PDP crisis: Tukur to know fate Jan. 8

Semiu Salami
Semiu Salami
Bamanga Tukur

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has summoned a meeting of its National Executive Committee (NEC), for January 8.

On the agenda are National Chairman Bamanga Tukur’s fate and report on the talks between President Goodluck Jonathan and some aggrieved governors whose number has reduced from seven to two in the last three weeks.

However, while the party is preparing for an epic NEC session, about seven of the remaining 18 PDP governors have reached out to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo for direction on the party’s future and the 2015 poll.

The NEC is expected to deliberate on issues bordering on the crisis in the party, the defection of five governors to the All Progressives Congress(APC), whether or not it is expedient for Tukur to step aside, and how to reposition the party for the 2015 elections.

It was gathered that the agitation for and against Tukur’s exit might take the centre stage.

There had been disagreement between the Presidency and some PDP governors who have been calling for Tukur’s removal, with the governors recommending a choice ambassadorial posting as an exit package for Tukur.

But some governors, the strategists of the President and First Lady Patience Jonathan were said to have kicked against Tukur’s removal.

They said those calling for Tukur’s ouster were setting booby traps for the President to deny him a second term ticket on the platform of the PDP.

A top member of the party, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, said: “We have received the notice of the January 8 NEC meeting. This will be preceded by a meeting of the Board of Trustees on January 7.

“This meeting is crucial because of events of the past four months, which led to the defection of five governors and some members of the National Assembly and state Houses of Assembly.

“The NEC will consider a report or brief from Jonathan and his perspective on the way forward for PDP. It is on that day we will know his terms for peace with the aggrieved governors.

“If the President is amenable to reconciliation, it may set a new tone for the party, but if otherwise, it may lead to more defections.

“The President’s peace terms are likely to determine the position of Governors Sule Lamido (Jigawa) and Babangida Aliyu (Niger) who are yet to leave the PDP.”

The NEC may also revisit the threats to its strength in the National Assembly because more lawmakers may defect to APC in March.

“It is going to be a dangerous precedent to lose the control of the Senate and House of Representatives to the opposition,” a source said, adding:

“Yet, we cannot pretend that APC is not a threat, irrespective of our attempt to underplay the unfolding scenario.

“We may also seek a working alliance with some parties in the National Assembly, like the defunct accord between the defunct National Party of Nigeria(NPN) and the Nigeria Peoples Party((NPP).”

Ahead of the NEC meeting, seven of the remaining governors of the PDP have reached out to Obasanjo for direction on the future of the party and the 2015 poll.

The governors are from the Southsouth, Southeast, Northcentral and Northwest.

It was learnt that the governors discreetly opened talks with Obasanjo following the tough attitude of the Presidency on the crisis in PDP and the 2015 poll.

One of the governors from the Southsouth was said to have resented the development in the country and tabled some issues for Obasanjo to address to guide him to decide on 2015.

A source said: “Some of them, who endorsed the contents of Obasanjo’s letter, also explained why they could not come out early to state their position.

“Obasanjo’s advice will guide them to make their mind on or before March 2014. You can see that not all the governors in the party are fixated on the situation in PDP or the senior prefect attitude of the Presidency.”

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