Following the dissatisfaction of the current state of affairs in Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, pioneer state chairmen of the party are regrouping to challenge what they describe as the lack of cohesion and the dictatorial tendencies of the present leadership of the party under Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
The pressure from the pioneer state chairmen is coming in the face of continuing insinuations of increasing lack of confidence in the leadership by the presidency, a fact buttressed by the constitution of an ad-hoc committee by the president to intervene in the crisis.
Besides, the open support for Governor Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State by Speaker Aminu Tambuwal was believed to have put the national leadership on edge.
At the reception of the governor, Wednesday night, Tambuwal had condemned the suspension placed on the governor by the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party, describing it as illegal.
He said that he and other followers of the governor would continue to recognise him as the party leader in the state, irrespective of the suspension.
Wamakko had, at the same occasion, flayed Tukur and called for his removal from office, accusing the national chairman of gross incompetence.
Yesterday, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh, welcomed the presidential intervention, saying the national officers, as elected officers charged to run the party, would open themselves to whatever suggestions that would lead the party forward.
He said that in consideration of Tambuwal’s position in government, the national officers would give him the basis for the suspension of Governor Wamakko.
Metuh also assured that the suspension placed on the governor was not a death sentence as he said it could be lifted based on the outcome of ongoing disciplinary procedures.
Metuh’s assurance of conciliation nonetheless, close associates of the national chairman were yesterday on the bounce that they would ride out the fresh pressures.
The Tukur camp, it was learnt, believes that the ongoing pressures against Tukur would soon peter out.
A meeting of the pioneer chairmen of the PDP fixed for Abuja tomorrow to discuss the brewing issues in the party we learnt, may have been rescheduled upon what one source said was unforeseen development.
However, the pioneer state chairman of the Jigawa State chapter of the party, Alhaji Usman Alto Roni nevertheless confirmed the muttering among his colleagues which he said included the failure of the Tukur leadership to hold a meeting of the National Executive Committee, NEC in nearly one year.
Roni who is also secretary of the Northern caucus of the Forum of Pioneer State Chairmen of the PDP, told our reporter that the pioneer state chairmen as members of the first NEC of the party were at a loss as to why the NEC has been turned into a redundant organ of the party.
“We are very, very discontented particularly in the way and manner the current leadership is managing the party because we the pioneers of the PDP in our own respective states, we were the people who midwifed the party from day one and we were the ones that initiated the success that is being enjoyed now.”
“We planned it and they are now reaping it,” he said as he stressed that the present leadership has abdicated from the path of order and constitutionality.
“Each subsequent leadership was expected to operate according to the constitution of the party and the guidelines but unfortunately the current leadership has derailed from the main objectives and from what the constitution of the party and the guidelines prescribed.”
“Some people have hijacked and pocketed the party and the government and they are operating on their own wish and how they could further their own personal interests,” he said.
“This situation has led us to regroup ourselves and to bring to the attention of the entire country that we are not happy with the way and manner these people are managing the party. It went to the extent that the presidency has been fingered of engineering the crisis.”
“The constitution of the party stated the time when the NEC should be convened and also the board of trustees, but no board of trustees meeting, no NEC meeting, the national chairman is on one side and the other members are on the other side, everybody operating independently, there is no direction, no cohesion, nothing? No focus!”
Responding to the allegation, Metuh said:
“They are leaders in the party and we will reconcile all issues with them. We do not own this party and we run the affairs of the party on behalf of our leaders and elders and its founding fathers. They are at liberty to advise us and correct us if we have made mistakes. We do not own this party, we run it in trust and run it on their behalf, so they can always correct us and that is why they elected us. There is nothing bad that has happened and at the end of all these, PDP will come out stronger and more united,” Metuh said yesterday.
Reacting to the assertion by Speaker Tambuwal that the suspension of Governor Wamakko was illegal, Metuh said:
“I would say that what we can do is that we would explain our position to the speaker of the House and say that all we are trying to do is ensure that the constitution of the party works especially when it has to do with discipline and that there are internal organs of the party that will handle it. At the end of the day it is not a death sentence because the constitution has provided mechanisms and if after investigations nothing is found to him nothing can happen to him.”
”Whatever happens, we will not joke with the opinion of the speaker of the House. The issue is that what we will do is to go to him and explain to him the reasons behind our position as a great leader of this party, we are bound to explain to him the reason for our decision,” Metuh said.
“At the same time we will plead that all stakeholders concerned should remain calm that this is not a death sentence, the party has its formal mechanisms for looking into things like that.