PDP Peace Moves Stall
Reconciliation efforts in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) run into hitches yesterday as scheduled high-level discussions were put off because of what Daily Trust learnt was relunctance of the aggrieved seven governors to participate.
President Goodluck Jonathan was due to meet with all state governors in the ruling party–including the seven who broke away from the mainstream party on Saturday–to continue fence-mending talks that began Sunday night.
But chairman of the party’s board of trustees Tony Anenih told journalists in Abuja yesterday that the talks were rescheduled to Tuesday next week on the request of the aggrieved governors who said they needed more time to make wider consultations.
He said the Presidency and the Bamanga Tukur-led side of the PDP would use the opportunity of the postponement to also consult widely in order to find ways of resolving the dispute.
“Part of the wider consultations is the meeting of selected party leaders with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on Friday morning and thereafter, we will meet with the governors on Tuesday next week,” he said.
“I believe some of them have genuine grievances; but I have hope that once the grievances are addressed, they will come back.”
Seven of PDP’s 23 governors, along with former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and dozens of federal lawmakers, broke away and formed the ‘New PDP’ on Saturday, citing persisting arbitrariness of Tukur with the backing of President Jonathan.
The ‘New PDP’ governors are Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers) and Murtala Nyako (Adamawa).
A source close to them said yesterday they were not willing to have any further discussions with the President, as they had exhausted all peace avenues before taking a decision to pull out. Only four of them attended the first set of discussions Sunday night.
“They have dug in their heels,” he said, referring to the stiff position taken by the governors and others in the Baraje faction.
Daily Trust learnt that most of the aggrieved governors had left Abuja by Monday evening, having resolved not to be part of the meeting scheduled for today. This is what necessitated the postponement of the meeting, the source added.
But a smaller meeting was held last night with President Jonathan, 10 PDP governors loyal to him and Tukur attending, though journalists were driven away as soon as it was under way.
The governors present were Isa Yuguda (Bauchi), Idris Wada (Kogi), Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta State), Mukhtar Ramalan Yero (Kaduna), Gabriel Suswam (Benue), Theodor Orji (Abia), Liyel Imoke (Cross River), Henry Dickson (Bayelsa), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom) and Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe).
Also in attendance were Secretary to the Government of the Federation Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, PDP deputy national chairman Uche Secondus and the president’s political adviser Ahmed Gulak.
On Saturday, the ‘New PDP’ was formed in Abuja with Alhaji Abubakar Baraje as new chairman, former Osun State Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola as secretary and Dr. Sam Jaja as deputy national chairman.
The Baraje faction has since then been swelling in numbers, with federal lawmakers and other politicians announcing their desertion of the Bamanga Tukur-led side of the PDP.
On Monday, 22 senators signed a statement saying they had joined the ‘New PDP’ and pledged loyalty to Baraje.
Yesterday, 58 members of the House of Representatives also announced a similar decision.
In a statement in Abuja, they said: “Although a sizeable number of our members who could not append their signatures because of their unavailability in the country will do so immediately on arrival, we the undersigned salute and appreciate the courage, sacrifice and resilience and patriotism of our leaders … and other well-meaning and eminent Nigerians for leading the way for the emergence of the New PDP.
“We are also using this opportunity to condemn in strong terms attempts by some agents of the Federal Government to use state apparatus to witch-hunt some of these patriots for taking this bold and courageous step.
“As members of the House of Representatives, we call on the security agencies and other anti-graft bodies to be professional in their activities and not allow themselves be used by anybody no matter how highly placed for their political ambitions. Remember how you want history to judge your tenures.
“We won’t hesitate however to use all instruments of law within our powers as provided by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), to stop this and bring anybody found wanting to book.”
