The embattled National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, has said that he has done nothing to warrant his removal from office by his critics, insisting that he would continue to serve the interest of the party to the best of his ability.
Tukur further stated that no matter what anyone might say, the reconciliation initiative championed by his leadership was the only solution to the sustained rumblings among members of the ruling party.
However, Tukur’s insistence did not stop a closed-door meeting yesterday between President Goodluck Jonathan and the Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Tony Anenih, presumably to brief the president on his one-on-one meetings with aggrieved governors of the party, especially from the north, who might defect from the ruling PDP.
Tukur, on the other hand, vowed to continue to conduct the party’s affairs with transparency and openness, as according to him, all aggrieved party members have easy access to reach out to the national headquarters and hold the leadership in confidence on their points of grievances.
Tukur said every action he had taken since he became the chairman was in the interest of the party, and in line with the set agenda of reconciliation, reformation and rebuilding of the party at all levels in Nigeria.
Tukur, in a statement issued yesterday from London where he went for the Easter break and for his medical check-up, stressed that there was nothing he had done wrong to any member of the party to warrant a gang up against him.
According to him, “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 tools for the party’s progress.”
He said he had remained resolute in ensuring that all members of the party were carried along in all PDP programmes and policies.
“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. For me, it was a payback time for the country that made me who I am. So why would I complain in the face of stiff challenges?
“Yes, as the chairman, I had taken decisions which have metamorphosed into 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 for the PDP.
“I appreciate Mr. President who has been a major pillar of support for the PDP. The president has endorsed every action we took in the conviction that they were all acting in the best 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 National Working Committee (NWC) in its drive towards re-launching PDP into a more formidable structure capable of winning elections without stress,” he said.
Tukur thanked every member of the PDP for being steadfast, most especially in the face of threats by the opposition parties to pull down the PDP at all cost, noting that the agenda by the opposition in this regard would come to naught if PDP members all over the country do not succumb to the antics of the opposition.
Tukur’s defence of his stewardship as the party’s chairman coincided with a meeting yesterday between Anenih and the president.
Though the details of the meeting, which took place at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, were not made public, sources said it may not be unconnected with moves by the PDP to put its house in order ahead of the 2015 election, particularly the presidential election.
Since he became the BoT chairman, Anenih has led different teams of the board's members to meetings with stakeholders in Kogi, Niger, Kano and Jigawa States.
He has met with each of the governors based on a directive from Jonathan who has been less than satisfied with the efforts by Tukur to reconcile aggrieved members of the party.
“Chief Anenih and BoT members are scheduled to visit Sokoto today as part of their ongoing reconciliation of aggrieved members of the party.
“I am not in the picture of what transpired this afternoon (yesterday) at the meeting but I do know that another such meeting is in the pipeline at night,” a source stated.
He said the efforts by the party's BoT were aimed at restoring confidence in its stalwarts and ordinary members and strengthening its position with a view to securing a crucial victory in the next elections.
The source indicated that the crisis in the Sokoto wing of the party reached a crescendo recently when Alhaji Bello Gwiwa, a permanent secretary in the Aliyu Wamakko administration, who is being groomed to succeed the incumbent governor, was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) but was granted bail.
Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman and Senator Umar Gada, former Minister of Sports, are squaring up to take over from Wamakko when the governor’s tenure expires in 2015.
Anenih's visit to Sokoto is ahead of the president's visit to the state tomorrow, during which he will be expected to meet with Wamakko and the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, to discuss security issues in the north and the agitation for amnesty for members of Boko Haram.