PDP CHAIRMANSHIP SEAT: PRESIDENCY DRAFTS ANENIH, SARAKI FOR TUKUR
LAGOS- Political associates around President Goodluck Jonathan are promoting the aspiration of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur for the national chairmanship of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Towards that aim, the presidency has farmed out its forces to market the aspiration of Tukur using the erstwhile chairman of the board of trustees of the party, Chief Tony Anenih and erstwhile chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Senator Bola Saraki as its linchpins.
L-R: Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State, Minister for Interior, Hon. Abba Moro, Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Arch. Yomi Awoniyi and Senator Bukola Saraki during the North Central Zone meeting of PDP at the Senate President's House, Abuja.
A number of Governors notably from the South-South it was learnt yesterday, have bought into the presidential scheme. The PDP Governors are, however, putting off a decision on the issue until after this weekend's state congresses of the party.
Multiple sources in the party have nevertheless confirmed that the presidency is in full throttle behind Tukur, alleging that Anenih and Saraki were in the forefront of the campaign.
Tukur, it was gathered, first got the interest of the presidency on the basis of his experience and reach as a politician and statesman.
'At this period you know the best and most mature persons are needed to guide us,' a member of the party's National Executive Committee, NEC who is also supportive of the Tukur bid told Vanguard yesterday.
Another source close to the party and the presidency in confirming the Tukur alliance with the presidency said:
'He is seen as the person with the capacity to bring stability.'
Meanwhile, PDP governors with the notable exception of a few are waiting till after this weekend's state congresses to take a position on the issue of the national chairman of the party.
'The position of the governors is that they should wait till after the state congresses before the issue of the national exco should be discussed,' a top associate of one of the governors told Vanguard yesterday.
Governor Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State told Tukur during a courtesy call on him yesterday that the Sokoto PDP would wait for Abuja to give the nod on its inclination in the contest.
'As loyal people, we in Sokoto State are waiting for a directive from the national headquarters of our great party,' Wamakko said.
Tukur was escorted to the Government House by some of his top associates including Senator Umar Saidu, Senator Hamusu Gumel, Alhaji Habu Fari and Dr. Kema Chikwe who was endorsed by the Imo State executive of the party for the position of National Women Leader which is zoned to Imo State.
Some other governors are, however, forging ahead with their independent campaigns for their preferred candidates. Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State it was learnt yesterday, may have dumped his predecessor, Adamu Mu'azu in favour of the acting national secretary of the party, Dr. Babayo Shehu.
A top associate of Governor Yuguda told Vanguard yesterday that the Bauchi PDP was now in full throttle pushing the aspiration of Babayo.
'He is our own and oga is backing him to the hilt,' a top aide of Yuguda told Vanguard last night.
Tukur and Atiku
As the next national chairman is expected to conduct the presidential primaries to produce the party's candidate for the 2015 election, the presidential minders were said to be propping Tukur on the basis that it would make it inconvenient for former Vice-President Abubakar Atiku who is also from Adamawa to forward his ambition.
It was not clear as at press time what factors could have instigated the presidency on the mission to stop Atiku or what wing of the presidency may have inspired the alleged move.
But denying any conspiracy against Atiku as the figment of the imagination of political tale bearers, Presidency's spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati said yesterday:
'I don't know about that, it must be some people spreading their own kind of information to serve their own purpose. The President to the best of my knowledge has not come out publicly to say that he is backing anybody. So I think people should desist from speculations and trying to imagine situations to suit their own purpose.
'The President and former Vice-President Atiku have the best of relationships. In some of the events that the President attended in recent times, former Vice-President Atiku played prominent roles there, so there is no issue between the two of them.
'We must all know that the choice of party chairman and other officers is a democratic process and so people will tend to husssle and fly all sorts of kites to adopt all sorts of strategies to suit their own purposes, but nobody should drag the President into any thing for their own advantage.'