The lawmakers on the list include Abdullahi Balarabe, Abdulmumin Jibrin, Ali Ahmad, Abdullahi Muhammad Wamakko, Abdullahi Mohammed Rico, Abdulmalik Usman Cheche, Adamu Bashir, Ahman-Patigi Aliyu, Ahmed Zarewa, Aishatu Ahmed Binani, Aiyedun Akeem Olayinka, Alhassan Ado Garba, Aliyu Madaki, Aliyu Shehu, Aminu Shagari, Aminu Sulaiyman, Aminu Tukur, Andrew Uchenud, Asita Honourable, Bashir Baballe, Blessing Nsiegbe, Dakuku Peterside, Dawari George, Faruq Muhammed Lawan, Gibson Nathaniel and Gogo Bright Tamunu.
Others are Haliru Zakari Jikantoro, Hassan Adamu, Hussain Namadi, Ibrahim Ebbo, Ibrahim Tijjani Kiyawa, Issa Bashir, Kabiru Achida, Khabeeb Mustapha, Maurice Pronen, Mohammed Sabo, Mpigi Barinada, Muhammad Ahmed Mukhtar, Muhammad Ibrahim, Muhammad Sani Kutigi, Mukhtari Muhammad, Musa Ado, Musa Sarkin-Adar, Mustapha Bala Dawaki, Mustapha Mashood, Ogbonna Nwuke, Rafiu Ibrahim, Sa’ad Nabunkari, Sani Muhammed Aliyu, Shuaibu Gobir, Sokonte Davies, Safiyanu Ubale, Umar Bature, Usman Wada, Yusuf Dunari Sule, Yusuf Galambi and Zakari Muhammed.
‘Tukur expelled in 2001′
Meanwhile, details emerged yesterday that the court case filed in Lagos on Monday against the Tukur leadership of the PDP is seeking his ouster allegedly because he was never properly re-admitted into the party after his expulsion in 2001.
A statement of claims to be filed in court by the Baraje faction said, “Exactly on the 31 May, 2001, the PDP NEC after its meeting held in Abuja expelled eight members of the PDP in accordance with the PDP constitution which gives the NEC the powers to discipline NEC members who breaches the constitution.
“They were expelled after NEC considered and adopted the report of the Iro Dan Musa-led PDP Disciplinary Committee. Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, Don Etiebet, Asheik Jarma, Ume-Ezeoke, Emmanuel Ibeshi, Harry Marshal and Gbenga Olawepo were the ones expelled from the PDP.
“Note that Article 10(b) iii of the PDP 2009 constitution and Article 8(17) of the 2012 amended constitution which holds that any member of the party who loses his membership by expulsion can only return to the party with the approval of the party executive at his ward, state and national levels, who shall give him a waiver.
“Since the expulsion of Bamanga Tukur in 2001, he has not complied with the above requirement of the PDP constitution, meaning that his purported participation at the 2012 convention where he was elected was a fraud and invalid, as he is not yet a member of the party.”
Also, the suit by the Baraje faction has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deregister the Tukur faction allegedly because it failed to notify INEC of its convention as required by law.
The statement of claims said there was evidence “strange clauses” were smuggled into the 2012 PDP amended constitution and that “those alterations were not approved by the party convention and the National Executive Committee thereby making the document a forged document which is invalid.”
The Baraje faction is also contending that the August 2013 convention of the PDP was illegal because of participation of illegal delegates, the disqualification of elected delegates by the screening subcommittee and the failure of the party to give INEC at least 21 days notice as required by the Electoral Act.
Meanwhile, a fresh court case was filed yesterday by PDP Stakeholders Forum led by Barrister Ikenga Ugochinyere, at the Federal High Court in Abuja, seeking the ouster of Tukur.
The plaintiffs argued that Tukur’s expulsion from the PDP in 2001 had never been lifted through the appropriate channels of the party.
Ugochinyere said yesterday they are “seeking an order of the court to among other things nullify the convention of the PDP, nullify the continued stay of Bamanga Tukur in office in view of his ineligibility to be chairman of our party by virtue of his non-membership of the party since his 2001 expulsion.”
When contacted for comments yesterday, PDP national publicity Olisa Metuh said the party’s leadership had no time for such distractions. He said the national working committee was concentrating on giving the party a focused leadership and would not waste its time responding to such issues.
Andrew Agbese, Isiaka Wakili, Turaki A. Hassan and Adelanwa Bamgboye