KANO — Two of the ‘rebel’ governors in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Governors Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano and Babangida Aliyu, yesterday, opened up on the crisis in the party, saying their agitation is ultimately aimed at purifying the party and saving it from self-destruction.
Speaking to stakeholders in Kano, Kwankwaso accused the Bamanga Tukur-led leadership of the party of insensitivity to complaints of party members even as he disclosed that the G-7 had concluded plans to reform the party.
Governor Aliyu, who spoke in the same vein in a lecture he delivered at the Lagos Country Club, yesterday, described the internal crisis in the party as a discussion that will ultimately lead to purification of the party.
Kwankwaso disclosed that party members had, under the Tukur leadership, been subjected to various forms of intimidation in a bid to satisfy the wishes of “microscopic individuals” at the expense of the interest of the overall majority.
He said: “Going by the antecedents of the Bamanga-led group, we consider it appropriate to move against him and you would agree with me this is the right time to bring changes and reform the party so that it can serve the interest of the masses.”
The Kano State governor argued that the nPDP governors had concluded plans to make PDP a better party, pointing out that the birth of the new PDP is a good omen to millions of party members, particularly, those at the grassroots.
He accused the Tukur-led PDP of disregarding the constitution and manifesto of the PDP and, according to him, “having realised the weaknesses of the party, we decided to rescue it and make it a better party.”
Kwankwaso listed the grievances of the nPDP to include crises in Rivers and Adamawa chapters of the party, the stalemate in the election of the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, among others.
He said: “We did all we could to make them know the truth, but it didn’t work. We have been drawing the attention of PDP national headquarters to Kano, especially, in the area of appointments, but to no avail. Party politics is about interest and upholding the virtues of internal democracy.
Speaking further on the crisis, Kwankwaso said: “We are calling on our party at the national headquarters to do the right thing, we cannot fold our arms to witness the drifting of leadership in our great party.”
He said it was because of the undemocratic antics of the Tukur-led PDP that made the seven governors to converge on the Musa Yar’Adua Centre and elect “the authentic party executives led by Kawu Baraje.
“We want to ensure that there is justice and equity in the party. This is the right time to bring necessary changes and reforms to ensure the success of the party. You have to come out and defend justice and fair-play. Kano has been in the fore-front of political revolution in the country. Go back to your constituencies and sensitize the people on what is happening.”
Also speaking at the event, Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Gambo Sallau, commended Kwankwaso for carrying stakeholders and party elders along in all that has been happening in PDP at the national level and promised that the PDP caucus in Kano State House of Assembly will remain loyal to the cause of the new PDP.
Kano NASS lawmakers behind nPDP
Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa who spoke on behalf of PDP members in the National Assembly said all PDP House members from Kano State and two PDP Senators are solidly behind the vision and mission of the new PDP. Doguwa noted that Kano State had been denied political patronage at the PDP national leadership for a long time, pointing out that nominations for appointments which ordinarily should have been coming from the governor of the state are being diverted through the back door.
Discussion for genuine democracy
Speaking in Lagos at the Business Lecture Series of the Lagos Country Club, Ikeja, Governor Aliyu said Nigeria cannot have genuine democracy when the PDP that is supposed to preach democracy lacks internal democracy. He nevertheless affirmed that he would not leave the party except he is dismissed.
The lecture convened by Lagos Country Club and entitled “The marriage of 1914: A curse or blessing” had Vanguard publisher, Mr. Sam Amuka, as special guest of honour.
Noting that what is happening is a discussion for genuine democracy, he said: ”PDP is not at rest at the moment. It is the most democratic party. What is happening now is discussion after which we will bounce back stronger. I will never leave the PDP unless I am dismissed.
“I have not jumped the gun. Our people should appreciate robust debates. We can’t have genuine democracy in our country when our party that is supposed to be the source of democracy lacks internal democracy. You can’t have democracy when that channel is undemocratic.”
