Why we visited Shagari in Sokoto - Northern govs

By The Rainbow

Mr. Tukur warned the governors against making utterances that could overheat the polity.

Four Northern governors have continued in their self appointed save Nigeria campaign with a visit to the Second Republic President, Shehu Shagari.

Four northern governors, on Tuesday met with the second republic president during which they discussed the unity, security and socio-development of the country with the former leader.

The governors, Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto State), Rabi'u Kwankwaso (Kano), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Sule Lamido (Jigawa) met with Mr. Shagari at the former president's home on Sama Road, Sokoto, for close to one hour.

The governors, including their counterparty in Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, had visited former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, and former head of state, Abdulsalami Abubakar, in Minna, the Niger State capital two weeks ago.

They had earlier paid similar visit to former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

Last weekend, three of the northern governors met with President Goodluck Jonathan with whom they held discussions behind closed-doors.

Before moving to Mr. Shagari's home, Messrs Kwankwaso, Lamido and Nyako had met briefly in a closed-door session with their host, Mr. Wamakko, at the Government House.

Mr. Nyako, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues after the visit, told journalists at the Sultan Abubakar III International Airport, Sokoto, that the visit was to seek fatherly advice from the elder statesman.

'We had met amongst ourselves and observed that there are lots of problems currently bedeviling the nation,'' he said.

The Adamawa State governor identified the problems to include insecurity, overheating of polity, poverty and unemployment.

'That is why we are going round the region meeting with prominent northern leaders with a view to fostering unity, understanding and national cohesion.

'This is also with a view to finding plausible solutions to the problems for the country to forge ahead,'' Mr Nyako, said.

The visit of the governors, all of who are members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to Mr. Shagari, an octogenarian, coincided with the warning to them by the party's National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur, to be cautious in their utterances.

Mr. Tukur, who is currently performing the lesser hajj in Saudi Arabia, had in a statement signed by his media aide, Oliver Okpala, on Tuesday, expressed disappointment at the utterances of the governors, which he said were capable of overheating the polity.

The national chairman of the ruling party noted that the recent visit of four northern governors to Mr. Jonathan had raised furore, adding that though the discussions between the governors were held behind closed-doors, the media had been awash with the news of the meeting and the issues discussed.

Mr. Tukur said the media reported that governors who had visited Mr. Obasanjo and two former military leaders demanded his sack.

'We do not know the veracity of this claim, suffice it to say however that, the governors have the fundamental right to meet and discuss with each other and whomsoever they like and may also have the fundamental right to freedom of speech and to air their views on any issue of National importance,' the statement said.

'However, in so doing one would expect them to make comments with decorum, humility and caution. As Leaders whom the general public look upon as a role model, they are expected to show respect to constituted authority and the elders which includes Alhaji Dr. Bamanga Tukur who have contributed immensely to the peace progress, development and advancement of this country.

'Much as the Constitution guarantees certain fundamental freedom, such as freedom of speech and assembly. There are Constitutional limitations to this freedom and the Leaders should show wisdom, caution, prudence and good counsel in their comments on National issues as their unguided utterances and calls can cause unnecessary political tension.'

The chairman also noted that the PDP had just floated a National Reconciliation Committee, NRC, to resolve conflicts in it.

According to the statement, Mr. Tukur reminded the governors that the party on whose platform they were elected, has avenues and internal mechanism for conflict resolution and grievances, and advised them to avail themselves of the avenues before seeking audience or making public utterances.

'It is also important to emphasize that the PDP, as a political platform upon which the governors were elected have avenues and internal mechanism for resolution of conflicts and grievances, the Governors are therefore advised as Party -men to avail themselves of these avenues before seeking audience or making public utterances capable of overheating the polity.

'More importantly, the PDP has a reconciliation Committee entrusted with the task of conflict resolution in the Party.'

'The governors by their action and utterances have shown contempt to this committee by not deeming it necessary or worthy to take their grievances to the reconciliation Committee.

'One would have expected the governors to express their grievances privately to the Party Leadership or the reconciliation Committee instead of going public with their grievances before seeking audience with other Nigerian leaders.

'There is no doubt that the governors peripatetic vision have contributed in no small measure to overheating the polity,' the statement noted.

The statement further said that, 'The National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Dr. Bamanga Tukur has tried all in his power to bring peace, tranquility and love in the PDP.

'His 3 cardinal policies of Reconciliation, Reformation and Rebuilding are aimed at giving all members of the Party a sense of belonging.

'The National Chairman also has an open door policy and accommodation for all shades of opinion within the Party. It is unfortunate that these governors are demanding Tukur's removal when Tukur has made immense sacrifices for the peace and progress of the PDP and had extended his peculiar kind of brotherly love to all Party men and women.

'The governors are hereby advised to embrace peace and desist from dramatizing the few problems within our democracy as these can send a wrong signal to Nigerians and the international Community.

'The governors as party faithful and responsible citizens of this country holding exalted positions should desist from any action that tends to overheat the polity and truncate our nascent democratic structure.

'Be it known that Alhaji Bamanga Tukur is a true and committed democratic, patriotic Nigerian, a first-class Nationalist and an elder statesman of international repute whose cardinal aim is to protect our nascent democracy, protect the indivisibility of our Country and ensure the progress of our great Party the PDP.'