THE crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party entered yet another phase on Sunday with President Goodluck Jonathan said to be poised to abandon the party’s embattled National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur.
Jonathan is believed to have agreed to yield to a piece of advice by his strategists to ditch Tukur and go for a younger candidate without “as many enemies as Tukur.”
The PDP chairman has been having a running battle with the governors elected on the platform of the party. The governors had last week insisted that Tukur must go.
The PUNCH learnt on Sunday that Jonathan’s strategists had asked him to withdraw his support from Tukur in order not to alienate the governors.
The strategists were said to have told him that the governors had nothing against him but that he could incur their wrath if he became “too stubborn” in his support for Tukur.
They were also said to have told Jonathan that the governors, who have been at daggers-drawn with Tukur over his alleged unilateral dissolution of the PDP executive in Adamawa State, were already having the upper hand.
A Presidency source confirmed the President’s readiness to ditch the former governor of old Gongola State, who assumed the chairmanship of the PDP in March last year.
“In the next few days, Tukur will know his fate. Already, some of the President’s aides and governors have started prevailing on him (Jonathan) to leave Tukur to his fate. Pressures are being mounted on Jonathan to consider picking Tukur’s successor from Borno or Yobe,” the source, who pleaded anonymity, confided in one of our correspondents on Sunday.
The PUNCH learnt that the idea of zoning the chairmanship slot to either Borno or Yobe State was being canvassed in order to avoid the usual power tussle between the party’s national chairman and state governors.
The source, who spoke with our correspondent, cited the sour relationship between a former PDP National Chairman, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo and his state Governor, Sulivan Chime, in 2011.
There has been no love lost between Tukur and Adamawa State Governor Murtala Nyako since the former assumed the chairmanship of the party March last year.
“We cannot avoid the power play between a national chairman and his governor. The best thing is to pick the national chairman from a non-PDP state if it is possible,” the Presidency source said.
In the North-East where the PDP currently zoned its chairmanship, only Borno and Yobe states are non-PDP states.
The governors under the PDP administrations have always proved to be powerful and they exert much influence in the polity.
The governors dominate the party’s National Executive Committee. Last Wednesday, they issued a communiqué demanding for the NEC meeting where they are planning to pass a vote of no confidence on Tukur.
Meanwhile, a group consisting of elders and stakeholders in Adamawa State on Sunday cautioned Jonathan against yielding to the wishes of the governors and some members of the party’s NWC.
It said that “the President is gone” if he allows the wish of the governors to prevail
The group, through its Spokesman, Dr.Umar Ardo, told journalists in Abuja, that the elders and stakeholders of the PDP in Adamawa State wanted the outcome of congresses held between December 27, 2012 and January 8, 2013 to remain valid and irreversible
At the congress, Dr. Joel Madaki emerged the state chairman of the party.
Mijinyawa Kugama was the chairman before the December 27 and January 8 congresses of the party.
But last week, 10 members of the PDP NWC had reversed the dissolution of Kugama-led executive on the grounds that it was unilaterally done by Tukur.
The PDP governors had also endorsed the decision of the 10 NWC members.
Nyako had at a rally in Yola, on Saturday, announced that the Kugama-led State Executive of the party, which was dissolved in October 2012, remained.
But Ardo said, “No person can change it, no National Working Committee, no governors’ forum can change it. If (Governor) Nyako can be defiant to the NWC, we can be 10 times more defiant. Nyako is spending public funds in this fight, we are spending our personal funds.
“We held these congresses based on a decision by the NWC, then some people just woke up one day and changed the decision as if nothing happened. If the President allows it, then he is gone. Because Bamanga (Tukur) is for the President.”
On the reconciliation committee, he said, “Who set up the committee? Was there any statement to this effect? It is just like the Sule Lamido-Committee. We heard that there was a committee, it was dead on arrival. If they say the President set up the committee and there is no statement from the President, we will not recognise this committee.
“As far as we are concerned, what the people of Adamawa State did between December 27, 2012 and January 8, 2013, when we elected the state executive, everything stands; we did this with the approval of the NWC.They cannot come back after three months and after actions have been taken based on their decision to say they have reversed it.”