ABUJA — NATIONAL Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, yesterday took a swipe at five governors from the North elected on the platform of the party, warning them to show decorum, humility and respect him.
One of the governors, Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, however, fired back, saying Alhaji Tukur does not deserve his respect because he lacks capacity and competence to handle PDP.
The other governors are Sule Lamido of Jigawa State, Mu’Azu Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano State and Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State.
The PDP chairman in a statement by his Special Assistant, Media, Prince Oliver Okpala bluntly told the governors that they must embrace peace and stop dramatizing the country’s few problems, saying it could send wrong signals to Nigerians and the international community.
According to him, unguarded utterances and calls by the governors were causing unnecessary political tension and overheating the polity. He added that as leaders, they were expected to show respect to him as an elder. Tukur also warned that as governors and leaders, they must desist from any action that could truncate the nation’s democracy.
It will be recalled that a week after a meeting with former President Olusegun Obasanjo; ex-Military President Ibrahim Babangida and former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, the governors had visited President Goodluck Jonathan last Saturday at State House, Abuja.
Tukur’s reply to the governors came on the heels of Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson’s reconciliation committee that was last week inaugurated when all the problems confronting the party were expected to be resolved.
Tukur said: “The recent visit by some governors from the North to the President has raised furore, although the discussions between the President and the governors was held behind closed doors, the media has been awash with news of the meeting and the issues discussed.
“Media reports have it that the four governors who had earlier visited former president, Chief Obasanjo and two former military Heads of State demanded the removal of Dr. Bamanga Tukur as National Chairman of the PDP.”
Lampooning the governors for the visit to the former leaders without using the available internal mechanism of the party to air their views , Tukur said: “We do not know the veracity of this claim. Suffice it to say, however, that the governors have the fundamental right to meet and discuss with each other and whomsoever they like and may also have the fundamental right to freedom of speech and to air their views on any issue of national importance.
“However, in so doing, one would expect them to make comments with decorum, humility and caution. As leaders who the general public looks upon as role models, they are expected to show respect to constituted authority and the elders, which include Dr. Bamanga Tukur, who have contributed immensely to the peace, progress, development and advancement of this country.
“Much as the constitution guarantees certain fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of speech and assembly, there are constitutional limitations to this freedom and the leaders should show wisdom, caution, prudence and good counsel in their comments on national issues as their unguarded utterances and calls can cause unnecessary political tension.
“It is also important to emphasize that the PDP, as a political platform upon which the governors were elected, have avenues and internal mechanisms for resolution of conflicts and grievances. The governors are, therefore, advised as party men to avail themselves of these avenues before seeking audience or making public utterances capable of overheating the polity.
“More importantly, the PDP has a reconciliation committee entrusted with the task of conflict resolution in the party. The governors, by their action and utterances, have shown contempt to this committee by not deeming it necessary or worthy to take their grievances to the reconciliation committee.
“One would have expected the governors to express their grievances privately to the party leadership or the reconciliation committee instead of going public with their grievances before seeking audience with other Nigerian leaders.
“There is no doubt that the governors’ peripatetic vision has contributed in no small measure to overheating the polity. The National Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Bamanga Tukur, has tried all in his powers to bring peace, tranquility and love to the PDP. His three cardinal policies of reconciliation, reformation and rebuilding are aimed at giving all members of the party a sense of belonging.
“The National Chairman also has an open door policy and accommodation for all shades of opinion within the party. It is unfortunate that these governors are demanding Tukur’s removal when Tukur has made immense sacrifices for the peace and progress of the PDP and had extended his peculiar kind of brotherly love to all party men and women.
“The governors are hereby advised to embrace peace and desist from dramatizing the few problems within our democracy as these can send a wrong signal to Nigerians and the international community.
“The governors, as party faithfuls and responsible citizens of this country holding exalted positions, should desist from any action that tend to overheat the polity and truncate our nascent democratic structure.
