Our problems with Tukur, by PDP NEC members
MEMBERS of the National Executive Committee, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, are inching towards a confrontation with the national chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, over the multiple crises facing his stewardship of the party.
Central to the anger of the party officials is the increasing perception that he is using his office to achieve personal political interests. Remarkably, while Tukur is alleged to be still supportive of the political aspirations of President Goodluck Jonathan ahead of the 2015 presidential election, the president is, however, now said to be under serious pressure to dump the national chairman on the strength of the heavy baggage the 12 month stewardship of Tukur is said to have put on him.
Besides, Tukur is alleged to have allowed a battalion of personal aides to distract him having created the highest number of offices for aides of the national chairman in the history of the PDP. Also infuriating to party officials especially members of the National Working Committee, NWC was the national chairman's decision to recognize the state executive committee of the party in Adamawa led by Mr. Joel Madaki against the decision of the NWC to confer recognition on the faction led by Alhaji Umar Kugama.
PDP Chairman, Bamanga Tukur
Success of Anenih
Tukur's position is further being compounded by the successes of the chairman of the Board of Trustees, BoT, Chief Tony Anenih, in wooing disaffected stakeholders and governors back to the party. Remarkably, Anenih to the delight of the president is understood to be making deals with the governors on behalf of the president during his tours making promises to the governors here and there on behalf of the president.
Tukur has been engaged in a face-off with the majority of the governors of the party over his handling of the crisis in his home state, Adamawa. At the peak of the crisis last January, the NWC reversed its earlier dissolution of the Adamawa chapter executive of the party.
Tukur, however, to the chagrin of other members of the NEC proceeded to upturn the decision and confer legitimacy to the faction of the party loyal to him. Tukur had during a homecoming last February infuriated party officials when he went to Adamawa to openly pledge solidarity with the Madaki faction infuriating senior members of the party who at that time helped in reaching a truce with the governors over the issue.
A very senior party member and member of the NEC reacting to the decision of the national chairman to recognize the Madaki led faction told Vanguard yesterday, 'Talk is cheap.' Another member of the NEC even while trying to make excuses for Tukur, nevertheless, put the problems of the party at the door step of the aides of the national chairman.
He said: 'The problem is that Tukur has too many aides, even his political aides are more than those of the president. He has many senior aides and they are either former members of the National Assembly or former ministers and they are not giving him proper advice.'
Tukur's first problem with the NWC arose when he was accused of allowing his personal aides to run a parallel secretariat different from that operated by the NWC. The face-off with the NWC members led to the disengagement of Alhaji Habu Fari as his Chief of Staff few months after the inauguration of the present NWC.
Others allege a rapid turnover in the number of aides appointed by the national chairman, though one source defended the national chairman saying that the aides were mostly funded by Tukur, himself, a multi billionaire prior to his advent as national chairman of the ruling party. 'Today you could be appointed as an aide and tomorrow you could be sacked. You know baba is old. Today he could appoint you and tomorrow meet you and ask 'who are you?',' a source confided in Vanguard.
Tukur's problems, Vanguard learnt are now being compounded with the open welcome being given Anenih by many governors in the course of his ongoing tour across the country. Where Tukur has failed in building bridges with the governors, Anenih it was learnt, is moving ahead making deals with the governors and creating the kind of peace that the president is envisaging to help push forward his 2015 aspiration.
A source close to Anenih nevertheless claimed, yesterday, that the BoT chairman was not in any way interested in hastening the exit of Tukur from office saying that Anenih was singly focused on stabilisng the party.'Anenih and the BoT are just focused on one thing, helping the president to stabilize the party and if the president is happy with the efforts that are being achieved you cannot blame Anenih for that,' the source said.
The anxiety about the national chairman, nonetheless, Tukur's position remains presently safe. Any contention for his job can only be formally considered at a NEC meeting which Tukur has to call. The last NEC meeting took place last July despite the provision of the PDP constitution that the NEC should meet at least once quarterly. The alternative is a petition arising from a majority of NEC members, but so far intrigues and other considerations have so far made that impractical.