By HENRY UMORU
ABUJA—THE crises rocking the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has taken yet another dimension with fresh plots by the Presidency to sack members of the National Working Committee, NWC, leaving only the National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
This was even as Tukur said, yesterday, that members of the party who do not cherish openness and transparency wanted him out of office, pointing out that he had not done anything wrong to warrant any member to gang up against him.
In a statement from London where he went for Easter break, Tukur also warned PDP members to be wary of antics of the opposition, saying, “some members may not like the idea of ensuring openness and transparency in the manner we conduct our affairs. But the truth remains that openness and transparency remain the best tool for making the PDP to progress.”
The former National Secretary of the party, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and National Auditor, Chief Bode Mustapha were removed from the NWC following a court order few months ago.
Vanguard gathered that the move by the presidency may not be unconnected with 2015 Presidential election as the plan was to remove those perceived to be against President Goodluck Jonathan’s alleged 2015 ambition. The NWC members who might be axed include those who rode on the back of PDP governors said to be opposed to the President’s ambition.
The Presidency, it was gathered, was dusting the constitution of the party to deal with the members said to be found wanting.
According to the sources, a senior minister from the South South geo-political zone, who had been occupying a particular position since April 6, 2010, was reportedly behind the project of dragging the affected NWC members to court in the next couple of days for alleged non-qualification. It was further learnt that three PDP members, including a northerner had been recruited to file the court processes against the affected officers of the party.
The NWC members who might be sued over their ineligibility are the National Treasurer, Bala Bawa Kaoje; National Youth Leader, Garba Umar Chiza and National Legal Adviser, Victor Kwon, among others.
The source hinted that this may be the pay back time by the camp of both the Presidency and Tukur against some of the 10 NWC members who plotted political “coup” against Tukur.
The Presidency would be relying on provisions of the 2012 Constitution of the PDP as amended to deal with the National Treasurer, Bala Kaoje, an engineer, who is alleged to be with Jonathan’s opponents.
Section 37(1) of the party’s constitution stated that, “A National Treasurer shall be an Accountant with track records of prudence”.
The National Legal Adviser, Victor Kwon, is also said to be among those to be dragged to court on the grounds that he has not spent up to 10 years-post call to the bar before occupying the position as against Section 42(1) of the party’s constitution which states that, “there shall be a National Legal Adviser of the party who shall be a lawyer of not less than 10 years post call.”
Apart from them, the National Youth leader who was reportedly sponsored to the NWC by Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu of Niger State is said to be above the age that could make him fit in as a youth. He is said to be over 60 years.
His principal, Governor Aliyu has been a strong voice for the North to have the presidency by 2015.
Meanwhile, Tukur has noted that he was resolute in ensuring that members of the party were carried along in all its programmes and policies, adding that he would continue to serve the interest of the party to the best of his ability.
According to him, all the aggrieved members, stakeholders, leaders and elders were free to reach the national headquarters and hold the leadership in confidence on their points of grievances, in line with the set agenda of reconciliation, reformation and rebuilding of the party.
“As the Chairman, I love my party. If I am serving PDP at my age, the reason is not because I want anything as gains, the reason is that serving the ruling party amounts to serving my nation. I have my nation to serve and diligently too, because the country has made me. So for me, it is a pay back time for the country that made me who I am. So why would I complain in the face of stiff challenges,” he said.
“Yes, as the chairman, I had taken decisions which had metamorphosed in the reconciliation moves we have been making. We want every member to see the party as his or her own and as a party that bestows pride on all. Many people would not like such. In that case, I have no apology for doing good to PDP.
“I appreciate Mr President who has been a major pillar of support for the PDP. The President had endorsed every action we took with conviction that they were all in the good interest of the PDP. The governors have been supportive too. We have been in touch and they keep on assuring me of their support.
“While I take care of my health, I urge party members to continue to support the NWC in its drive towards re-launching PDP into a more formidable structure capable of winning elections without stress,” he said, and thanked every member of the party for being steadfast, most especially in the face of threats by the opposition groups to pull down PDP at all costs”.
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