Shut up, Anenih tells warring factions
The lingering political crisis rocking the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, took yet another turn yesterday, as the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the party, Chief Tony Anenih, urged warring factions in the party’s crisis to stop making “pre-emptive statements”which he said are not only disrespectful to the President, but also to the party’s leadership.
“To make pre-emptive statements while the process of reconciliation is still on, is disrespectful not only to the President but also to the party leadership. Such statements undermine the party and the enormous efforts being made under the transformation agenda of the Mr. President. I, therefore, call on all members of our great party to exercise restraint throughout this trying period.”
However, elders in the party, under the aegis, Congress for Equality, however, fired back at Chief Anenih, saying it was wrong for him to say some of the governors that stormed out of party’s last special national convention had genuine complaints.
The party elders, including Chief Edwin Clark, ex-Senate President, Senator Ameh Ebute; former Minister of Police Affairs, General David Jemibewon, and former Chairman, Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, General Ibrahim Haruna, therefore, urged Chief Anenih to join hands with Tukur and President Goodluck Jonathan.
Members of the new PDP in the House of Representatives have also described Bamanga Tukur as a drowning man over his threat to declare their seats at the National Assembly vacant.
This came as the national leadership of the PDP has asked a Federal High Court, Abuja to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to withdraw recognition of newly registered People Democratic Movement, PDM.
We must avoid open confrontation —Anenih
Chief Anenih, in a statement he issued in Abuja entitled: “A Call for Caution” said: “Following the walk-out staged by some aggrieved members of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, at the special convention of August 31, 2013, there have been genuine efforts by the leadership of the party, including the president himself, to reach out and reconcile with the aggrieved members, using the numerous mechanisms for conflict resolution that exist in the party.
“A series of meetings have been held and more are scheduled to hold in the next few days.
“It is unfortunate that while the reconciliation efforts are being made, some of our members are making inflammatory statements, intimidating one another and issuing threats of court actions.
“Such actions do nothing but harm the efforts at reconciliation. Like a good family, we must avoid open confrontation and allow the leadership of the party to effect genuine reconciliation.
“Conflict is not new to the PDP and, as in the past, I am confident that, in spite of the differences, the current one will be resolved, with the party coming out even stronger and more united than ever.
“To make pre-emptive statements while the process of reconciliation is still on, is disrespectful not only to the President but also to the party leadership. Such statements undermine the party and the enormous efforts being made under the transformation agenda of the Mr. President.
“I, therefore, call on all members of our great party to exercise restraint throughout this trying period.”
Clark, Jemibewon, others berate Anenih
Meanwhile, elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, Gen. David Jemibewon, Ameh Ebute and Gen. Ibrahim Haruna have urged Chief Anenih to distance himself from former Vice President Atiku and the aggrieved governors who stormed out of Eagle Square, venue of last Saturday’s Special National Convention of the party.
Chief Clark and others made their position on Anenih under the aegis, Congress for Equality, after a meeting at the Asokoro residence of Chief Clark.
According to the statement which was signed by its chairman and former Senate President, Ameh Ebute, it was wrong for Anenih to say that the aggrieved governors had genuine complaints, just as Chief Anenih was asked to join hands with Tukur to support the party and President Goodluck Jonathan.
The statement said: “Chief Tony Anenih should distance himself from the demands of these so-called ‘aggrieved governors ‘ and join Tukur to work for the party in truth and spirit.”
The group alleged that part of the demands of the aggrieved governors were that President Jonathan should denounce his 2015 ambition and restrain the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, from harassing them.
…back Jonathan for 2015
Reiterating its support for 2015 presidency for President Jonathan, the group, however, said every past Head of State or President had weaknesses, but such weaknesses were not sufficient to deny them their constitutional right to vie for a second term. The group, however, did not say that President Jonathan has any weakness.
