Tukur: One Week one trouble
It was the kind of crises that critics of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur had warned would be replete with him as national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Though the Wadata national secretariat of the party had won its position as a crisis management centre in Abuja, such crises were albeit, known to be periodical, especially during election periods. However, under Tukur crisis management is about turning into a weekly endeavour of the party even though general elections are still far off.
The spate of crisis is reflected in the seeming nonchalance of very prominent party figures for activities conducted by the national secretariat. When the party celebrated its landmark grand reconciliation last May, 21 of the 24 governors of the party boycotted the event.
Three days after that fiasco on May 24, the governor of Rivers State, Hon. Chibuke Amaechi was suspended from the party on Monday, May 27 after an emergency meeting of the NWC in Tukur's Maitama residence in Abuja.
The following week, June 5 the NWC suspended the governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko allegedly for among others, not answering the telephone call of the national chairman.
After a lull, in part filled with the resignation of the majority of the members of the NWC on account of the internal crisis in the party, the interim NWC still led by Tukur last Monday at an emergency meeting in Abuja raised the bar when it annulled plans for the special national convention called to fill the positions arising from the resignations.
With it, Tukur was believed to have gone too far.
The NWC's terse statement suspending the special convention had been preceded with brushes with the Special National Convention Planning Committee led by Prof. Jerry Gana with Akwa Ibom governor, Chief Godswill Akpbabio as his deputy and Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the deputy president of the Senate as secretary.
PDP National Chairman, Dr Bamanga Tukur
The committee with other party heavyweights including Dr. Babayo Shehu among others had been the subject of several attacks from the Tukur led NWC who believed that the convention committee should subject its plans and purposes to Tukur.
The committee members, however, demurred leading to face-offs culminating in the reported order by the party hierarchy that the convention committee should be locked out of their temporary secretariat at the Legacy House belonging to the party.
As the face-off festered, senior party officials including Chief Anthony Anenih, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, BoT waded in behind the scenes, and that it was alleged, led to Gana and Ekweremadu seeking a private audience with Tukur penultimate Thursday to explain their activities.
However, when the duo arrived Tukur's Maitama residence they were locked out as they were told that the national chairman was not at home and had traveled to his country home in Adamawa State.
Surprisingly, the same Tukur was said to have held a meeting hours later with some members of the Gana committee.
The national chairman was reported to have been riled by the decision of the Gana committee to fix the national convention for August 31 and the Southwest zonal congress for August 24.
Whatever it was that had been troubling the national chairman and his senior allies in the NWC burst out last Monday after an emergency meeting at which the cancellation of the national convention was announced.
'In view of the anomalies and breaches of the constitution of the PDP observed in the actions so far taken by the Special National Convention Planning Committee, the NWC has directed the Committee to put on hold all activities relating to the Special South West Zonal Congresses and the Special National Convention pending the regularization of the anomalies and breaches so as to forestall a repeat of the events that affected the Party's Convention in 2012.
'Consequently the dates recently announced by the Planning Committee are in the circumstances untenable,' the interim national publicity secretary, Mr. Tony Okeke announced.
Even strangely, Gana was not informed prior to the announcement as Vanguard broke the news to the shocked chairman of the convention committee.
The announcement sent shock waves across the party. One very senior party stakeholder told Vanguard that Monday that Tukur may have become an enemy determined to destroy the party for the benefit of the opposition.
Another alleged that Tukur may have been pushed by some members of the interim NWC who want to extend their time in office.
Yet others alleged a conspiracy between Tukur and some of the interim NWC members. At the centre of the alleged conspiracy was that Tukur based on his difficulties with some of the former NWC members did not want them back to their former offices and was allegedly annoyed that the Gana committee went on to reaffirm the zoning formula used in the March 2012 convention that brought him and them to office.
Following the development President Goodluck Jonathan same Monday, summoned a meeting for party stakeholders in the presidential villa.
At that meeting the president was reported to have expressed his disappointment at the actions of the national chairman and the NWC and ordered that the convention plans should go ahead as scheduled by the Gana committee.
President Jonathan, however, gave one concession to Tukur as he urged the Gana committee to give committee positions to members of the interim NWC.
The president's intervention nonetheless, the prospects for the August 24 Southwest convention remain hazy upon continuing frictions among party leaders and stakeholders from the zone.
The erstwhile national secretary of the party Chief Olagunsoye Oyinola who was nominated from the zone ahead of the March 2012 convention has kicked against moves by the party to fill the position with another person before the final determination of court processes initiated by him to get redress following his sack by the courts last January.
Prof. Adewale Oladipo who was last week nominated by some stakeholders from the Southwest as the replacement for Oyinlola has been opposed by some other strategic stakeholders including party leaders from Lagos State.