“Be it known that Bamanga Tukur is a true and committed democratic, patriotic Nigerian, a first-class nationalist and an elder statesman of international repute, whose cardinal aim is to protect our nascent democracy, protect the indivisibility of our country and ensure the progress of our great party, the PDP.”
Tukur does not deserve respect; he lacks capacity and competence to handle PDP— Nyako
Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, however, dismissed the assertion of Tukur, insisting that Tukur by his comportment and conduct does not deserve respect.
Besides, he accused Tukur of diverting attention from the core issues of his lack of competence and capacity which he said were at the root of the problems in the party. Nyako was one of the first PDP governors to oppose Tukur’s nomination for the position of PDP National Chairman and grudgingly gave in only after he was personally persuaded by the President few days to the convention last year.
“Bamanga Tukur is trying to divert attention from the core issues. It is not the issue of respect for each other, it is not the issue of age or status or international standing. The matter in question is his competence and ability to run the party, his ability to provide fairness and justice to everybody,” Nyako said in a reaction signed by his Director of Press, Sajoh Ahmad.
“He cannot come here to sponsor a group of impostors and call them executives who will disenfranchise us, disrespect us, kick us aside and he turns around and tells us about respect and status. In actual fact, if he thinks his status is not respected, Murtala Nyako has had higher attainments nationally than him,” he said in reference to Nyako who had been the country’s Chief of Naval Staff in the mid-eighties.
Continuing, he said: “If he can bring in impostors and impose them on the state PDP and cause them to disrespect Nyako, he should not be talking about respect, but that is not the issue at stake.
“The issue at stake is his competence, capacity, ability as the National Chairman of the PDP. Is he running the PDP competently enough? Is he providing level playing field? Is he fair and just to everybody concerned? That his media office will continue to remind people that he is running the PDP with peace, concord, and understanding when he knows that in the last four months now, they have had four reconciliation committees?
“A group that has peace and concord cannot definitely have four reconciliation committees in four months. I don’t think that the two tally.
“We are not arguing about respect, about age, about status or whatever, we are talking about competence to run the PDP as an inclusive party that accommodates everybody’s interests.”
Jigawa PDP defends govs
The Jigawa State PDP chairman, Alhaji Salisu Mamuda also defended the governors, saying that “it is not out of place for the PDP governors to seek advice from other party elders because of the present crisis within the party,” adding that the party chairman’s wisdom was not enough to solve the problems rocking the party.
According to him, Alhaji Tukur should remember that most of the party governors were elected during the tenure of former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and they still have good rapport with him. “Personally, I don’t think that the governors’ decision to meet with him for elderly advice as party stalwart is wrong. Why should our national party chairman take offence?
“Nobody is disrespecting the National Chairman, every action of some of our patriotic governors is in the interest of the party. My governor has been very loyal to the party, that is why I respect all his political moves.”
2015: Northern governors report Jonathan to Shagari
….We discussed state of the nation— Nyako
Meanwhile four of the Northern governors, who are still aggrieved over certain political developments in the PDP, on Tuesday, took their grievances to the doorsteps of former President Shehu Shagari, pleading with him to intervene.
The governors, who began their meeting with Shagari at about 11:45 am, were led by Sokoto State Governor, Aliyu Wamakko. The others were Sule Lamido of Jigawa, Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano and Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State.
Vanguard learnt that the fifth governor, Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, who would have been part of the delegation, had travelled to Saudi Arabia.
The governors were said to have pleaded with Shagari to prevail on President Goodluck Jonathan to take urgent steps to salvage the party and the nation from certain perilous individuals and agencies bent on derailing the democratic gains already attained by the nation.
The governors, who were summoned for crucial talks with President Jonathan at the weekend, appeared to still be upset by the rumoured ambition of Jonathan to run for a second term in 2015.
The northern governors are said to be angry that Jonathan is trying to repudiate a gentleman’s agreement he had with them in 2010 to serve only one term after completing the tenure of late President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua.
But addressing journalists after the meeting, Adamawa Governor, Murtala Nyako, explained that they were in Sokoto to brief the former President on the state of affairs in the country and to seek his advice on how to move the nation forward.