PDP UNFAIR TO ATIKU — BAMANGA TUKUR
A foundation member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and member, Board of Trustees (BoT), Alhaji Muhammadu Bamanga Tukur, has decried politics of exclusion being perpetrated over former Vice President Atiku Abubakar's status in the party.
The elderstatesman, who spoke with Daily Sun, in Yola, Adamawa State, also wondered why Dr. Alex Ekweme's reconciliation report designed to bring back all the aggrieved members was discarded. He questioned why the views of the revered members of the party like himself and other founders were not sought by the PDP leadership both at the national and state levels.
The former governor of the defunct Gongola State frowned at the way Atiku's re-entry into PDP was being handled by a group he described as a cabal, who never knew how the party was formed from its inception: 'They had the opportunity to be stakeholders and had misused their vantage positions by creating confusion left and right for political gains.'
Tukur stated that his kinsman, Atiku, was being unfairly treated and argued that if the former vice president offended the party, he should be tried in accordance with the party's constitution and not by an individual or a cabal.
The BoT member said that Atiku had been a member of the PDP and he should remain in the PDP despite the fact that he got out of the PDP. He said Atiku returned to reshape the party for the good of all as a foundation member: 'Nobody could stop him from being a member of the party because he has not offended the party's constitution.
'Truly, unless he offends the constitution of the party and it is the exclusive right of the party to judge him and not an individual. Nobody has the right to endorse Atiku's return to the PDP. Some of those parading themselves as deciders of fate of Atiku, where were they when Alex Ekweme, the late Sunday Awoniyi and myself were forming the PDP?
'We don't want a situation whereby they will bastardise the party because they found themselves in control of the party or they arrogate to themselves positions that are really not in our PDP constitution. But if you decide to come and take something and impose on people, it is unfair, it is unfair, it is unfair.'
For the party to regain its lost glory, the elder statesman maintained that Ekweme's reconciliation report must be implemented: 'It has given a new direction to bring back all those who were aggrieved. The report would help in consolidating the gains of democracy and internal democracy in the party.'
Tukur also decried non-holding of the BoT meetings in the open. He questioned why the ugly trend in a party that claimed to command the overwhelming acceptance of Nigerians or a party that prided itself as the largest party in Africa should allow that:
'As party members, they deserve to know who are their Board of Trustees members. If the media is asking them, the leaders of PDP will say the truth. Is there any company that will hide its board of directors, so, any company that will not register its own shareholders is not a serious company. Is it a serious company? Tell me please, is it a serious company?'
He stressed that the way Atiku's case is being handled negated the principles of democracy and capable of causing internal wrangling which Ekweme's report has guided against:
'It will destroy the party. A house divided is bound to be in disarray and is bound to fall. I wish not to be part of the fall that is why I am kicking against it if they will hear me.'
He regretted that nothing had been done to address the Ekweme report which he said has more or less become rhetorical, because as a member of the BoT, he never knew when Ekweme's report was presented for discussion or ractification.
He alleged that meetings were only held in people's compounds from one venue to the other which he said was not fair. Tukur claimed that he only read in the newspapers about certain decisions of the BoT, other than a common forum where every recognized member would be privileged to attend and contribute his/her best to the growth of the party:
'Does Nigeria not deserve to know who are the BoT members? You, the newsmen, should continue to ask them to tell the nation who are the BoT members of this or that political party.'