Convention: Jonathan likely to meet Tukur, others today

By The Citizen

President Goodluck Jonathan will on Sunday (today) have a meeting with the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Bamanga Tukur; the Chairman of the mini convention of the party, Prof. Jerry Gana and its Secretary, Senator Ike Ekweremadu on how to share offices in the committee.

The meeting, which will hold at the Presidential Villa, will iron out the differences over sharing of offices being demanded by Tukur-led members of the National Working Committee in the Gana's committee.

The sharing of offices in the committee has led to a serious face-off between the members of the Convention Committee and the NWC, which also resorted in the locking out of Gana and Ekweremadu from Tukur's residence in Abuja.

Both Gana and Ekweremadu had gone to the Wuse 2 residence of Tukur to brief him on the date their committee chose for the convention but were prevented from seeing the party's national chairman.

The committee, which had fixed August 31 as the date for the convention, however did not include members of the NWC among the chairmen of subcommittees it had put in place for the convention.

It was learnt that infuriated Tukur, who summoned the meeting of the NWC and caused its Acting National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Tony Okeke, to issue a statement denouncing the convention.

He also asked the convention committee to stop all preparations towards the convention, adding that there were breaches in the PDP constitution in its preparation.

Gana and Ekweremadu reportedly went to the Presidential Villa to complain about Tukur's action. This necessitated the President's intervention, who quickly summoned the two parties to a meeting.

A presidential source said the meeting among the President, Tukur, Gana and Ekweremdau ought to have held on Saturday but due to the engagement of the President in and outside Abuja, it was postponed.

A presidential source, who is preview to the meeting said, 'The President has called the three men to a meeting at the Presidential Villa on Sunday.  At the end of the meeting, we may have peace between the NWC members and the Convention Committee.

'It is after the meeting that we will know whether the Convention will still hold on August 31 as announced by the Gana Committee and sanctioned by the President.

'Though one is expecting a give and take from the two protagonists it is doubtful if the Gana committee will allow the NWC members occupy sensitive positions.

'This is because the Gana committee members, especially himself and Ekweremadu are yet to forgive the way Tukur behaved to their leaders by locking them out of his house the other time.'

As a prelude to today's meeting, Tukur met with members of the NWC in Abuja on Friday where they agreed on what to present to the President as their demand.

Tukur and the NWC members are demanding that they be allowed to produce those who will head subcommittees like publicity, organising, welfare, protocol, screening and election.

Media Assistant to Tukur, Mr. Oliver Okpala confirmed both the two meetings.

He said, 'Yes, there was a meeting with the President on Thursday night and there was meeting of the NWC in Abuja on Friday.'

Okpala however debunked the rumour making the rounds in Abuja that his boss had been removed from office.

'It is laughable. The man just finished presiding over NWC meeting now. He was also with the President last night. There was nothing like that,' he added. Punch