A major crack has occurred in the camp of President Goodluck Jonathan as two of his main backers in the south-south region appear to have disagreed on the handling of the festering crisis in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
A pro-Jonathan group, Congress for Equality and Change led by former federal commissioner of information Chief Edwin Clark, yesterday chided the chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih, for admitting that some of the aggrieved governors had genuine grievances.
Clark’s attack on Anenih came as Anenih himself cautioned the national chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, against making inflammatory statements that could undermine the ongoing peace talks in the party.
In a communiqué signed by the chairman of the group, Senator Ameh Ebute, the group told Anenih to “distance himself from the demands of the so-called aggrieved governors and join Alhaji Bamanga Tukur to work for the party in truth and spirit”.
Anenih had on Tuesday admitted that some of the complaints of the governors who have been up in arms against both Tukur and Jonathan were genuine.
As the pro-Jonathan camp appears to be speaking in different tones, the Alhaji Kawu Baraje camp has threatened that Tukur could end up in jail.
The Clark group faulted some alleged grievances expressed by the governors: “For instance, the claim by the governors that President Jonathan should award the governors, their cronies and family perpetual injunction from EFCC and police prosecution against corruption, embezzlement of public funds and criminal enrichment is condemnable; we wonder how the President could stop EFCC from investigating people alleged to have engaged in corruption.
“Also, the demand that the President should renounce his 2015 presidential re-election bid in spite of his eligibility to contest is very condemnable. They insisted that the call for Tukur’s resignation cannot be a thing that someone should liken to a genuine grievance.”
Tukur to Atiku, govs, others: Come back or PDP train will leave you behind
In what appears as a rapprochement to aggrieved Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members, the national chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, has urged the members of the new PDP to retrace their steps now or else the PDP train will leave them behind.
In a charge to former vice president Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, seven PDP governors and National Assembly members who have floated and aligned with the new PDP, Tukur, who described them as prodigal sons and daughters, said even if they returned they would face the consequences of their actions.
Tukur stated this yesterday during his opening remark at a seminar jointly organised by the offices of national woman leader and youth leader of the party for all women and youth leaders in the party drawn from the 36 states of the federation. Some female ministers, legislators and former women leaders were also present.
He said: “What is going on in the party is something of concern, but it is also something that can happen in a family. You can quarrel but all should really be resolved within the house, not outside. Anyone who has a son or daughter who left, we call them prodigal son or daughter. If they come back, we can say welcome back prodigal son; we will get you around and tell you, you are still accepted because, at PDP, you are always regarded as a son or daughter.
“But, of course, if you are coming back you will also face the consequences for taking a wrong step. You have to reconnect and correct your wrong step. If you don’t, the PDP train will move without you.”
In her own comment, the national PDP woman leader, Mrs Kema Chikwe, said the party was facing challenging times because of the “morbid quest for power by unreasonable members of the party”.
She said, “You have to ask yourself on whose side are you on?”
She further noted that the PDP has done so much for Nigeria and had provided a ladder for many Nigerians to attain high positions. “PDP deserves appreciation from Nigerians to be protected with passion.”
She further charged the women and youths to stand by the PDP, adding that only the party has consolidated political structures right from the ward to national level.
Baraje faction threatens to seek jail term for Tukur
Amidst the war of words, the Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje-led PDP yesterday said their lawyers would file a contempt charge against Alhaji Bamanga Tukur for disobeying the orders of a Lagos high court by commenting on the crisis within the party after a court order which asked both factions to maintain the status quo pending the resolution of the case over who the authentic leader of the party is.
The factional party stated this through a statement by the national secretary of the PDP under Baraje, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, condemning the call by Tukur in Abuja. Last Wednesday, Tukur threatened to sack members of the National Assembly for siding with the Baraje faction. Tukur also threatened the arrest of the new PDP officials.
But the factional party said the call by Tukur for sack of National Assembly members of the new PDP smacks of his disdain for law. They further reminded Tukur that members of the National Assembly were elected by the people of Nigeria and are not his appointees whom he could dismiss.
The statement said: “We have asked our lawyers to press contempt charges against Tukur because his statement was made in clear contempt of the orders of a Lagos high court which, three days ago, asked both sides to maintain the status quo. We will ask the court to commit him to jail for his disdain for the law and the judicial system.
“We have always been saying it that Tukur represents everything that must not be seen in a democratic organisation. His statement demonstrates not just impunity but also lawlessness and crass ignorance of the tenets of the law and democratic ethos.
“Tukur displayed his disdain for law and order with his threat to order the arrest of law-abiding persons in a democracy. We ask what powers he has under our laws to make that statement and what gave him the impression that Nigeria has become a police state where impunity reigns and citizens can be arrested at the whim of any power-drunk tzar? Fortunately, our country is a democracy under the rule of law and not under the rule of man. The police and our other security agencies cannot be used to further such agenda as being nurtured in the dictatorial mind of Tukur.
“Again, we believe only an ignorant person would threaten to sack elected senators and representatives for staying on the side of truth, justice and fairness. Tukur needs to be reminded that members of the National Assembly were elected by the people of Nigeria and are not his appointees who he could dismiss like the minions in his private residence.
