|Alhaji Bamanga Tukur|
Politicians are known to be boastful. The former National Chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, is not an exception. Even when it was clear that the drummers who were playing music for him had since dropped their drums and were no longer ready to sing his praises, Tukur soldiered on. He believed that the tide could still change and he would retain his much-treasured exalted position.
Thus, when he had even dropped his resignation letter, Tukur said he was still in power. He told the unsuspecting journalists at the State House that he had not dropped his resignation letter.
Perhaps, he had thought that the tide could still change and those who wanted his downfall would have a change of heart. How wrong he was.
While he was not sleeping, his enemies were also planning. Just as he set up a panel of eminent persons from his home state to reach out to Governors Jonah Jang of Plateau State, and Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, his enemies were also plotting how to thwart that move.
The two governors were picked for strategic reasons. Those reasons, according to investigation, included the fact that Jang is heading a faction of the Nigeria Governors Forum, which is recognised by President Goodluck Jonathan while Akpabio is the chairman of the PDP Governors Forum.
The committee was made up of retired Air Commodore Dan Suleiman, General Anthony Haladu Hanaiya, Dr. Umar Ardo and Wilberforce Juta.
Before the committee could reach the two governors, Tukur’s enemies had mobilised the 37 state chairmen of the party, who at an emergency meeting, passed a vote of no confidence in him.
One of the chairmen, who spoke with our correspondent but asked not to be named, said with this decision, Tukur would have no option but to resign before or at the National Executive Committee meeting that was held in Abuja on Thursday.
He said, “You can see what we have done tonight. The passing of vote of no confidence in Tukur signifies the end of his tenure. We are going to meet with the President tomorrow and tell him our resolution. We won’t allow him to kill the party before asking him to leave. Enough of this rubbish.”
As this was going on, majority of the members of the National Working Committee of the party, which Tukur was heading, were also laying ambush for him. They had refused to be part of the meeting he called on Monday.
Our correspondent, who was at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja, observed that majority of the national officers of the party were within the premises but refused to honour the meeting called by Tukur. Tukur was however joined by three other officers namely, National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo; National Treasurer, Bala Buhari; and the National Auditor, Mr. Adewole Adeyanju.
But the four party officers were unable to deliberate on any issue because they didn’t form the needed quorum as stipulated in the party’s constitution. The NWC consists of 12 people and to form a quorum, eight of them should be in attendance at the meeting. Part V111 (4) of the constitution says that “The quorum of the National Working Committee meeting shall be two-third of membership drawn from at least two third of the zones in the country and a simple majority shall pass any motion.”
Investigations by our correspondent showed that after waiting till 12.43pm, Tukur decided to call off the meeting. He drove in his convoy with his security details out of the party secretariat around 12.46pm. The national chairman refused to acknowledge greetings from security men and employees of the party while leaving. However, as soon as the national chairman left, other national officers of the party, apart from the Deputy National Secretary, Mr. Solomon Onwe, called another meeting where they met briefly.
Onwe, who was seen briefly within the party’ secretariat, was said to have “cleverly left” as he was said not be seen to be fraternising with any of the groups. Those in attendance at the second meeting were the Deputy National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus; National Youth Leader, Abdulahi Mainasira; National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh; National Financial Secretary, Mr. Bolaji Anani; National Organising Secretary, Alhaji Abubakar Mustapha; and the National Legal Adviser, Mr. Victor Kwon.
Tukur had stepped on so many toes in his short stay in office. Apart from the numerous grudges by the NWC members over his leadership style which they silently described as being high-handed, he was also accused of not holding meetings regularly and not carrying them along while taking major decisions like the sacking of state executives, equating his (Tukur’s) personal assistants with them and others.
Before then, the five governors that defected from the party had also complained about his leadership. The governors, Rotimi Amaechi(Rivers); Rabiu Kwankwanso (Kano); Murtala Nyako(Adamawa); Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara); and Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto) had defected to the All Progressives Congress, claiming that the leadership of the PDP was autocratic. Few weeks ago, 37 members of the House of Representatives also left the PDP to join the APC while 27 out of the 30 members of the Sokoto State House of Assembly also left the ruling party.
Even with this, the governors of the party and the Presidency were not moved. However, it was learnt that Tukur incurred the wrath of the governors when he started courting the enemies of some of the serving governors with the hope of giving them the party’s governorship ticket in 2015.
The governors became apprehensive, thinking that they might not be allowed to have a say in who succeeds them. That was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. The governors met, took a decision that it would be suicidal for them if they would not have any say on who succeeds them.
That was why they joined hands with Tukur’s enemies and supported those clamouring for his removal. When they did, the pleas by his supporters led by the wife of the President, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, were ignored. Now, Tukur has joined the league of former national chairmen of the party who left office unceremoniously.
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