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Defection of five governors shocking – Tukur

National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, yesterday, expressed shock at the defection of five governors on the platform of the party to the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, declaring that the governors went too far by dumping the ruling party.

The governors of Rivers, Adamawa, Kwara, Kano and Sokoto states alongside leaders of the Abubakar Baraje-led faction of the PDP announced on Tuesday that they have dumped the PDP and were on the verge of merging with APC.

However, the Baraje-led group clarified, yesterday, it was still available for reconciliation and peace moves with the Bamanga Tukur-led National Working Committee, NWC and could back out of the proposed merger with the APC if the reconciliation succeeds.

Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
Former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida in his reaction threw his weight behind the governors’s action, saying it is good for democracy even as three of the governors, Governors Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers, Ahmed Abdulfatah of Kwara and Murtala Nyako of Adamawa gave reasons why they decamped.

Reacting to the exit of some of his governors, Tukur, yesterday, urged willing members of the G7 and other aggrieved members of PDP to return to the party against the backdrop that PDP would always be eager to welcome back all returnees with happiness.

According to Tukur, the decision of the governors was least expected because it happened at a time the doors of negotiations and dialogue were kept wide open by President Goodluck Jonathan and the party for all.

Tukur who noted that the PDP never takes delight in having its key members defect into the opposition party, said that those who did so had exercised their fundamental rights to associate as guaranteed by the law.

Tukur, currently in China on the invitation of the government of the Peoples Republic of China said he was in constant touch with the presidency and party leaders on the development, even as he assured party members that the turn of events was normal in a democracy, adding that party leaders would always put heads together to salvage PDP and further its desire to remain in power.

There is limit to anger — Tukur

In a statement, yesterday, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur said: “There is always a limit to demonstration of anger. If anger can cause you to pack all your bags and loads and then move into the home of your arch opponents, that to me is an anger so misdirected and it is unfortunate.

“We cannot ask anyone not to leave the party if he so decided. After all soldiers go, soldiers come. If any one leaves the PDP, many more people will join, it happens every time. All the same, I seize this opportunity to say to others who want to remain to stay back and join the process of re-building and reforming PDP”.

The PDP chairman who insisted that the turn of events would not halt the ongoing reforms within the party and the desire by the leadership to entrench party supremacy, discipline and cohesion, said: “I am currently in China to study some modern day models of development that China can offer on party organization and good governance. I have taken note of so many things here. We will adopt the good ones to complement the reform process that is ongoing in PDP.

“We cannot do it alone. We need the cooperation of the party and the cooperation of every member so that we can leave the primitive stage we always find ourselves and then link up with modernity.

“What we are saying is let us come together as a party to promote the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan who we elected to lead us in Nigeria.

“Let us put behind us those successions of crises and bickerings so that the President and leaders of the party could concentrate on governance and delivery of the dividends of democracy to all.”

IBB backs decamping governors

Former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida on his part threw his weight behind Tuesday’s defection of five of the G7 aggrieved governors of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Answering questions from journalists, yesterday, after the launch of the book, titled: “Landmark Constitutional Law Cases in Nigeria 2004-2007: The Atiku Abubakar Cases”, at Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, Babangida who described the action as good for democracy and democracy in action, simply said, “it is good for democracy, it is democracy in action.”

When asked further on what this defection portend for 2015, General Babangida who noted that 2015 was still far, stressed that we were presently in 2013 and yet to get to 2014, adding that action could be taken anytime and peace talks can still continue.

We’ve not Merged — G7 Govs, Baraje, others

Meanwhile, the Baraje-led group clarified yesterday that it was still open for reconciliation and peace moves with the Bamanga Tukur-led National Working Committee, NWC.

The group said that there was no merger with APC on Tuesday at Kano State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja, but a declaration of intent to merge.

Answering questions from journalists, yesterday on the development, the National Publicity Secretary of the group, Eze Chukwuemeka Eze noted that the event was misrepresented. He said that the parties have not signed any memorandum of understanding, even as he stressed that the parties in the alliance have just set up a committee to work on the conditions of the merger and that the report of the committee will be submitted to the steering committee on Tuesday.

Eze said: “It is only after we have signed the MOU that you can say we have merged. You guys should have asked us to list conditions of the merger. Can we merge without conditions?”

Eze explained that the phrase used by the chairman of the new PDP in his speech was that “we have agreed to work together, but it was Chief Bisi Akande who insisted on the use of the word merger. I want to tell you that the matter is not concluded. We have to share positions. We have to agree on what will come to us and what will go to them. That is what the committee is still working on and nobody has signed the MOU.”

Asked whether the new PDP will attend the peace meeting called by the president on Sunday, Eze noted that the new PDP will attend and that “all options are still on the table.”

According to him, “if the president agrees to our conditions, we have agreements on issues that created the crisis, then we will not sign the MOU on Tuesday. So from now till Tuesday, anything is still possible.

“If we meet on Sunday and our conditions are attended to, then the merger won’t go ahead. If Governor Amaechi is returned as NGF chairman, if the structures are returned to the governors of Adamawa, Kano and Rivers, then our leaders will look back and stop signing the MOU.”

