A new national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is expected to emerge on Monday to replace Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, who resigned yesterday.
President Goodluck Jonathan, who announced Tukur’s resignation during the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting, said the former chairman submitted his resignation letter to him, Wednesday night. He handed the letter to the party’s National Secretary, Prof. Adewale Oladipo, at the meeting.
The President said Tukur resigned for peace to reign in the party, admitting that the former chair bowed out amid internal crises. The announcement was applauded by party members.
Promising to give Tukur a more challenging appointment, the President said crises were normal in any democratic setting and partisan environment.
Jonathan said: “We have some internal problems that have been agitating the minds of people and let us really thank the working committee, led by Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
“They have done very well; the chairman of our party, we have all known. He didn’t just wake up to be chairman of our party; he has paid his dues. He has held several offices and worked for this country and he has done very well.
“For us to make sure that we rest these issues, the party chairman agreed to step aside. On some of the issues that we have internally, because I wouldn’t want to waste too much of your time, myself and the chairman would leave you and the deputy chairman will coordinate and the meeting will progress to discuss other things.
“Myself and the chairman will go to the State House for some issues that we need to discuss. He is not guilty in anyway. I am going to give him a tougher job than that of party chairman.”
On the crises in the party, the President said: “It is a political environment; if these things are not happening, then the country is dead.
“We are going to meet again on Monday to get a replacement from the Northeast zone – in line with our party’s constitution.
“We are going to meet with key stakeholders to get a man or woman that is acceptable to all.”
The President, who moderated discussions before he left, said henceforth, the various party organs would be meeting regularly to tackle challenges as they arise.
Reflecting on the gale of defections from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC), Jonathan said the development was normal, adding: “It is not something we should worry about”.
He raised the hope of the gathering that some of the prominent members who defected to the opposition party would come back after PDP must have put its house in order.
The President, who spoke after Tukur, picked his words and passed his message across without sounding denunciatory.
He even went jocular as he took a poke at the House of Representatives Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, asking him if he would change his geopolitical zone from the Northwest to the Northeast to enable him become the party’s chairman. The hall went toothy with the joke.
In his opening remarks before the President spoke, Tukur, in a flowing white babanriga designed with the signature colours of the PDP, said the party must be ready to take discipline seriously.
Looking composed, Tukur did not betray any emotion while reading his address.
He kept many of the party members guessing on his impending fate, as he gave no clue that he was delivering his valedictory speech.
Unlike him, he sat throughout the 28 minutes his address lasted. His voice was steady and he smiled whenever the occasion demanded.
There was pin-drop silence as he addressed the crowded meeting hall. There were no innuendoes or recriminations in his speech. He was firm.
The concluding part of his address was more revealing: “It has been a matter of honour for me to have served our party and indeed a rare privilege to have become its national chairman.
“I am grateful to the seven deities of goodluck with which Almighty God has endowed me. I am delighted to have had the opportunity to nurture and deliver an idea – that is, the need for discipline and internal democratic practices within our party.
“I charge you all, members of our party, to install new national values that are driven less by personal greed and power and more by national interests in order to serve and face the challenges facing our country.
“In conclusion, as we re-invent the foundation of internal consensus, let us endeavour to flaunt the good works of our various governments at all the tiers of governance. We shall overcome. Yes we can.”
Jonathan excused himself and Tukur before the end of the meeting, saying that he had some important discussions with the erstwhile party chair at the Presidential Villa.
At the meeting were Vice President Namadi Sambo; Senate President David Mark; Board of Trustee (BoT) chair Chief Tony Anenih; Tambuwal; past presidents of the Senate and PDP governors, among others.
The President directed the Cross River State Governor, Liyel Imoke, to move a motion for the NEC to accept Tukur’s resignation. The motion was seconded by the Deputy Senate Leader, Abdul Ningi.
The motion was overwhelmingly adopted.
Source: The Nation