Barring the unforeseen, today’s resumption of both chambers of the National Assembly may witness a feel of the crisis bedeviling the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the battle for the soul of the party shifts to the legislature.
Indications to this effect emerged as the speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, the aggrieved governors, otherwise known as the G7 governors, and a sizeable number of federal lawmakers met at the Kano Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro last night.
The meeting, according to an impeccable source, was to “fine-tune strategies aimed at getting having a majority of PDP lawmakers on the side of the new PDP”.
The National Assembly resumes today from a two-month break. During the break, the crisis in the PDP reached a messy height with seven governors elected on the platform of the party forming what they called the new PDP after staging a walkout at the national convention of the party.
Curiously, as the meeting at the Kano Governor’s Lodge was ongoing, another was also in progress as the chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Tony Anenih, also played host to pro-Jonathan federal lawmakers and some members of the party’s BoT.
Both meetings were taking place a few metres away from each other in Asokoro. Journalists were not allowed access to both venues.
At the meeting which took place at the Kano State Governor’s Lodge were Senators Bukola Saraki, Abdullahi Adamu, Shabba Lafiaji, Danjuma Goje, Ali Ndume, Mohammed Maccido and Umaru Dahiru.
Also in attendance were no fewer than 95 members of the House of Representatives, but the source confided in LEADERSHIP that Tambuwal had to excuse himself for another meeting after the opening remarks.
Among those at the meeting were Farouk Lawan, Bashir Adamu Kazaure, Bello Kumu, Mustapha Habib, Mamuda Sani Madaki, Abdulmuminu Jibril, Dakuku Peterside, Zakari Mohammed, Aliyu Wadada as well as a former speaker of the Sokoto State House of Assembly who is now a member of the lower chamber of the federal parliament.
A source close to the meeting said the meeting became necessary in view of the past experience of the governors in the hands of Jonathan, adding that certain steps taken by the president and Bamanga Tukur between Sunday night and Monday morning showed that the president was not prepared for proper reconciliation.
The source cited Monday’s inauguration of a caretaker committee for Kano State PDP without the knowledge of the governor as a major setback to the peace process.
The source further disclosed that if necessary, there would be leadership changes at the National Assembly within the week as they relates to the PDP.
But that last night’s meeting of the new PDP was to take stock of members of the National Assembly who are sympathetic to its cause.
Director of press and public relations to Kano State governor, Halilu Dantiye, confirmed that a meeting was on at the governor’s lodge but declined to give details.
“I think a meeting is going on at the lodge, but I don’t know the details of the meeting. Right now, I am outside the lodge,” Dantiye said.
National chairman of the new PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje and the party’s national secretary, Olagunsoye Oyinlola were also at the meeting.
Another source said that at the resumption of the lawmakers today, the main focus would be to monitor activities of members with a view to identifying like minds.
“There are two plans in the meantime, plan A and plan B. Plan A is to monitor the House as it resumes, but B is to push for the needed change of some principal officers of the parliament.
“Already, there are about 28 impeachable offences against the president but those ones are not going to be explored for now; the only thing that is likely to happen is that the House might move a vote of no confidence on the president.
He revealed that at the time of the meeting, the APC caucus of the House was also meeting at an undisclosed location in Abuja.
At the venue of the meeting where Anenih was the host, a heavy presence of security operatives was noticed. A source, an aide to one of the governors, merely said: “It is usual for meetings to hold these days; others are meeting to plot, we are also meeting to counter them.”
Presidency violates ceasefire agreement – Jonathan’s 2015 ambition stays, forecloses Tukur’s removal
Less than 24 hours after an agreement that all parties involved in the crisis rocking the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should observe a ceasefire, especially in media altercation, the presidency has made the first move in the opposite direction.
The political adviser to the president, Alhaji Ali Ahmed Gulak, said the demand by the aggrieved governors that the party’s national chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, be removed was unacceptable.
Gulak said the demand was a breach of the party’s constitution.
Excerpts of the interview:
How do you feel about the latest development in the political terrain?
Gulak: I have always said PDP has its internal mechanism to resolve its problems — whatever crisis the outsiders may think we have. We are talking, we are dialoguing, peace is gradually returning to PDP in accordance with the constitution of the party and in accordance with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. These two documents are our guide, we abide by them and we are dialoguing in accordance with the provision of the constitution.
But sceptics believe this crisis will mark the end of PDP; how do you react?
I will tell you that PDP is the only national party that has maintained its name and identity since 1998 till date. Nobody can beat that record.
Will the national chairman survive this factional crisis?
The national chairman has no problem. He was elected and I always say that as there are processes for election, there are processes for removal or resignation. So nobody can cajole anybody to say the national chairman will not survive. Nobody is against the national chairman.
Among the conditions listed by the aggrieved governors, which one will your faction agree to?
I have said it before that 2015, national chairman, EFCC — these are the three demands — we have to be guided by the constitution. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, as given Mr President the right to offer himself for a second term if he so chooses and nobody, either individual or group, can abridge his constitutional right. If he decides not to contest, let it be on his own volition, not because he is intimidated or cajoled into doing that. Secondly, about EFCC, I have said it before and will say it again: Mr President will never ask such an independent body not to carry out their job or statutory function. The third is about national chairman and I have said he emerged through the process of election and his removal is also guided by constitutional provisions.
There is the rumour that your party has started the process of filling the vacancies of the ministerial posts?
Mr President has the constitutional power to hire and fire. So since there are vacancies in the cabinet, it’s Mr President’s prerogative to nominate to the Senate ministers from the various states to fill the vacancies. So it’s not unexpected.
What sort of people are we looking for?
It is for Mr President to set the criteria but, in accordance with the transformation agenda, to bring in people that will work as a team for the success of the transformation.
Before peace of this nature can be achieved, there has to be give and take; so what is your camp willing to give?
Politics is about give and take. What camp are you talking about? There is no camp. Which is Tukur’s faction? There is only one PDP please and that PDP as at today is led by Bamanga Tukur. There is only one PDP; that we have some aggrieved members does not deviate from the fact that there is only one PDP. And these aggrieved members — the elders are already talking to them and they are understanding the constitutional provisions and all of us must be guided by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and by the constitution of our party. We don’t do things just because we want to do them; we must abide by the principles of democracy.
The treasurer of the new PDP resigned. It is being alleged he was forced to resign?
I have never said there is a faction. I have always said they are aggrieved members. There was even no national treasurer as far as we are concerned. The national treasurer of the party is Accountant Bala Buhari. That is the man we elected at Eagle Square on the 31st of August. I have never said there is any faction.