Asked about reports that the new PDP was desperate, Eze accused Bamanga Tukur of making life difficult for the new PDP members, saying “it was the way we are being treated that is making everybody desperate. Who will not be desperate with the way we are being treated”?

Why we left PDP — Nyako, Ahmed, Amaechi

Governors Murtala Nyako, Abdulfatah Ahmed and Rotimi Amaechi of Adamawa, Kwara and RiversStates yesterday defended their decision to leave the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP for the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Speaking on arrival from Abuja yesterday, Governor Nyako said that no decent man could afford to remain in the PDP just as Governor Ahmed said that the PDP could no longer meet the aspirations of the people.

Speaking when he arrived yesterday, Governor Nyako insisted that the PDP and its leadership had disappointed Nigerians both at home and in diaspora by the high level of impunity and injustice in the party.

“No Nigerian no matter his level in the society today is comfortable with the way and manner the country is drifting. The image of the country is completely eroded at the international level and yet the PDP-led government and its operators are in Abuja making noise”, Nyako fumed.

The governor, whose official car was still flying the flag of the PDP cited the dissolution of the Adamawa executive of the party by “the decision of one man”, adding that all committees set up to look into that action by the President recommended the reversal of that decision but that no action was taken.

“We have written them (PDP) several times over this injustice and impunity. We have been negotiating for the past one year. We have been meeting with them but no positive result”, Nyako said.

On the decision by Governors Babangida Aliyu of Niger and Lamido Sule of Jigawa states to disassociate themselves from the merger, Nyako said the said governors would soon join the bandwagon, pointing out that they were just taking time to make consultations with their people. “It is not possible for decent people to remain in PDP with the way it is being run,” Nyako said.

He announced that part of the agreement reached with the APC was that the governors would be the leaders of the party in their respective states.

Governor Murtala Nyako disclosed that the way forward on his entry into the APC will be sealed at a meeting of stakeholders of the party in the state soonest.

Jubilation in Ilorin

Also yesterday, the news of the merger sent party faithful jubilating in Illorin the KwaraState capital.

Meanwhile, Governor Ahmed said, yesterday, that the PDP could no longer “meet our aspirations.” He spoke through his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Dr. Femi Akorede.

Earlier apprehension and anxiety over the position of KwaraState in the ongoing merger were put to rest when the former state chairman of the New Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) declared PDP dead in the state saying that the party has fully defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

There was much jubilation at the state secretariat along Nupe Road GRA in Ilorin, as party supporters from across the 16 local government areas in the state converged to solidarise with the leadership of the party on their defection into APC.

My problem with PDP — Amaechi

Governor Chibuike Amaechi has also said he joined the All Progressive Congress, APC because President Goodluck Jonathan failed to address issues raised by the G-7 governors.

Amaechi who spoke, yesterday, evening at the Port HarcourtInternationalAirport, Omagwa and in a broadcast, assured that the APC would protect the interest of all RiversState people, adding that the state had suffered untold neglect in the government of President Jonathan.

“RiversState must know that for me to have taken that decision, I had looked at the general interests of Rivers people. I was not elected to lead Nigeria, I was elected to lead RiversState and I had looked at the interests of Rivers people and have seen that these interests were not protected in PDP. I have seen the fact that we are losing our oil wells in Etche, in the Kalabari areas and that the more they continue to pilfer these oil wells, the more we will continue to lose our wealth”, he said.”

The governor who denied any face-off with President Jonathan said he did not join the APC to spite the President but to further interests of RiversState.

Continuing, he said the decision he and four other governors took to cross over to the APC was good for the nation’s democracy, stressing that it would move the nation forward.

“The governors met on Monday and decided that we must meet with the APC leadership and when we met with the APC leadership, it was important we took a position and the position we took is for the good of our democracy and ensure that Nigeria moves forward. We can’t continue the way we are, where we are. The picture painted by the PDP was as if we were begging to come back to PDP and issues were not being looked into, issues were not being resolved and it’s important that we resolve it one way or the other.

“The President and I have no personal quarrel, it’s important we put that in perspective. All the issues were issues that affect Rivers people, were issues that affect Nigerians and I am a Nigerian, I have to address those issues…he is my President and I respect him. I respect his office, respect him as a person, respect the fact that he’s older but then as elected governor of RiversState, I have the responsibility to lead RiversState.

‘If you look at what is going on, the Federal Government is not able to fund the states anymore. They say oil theft but oil theft is not enough reason for which we cannot fund ourselves.

“As per development in RiversState, we are about to commission about 300 primary schools, we are about to commission another 70 health centres to add to the 60 we commissioned before. We are about to commission the Kelsey Harrison hospital at Emenike Street, there is a new one inside Rivers State University of Science and Technology Campus, there is a partnership between us and NDDC for which we have paid NDDC about N960 million for the mother and child hospital and NDDC is expected to bring about N900 million to make it N1.8 billion for the hospital. The stadium is about to be completed, so development is actually going on. We are working”, he said.

Source - Vanguard

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