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You Are A Traitor, PDP Slams IBB Over Comment On Tukur

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The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) hit back at former Nigeria's military president, Ibrahim Babangida, for daring to criticise the party's recent convention and its National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.

The PDP reminded the former military dictator that he had gone against the rules of the political game for deciding to give out his spokesperson, Kazeem Afegbua, to aid the campaign of the Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole despite claiming that he is a bona fide member of the PDP. The party therefore told him he is the least qualified person to make such a statement against a unanimously accepted chairman of a party.

Babangida had while speaking on the Hausa service of the Voice of America radio described the consensus arrangement that allowed Alhaji Tukur to emerge as PDP national chairman on March 24 as an undemocratic process stressing that "a situation where some people would sit and select someone by consensus is undemocratic."

Babangida had criticised a situation where all interested members of the party, including Musa Babayo, who had floored Tukur in the zonal congress, were forced to step down for Tukur and added that in a true democracy, such a practice would not be tolerated.

"Even in the United Nations, if there are people, let's say 10, contesting for a particular position, all those 10 people will be allowed to contest. The highest three for example will go for second round up to the time when one person will emerges as winner. That way, everyone has been given a chance. But in something like what happens now, people will be suspicious and there would be accusations that some people were given money. So if 20 people show interest, provide 20 ballot boxes, and in this process the winner will emerge even after the second or third round," Babangida said.

Though one of Tukur's aides, Malam Ahmed Shuaibu Gara, had reacted to the criticism by former President Babangida, calling it belated and unfortunate, judging from the antecedents of IBB, the PDP seems not satisfied with the reaction.

Thus, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Olisa Metuh, has lent the voice of the party against the criticism describing Babangida as not mature in some of his comments to the public

In a short reaction, the PDP said: "the statement credited to the former president is surprising because known tradition the world over is for former presidents to tow the path of maturity and decorum in criticisms of perceived lapses of the incumbents.

"We know of George Bush Jnr. and President Obama and we also know of Tony Blair and Prime Minister Cameron," describing IBB's statement as an embarrassment on the person of the former President of Nigeria "for his media spokesperson to recourse to a recipe of media relations that subsists on public acrimony and less noble language...We must state for the avoidance of doubt that there is nothingĀ  wrong in the electoral consensus option through which our national Chairman, Dr. Bamanga Turkur, emerged that constitutes an inhibition in the effective discharge of his functions as the National Chairman of our Party.

"That other aspirants, having noted the likely trend of voting, decided on their own to withdraw from the race and support an aspirant does not translate to incapacity on the part of the consensus candidate...We do not intend to descend to the gutter as Afegbua has been doing because we still hold the former President in high esteem. However, we must state that for a leader in our party to engage a loose cannon as his media assistant, care must be taken to restrain him from injury to party loyalty."

Metuh said the party was putting it on record that "if our respected party leader has donated his spokesman to the Action Congress of Nigeria gubernatorial campaign in Edo State," it does not show loyalty.