Anenih had, Tuesday, explained why the peace talks with the aggrieved PDP governors that began Sunday night and ended Monday morning could not continue after the party leadership and presidency had resolved to continue their talks with the aggrieved governors that day.
He said the aggrieved governors had sought for more time to consult more widely, explaining that the party leadership and the presidency too were disposed to more time for wider consultations.
You‘re a drowning man, nPDP Reps tell Tukur
Also, members of the new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) in the House of Representatives, yesterday, described as unfortunate, threats of arrest attributed to the national chairman of the old PDP, Alhaji Tukur, over their defection to Abubakar Baraje’s camp, calling the chairman a drowning man.
Qualifying Tukur as erstwhile national chairman of the PDP, they called on the relevant authorities to call him to order and wondered when political disagreements within a political party became a state offence such that the chairman should ask the security agencies to harass and arrest his opponents.
In a statement entitled: “Our response to Bamangar Tukur’s uttrances” signed by Hon. Sekonte Davies on behalf of the members, they said it was such utterances and dispositions that prompted their action in the first place, stressing that they will contend with those who were bent on destroying the party.
The statement read: “It has been brought to our attention the statements credited to Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, the erstwhile National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Indeed, it is unfortunate if he really made the comments credited to him.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we state that it is this type of garrison attitude that has brought the PDP to where it is today and that is why we shall spare no effort to redeem it from those who are bent on destroying it, like Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
“You know, it is easy to destroy a thing and since Bamanga Tukur was not a founding father of the party, he does not understand the underlying principles and reasons why it was founded in the first place.
How Jonathan can overcome PDP crisis—Jibril Aminu
Meantime, founding member of the PDP, Prof Jibril Aminu, yesterday, advised President Jonathan to play down on his re-election bid and face the task of tackling the nation’s mounting problems, as a means of winning the support of Nigerians against those rebelling against him.
Aminu, who was reacting to the formation of a parallel PDP by the former vice president and seven PDP governors, noted that the undue attention being given to the re-election bid by the president and his handlers was responsible for the revolt by Atiku and his group.
He said: “President Jonathan appears to be too concerned about his second term and there are some persons who are making a capital out of that obsession, which provides a very good menu for others to capitalise on.
“If Mr. President continues to put too much emphasis on the 2015 election, he may lose focus on the job he was elected by Nigerians to deliver.
“My advice to him is to concentrate on the work that Nigerians gave him to do. He will certainly get his second term if he does the work well.
“As long as he continues to work towards resolving the contentious issues in the education and health sectors as well as the security challenges facing the north, he will certainly be re-elected when the time comes.
“My fear is that some people are taking advantage of Jonathan’s second term ambition to cause more avoidable problems in the country and distracting him in the process.”
Actions of Atiku & co mischief—Jibril Aminu
While kicking against the action of the former vice president and the seven governors, the former Education and Petroleum Minister, said the rebel members could not be acting in the interest of Nigerians but for their personal interest.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Vanguard last night, the former Nigerian envoy also described the action of the governors and Atiku as a mischief aimed at promoting their ego and asked President Jonathan not to bow to them.
Aminu said: “I don’t support what Atiku and the seven governors are doing because I don’t think that what they have done is right. I don’t think that they are motivated by altruism but I suspect that they are just trying to protect their ego.
“I strongly suspect that what the governors and their backers are doing is a bit of political gambling aimed at settling scores, distracting the PDP or pure mischief.”
Urges Jonathan not to succumb
While advising Jonathan not to be scared by the antics of the governors and their backers, Aminu asked him to focus more on what would take the nation to the next level.
The former minister said: “Nigerians should not be jitter over what these people are doing because Nigeria can never break up on account of what is going on in the country. We have passed the worst moment in our history and none of these actions can tear it apart.”
“The provision of the constitution forbids you from forming a tribal party. As you know, there was no notice given for the application. No one was aware until it was announced by INEC. You saw the brit-bat by the action.”