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GEJ Congratulates Tukur, Other PDP Leaders …As Aggrieved Members Vow Cause Trouble

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President Goodluck Jonathan has congratulated the newly elected People's Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman, Dr. Bamanga Tukur and the National Secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who will be at the apex of the party's leadership for the next four years.

Jonathan, who said this while delivering a speech at the just concluded 9th National Convention of the PDP on Saturday at the Eagle Square, Abuja, also congratulated other leaders at the wards, Local Government, State, and Zonal levels, as well as the National officers and Members of the National Working Committee.

He told them to continue to lead by example with an utmost sense of responsibility in order to set the pace in the march to consolidate and stabilizeNigeria's democracy.

'Unity speaks to the greatness of our party and will make us greater still. This is the time; this is the moment to build afresh from within.  I urge all our members to remain united and place the party's interest above personal ambition.

'In the political history of our dear country since independence in 1960, the PDP is the only party that has united Nigerians across all the geo-political zones.  It is a national party that reflects the diversities of our cultures and religions.  Although our party makes no claim to perfection, it has helped to nurture our democracy in the last 13 years by providing a common platform for all interest groups to realize their dreams and aspirations within the Nigerian Federation. 

'We enjoin those who have now been entrusted with the mantle of leadership after them to follow their footsteps by working hard to position our party for the pressing tasks ahead. In our electoral processes we must not deviate from the tenets of free, fair and credible elections.

'We should continue to enforce discipline within our party and guard against conduct that can bring the party into disrepute. We must be a party where internal discipline is supreme and a guiding anchor of our processes.  We must eschew bickering and remain united in the pursuit of our goals and resist the temptation to allow inordinate ambition and what appears to be a growing obsession with the politics of succession in 2015, to cause disaffection within our ranks.

'Party rules must be enforced until they are changed, and such rules must apply to all members equally. The doctrine of the supremacy of the party may seem over-flogged, but my belief is that party members, wherever they may be, must be seen to be more supportive of our government, and the administration's Transformation Agenda.

'The restoration of democracy and constitutional rule in 1999 has returned the country to the path of sustainable development and steady economic growth. As leaders, we have to continue to make concerted efforts and sacrifices to build our economy as the basis to stabilize and consolidate our democracy.  The PDP must be driven by issues of development and must align its reform agenda to current realities, in our quest to build a modern and prosperous economy.

However, /  understands that some aggrieved members of the PDP are dissatisfied with the imposition of candidates and that Alhaji Bamanga Tukur has been forced down the party's neck as its new National chairman even when he was rejected at home.

But head of the electoral panel at the just concluded convention, and Minister of Defence, Bello Haliru Mohammed, said while some of the positions were contested for, others were simply by consensus, adding although other contestants for the national chairmanship position, had stepped down controversially, the party still held a yes vote in favour of Turkur who was allegedly beaten in his North-east zonal congress.

Some of the delegates who eased their grievances with still believe that the role played by President Goodluck Jonathan in the emergence of Tukur and Oyinlola may just be the beginning of a crisis that would soon rear its head and that the party would henceforth be faced with the task of reconciling aggrieved members who are already planning to make the seat hot for the new chairman.

"My brother, please ask yourself why a man of Tukur's age would still be desperate for the chairmanship position of the party instead of becoming an elder statesman and play the responsible role of advising others.

"This is the same man who was heavily rejected in his domain. Nigerians would soon begin to wake up to the fact that the powers that be have planted Tukur to achieve their selfish goals and this was what the governors of the North-east kicked against with their action against Tukur.

"It's been realised that there is a set goal which would start unfolding soon. The northern governors have seen this and since Tukur has been forced on us, we shall begin to device other plans to counter theirs. How can the 10 other contestants for the position be forced to step down?"

'Other contestants were cajoled 'behind the scene to step down'. Some of those governors who came out to say it was democratic also know the truth. They are aware of the magnitude of wahala this convention would cause if not handled well", a senior party officials explained.

Though Oyinlola, who is a former Governor of Osun state, won the position of the National Secretary of the party after battling the position with two other people including a former Minister of Police Affairs, Dapo Sarumi, the aggrieved party members believe that the President used his powers against the popular wish of the people.

Our source said that Oyinlola suddenly appeared in Abuja for the screening on Friday evening to the chagrin of other contestants. His action, according to the sources resulted in open complaints "as the delegates and contestants became aware that he was being favoured from the top.

According to another party member from Lagos state, "When Jonathan visited the PDP National Secretariat days ago, he gave us his words that the principle of fairness would play out during the convention. He told us that everyone would have equal chances of being voted for and even came out to say he was not endorsing anybody. But you could see that all those who stepped down publicly claimed they were mandated to do so. How democratic is this?" source's position was confirmed by the immediate past National Publicity Secretary of the party, Ahmed Rufai Alkali, who said as a candidate for the chairmanship position, he had to step down after a "rigorous persuasion and consultations" to do so.