“He called the Alhaji Baraje-led leadership of our party impostors and we ask him if he does not know that the endorsement of our cause by elected representatives of our people across all tiers of government has vindicated our position that what we represent in the party today is what the people want. We challenge him to call out those who are with him in his clear journey to perdition even as we add that Tukur should come to terms with the reality of the end of his reign of terror, impunity, dictatorship and lawlessness in our party.”
“On our part, we re-assert our commitment to the consolidation of democracy, peace, love, unity; people-centred development and, above all, the rule of law in our march towards progress and development. More importantly, we assure our teeming associates and well wishers that we shall conduct our party’s business with patriotism, resourcefulness, truth, justice and fair play as demanded of a political organisation with a vision and mission.”
Stop Disrespecting Jonathan by inflammatory statements, Anenih cautions
As the crisis within the PDP shifted to the courts, the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the party, Chief Tony Anenih, yesterday said the barrage of legal cases and provocative statements emanating from both factions of the party was disrespectful to President Goodluck Jonathan.
Anenih, in a statement yesterday, while calling for caution from both factions over heated statements expressed concern that such statements were uncalled for in the face of reconciliatory efforts by all stakeholders.
Both factions led by Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and Alhaji Kawu Baraje have been enmeshed in a series of legal battles over the soul of the party after the walkout staged by seven governors and former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
But displeased with the outbursts and court cases, Anenih said: “Following the walkout staged by some aggrieved members of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), at the Special Convention of 31st August, 2013, there have been genuine efforts by the leadership of the party, including the President himself, to reach out and reconcile with the aggrieved members, using the numerous mechanisms for conflict resolution that exist in the party. A series of meetings have been held and more are scheduled to hold in the next few days.
“It is unfortunate that while the reconciliatory efforts are being made, some of our members are making inflammatory statements, intimidating one another and issuing threats of court actions. Such actions do nothing but harm the efforts at reconciliation.
“Like a good family, we must avoid open confrontation and allow the leadership of the party to effect genuine reconciliation. Conflict is not new to the PDP and, as in the past, I am confident that, in spite of the differences, the current one will be resolved, with the party coming out even stronger and more united than ever.
“To make pre-emptive statements while the process of reconciliation is still on is disrespectful not only to the President but to the party leadership. Such statements undermine the party and the enormous efforts being made under the transformation agenda of Mr. President.”
He further asked “all members of our great party to exercise restraint throughout this trying period”.
We’ll encourage politics of inclusion – Kwankwaso
Kano State governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso has said that the new PDP will ensure politics of inclusion and effect reforms and necessary changes that will accommodate the aspiration of the people in tune with the PDP founding fathers’ vision.
Kwankwaso stated this in Kano yesterday while addressing stakeholders as part of state consultation following the announcement of the factional leadership of PDP.
According to the governor, the Kawu Baraje-led PDP is the authentic faction of the party on the grounds that the election of Tukur as chairman of PDP was illegal as he was not qualified while his return to the party contravened the PDP constitution.
According to Kwankwaso, the Tukur-led PDP has no regard for the constitution and manifestoes of the party which caused the recent division in the party.
Among other injustices done to Kano PDP, said the governor in Abuja, was the fact that from 2010 to date, none of the nominations of the PDP-led administration in Kano was accepted and given leadership position by the President Goodluck administration.
Kwankwaso said: “Party is about interest, so also is politics. Therefore we cannot fold our arms and see our party drifting and if resolution did not come at the end of the day, we will do something in 2015 election.”
He added that the seven governors, having realised the weakness in the party, decided to rescue it to make it a better party, arguing that they had earlier done their best to make PDP leadership in Abuja know their demands and worries but they were not listened to.
Kwankwaso stated their resolve in ensuring equity and justice in PDP and appealed to all governors to support the authentic PDP faction’s move in bringing PDP back to glory and bringing development to Nigeria.
He thanked members of the National Assembly who identified with the faction of PDP leadership.
APC: We welcome PDP aggrieved governors, others
All Progressives Congress (APC) throws its door opens to the aggrieved chieftains and seven governors of the strive-torn ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) even as it denies being behind the crises rocking the party.
The Interim National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed made this known to newsmen in Abuja at the national secretariat yesterday after the meeting held between the interim national executive committee of the party and its governors where Senator Chris Ngige was given the certificate of returns as the party’s candidate for the November governorship poll.
Mohammed regretted that his party is being accused by some PDP chieftains of being the masterminds of the crises but said his party was not surprised with the unfolding scenario in PDP but asks the aggrieved to decamp to APC.
“It is unfortunate that some people are accusing APC as the brain behind the PDP crisis, they are saying those aggrieved governors are using the script of APC. It is not true but we are not surprised with what is happening in PDP, we saw it coming. Be that as it may, our doors are open to the aggrieved governors, they should leave the crisis-ridden PDP and join APC.”
On whether the APC governors and their PDP counterparts are already making contact or not, the APC spokesman explained that they were both members of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum hence making contacts among themselves could not be ruled out.
He disclosed that the essence of the meeting was for the Interim NEC of the party to brief the governors about the on-going registration of membership including how to get structures for the party at the state level.
Presenting the certificate of returns to Ngige, the National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande said, “the Interim National Executive Committee of APC is hereby presenting the certificate of returns to Senator Chris Ngige as the candidate of APC for the governorship election in Anambra with the hope that he is the next governor of that state.”
He later welcome 22 state chairmen of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and five members of the national working committee of the party who have just decamped to the party. Akande charged them all to be involved in the registration drive of membership of APC.