “this is G-84 and not NEC.”
Instead, he pointed out that the group was invited to find ways of reaching out to party supporters and potential members in order to consolidate the political dominance of the party.
“They are members of G-84 from the states, the National Assembly and other areas called together to reach out,” Bamanga emphasised.
Some of those who attended the meeting, which was more like a riposte considering the short time it took and the buffet available, are: former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, Special Adviser to President on Political Matters. Ahmed Gulak, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim and the Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe.
The former Governor of Kwara State, Senator Bukola Saraki, yesterday said Nigerians should not be carried away by the glamour which accompanied the emergence of All Progressives Congress (APC) last week until the party survives the first six months of its advent.
In the same vein, the National Chairman of the United Progressive Party (UPP), Chief Chekwas Okorie, has said that the APC will not offer anything significantly different from what the Peoples Democratic Party.
While fielding questions from journalists in the Senate yesterday, Saraki said it was too early to hail the merger initiative, describing it as the coalition of strange parties without any clear cut ideology.
Saraki who represents Kwara Central in the Senate, said he would watch how the party would survive in Kano, adding that in no time the acronyms of the party will go different ways and thus mark the end of the party.
“APC is a coalition of strange, different parties coming together. In theory, if four or five parties are coming together, it is meant to be stronger. But in practice, the party is not based on any ideology and so my initial feeling is that we don’t really have any challenges from them. But at the same time, as a party, that does not mean that we should take them for granted.
“Based on the fact that they have come together, that means what we are having is more like a two-party state like in some democracies. All that is being done is to wrestle power from the PDP and so the PDP itself must take it seriously. But the mega party would have challenges.
On his part, Okorie restated UPP had resolved to zone its presidential ticket for the 2015 presidential election to the Igbo people of the South-east geo-political zone of Nigeria.
In a statement issued yesterday, Okorie described the move by the four opposition political parties, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to form APC as an unholy alliance.
“It is by divine providence that birds of the same feather have practically coalesced on a single political platform known as All Progressives Congress (APC). Before the emergence of APC, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) used to enjoy exclusively the unenviable reputation of a political party with the largest assemblage of oppressors, and mindless treasury looters,” he said.