NEC Meeting: PDP Govs Under Pressure To Save Tukur

The Presidency has started lobbying the Peoples Democratic Party   governors to  avert  the removal of  the  National Chairman of the  party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, during the January 8 National Executive Council  meeting of the party.

It was learnt that President Goodluck Jonathan  had finally been   convinced that those calling for Tukur’s removal had their agenda.

It was also gathered from the camp of the chairman that the defection of five of the party’s  governors played a major role in convening the January 8 meeting.

A member of the National Working Committee of the party, who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity, however admitted that the defection of the five governors was painful.

He said  there would have been tension at the January 8  meeting, if the five governors were still in the party.

The NWC member  said the Presidency and the National Working Committee of the party  were aware that there were some  governors who were still  bent  on seeing   Tukur removed.

The governors, who defected   to the All Progressives Congress  are Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara); Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto); Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers); Murtala Nyako (Adamawa); and Musa Kwankwaso (Kano).

Two  governors, who were  members of the G-7 but are still in the PDP  are Sule Lamido (Jigawa) and Babangida Aliyu (Niger).

The NWC source said, “We know that the constitution of the party says we should hold NEC meeting at least once in a quarter;  but we didn’t want to be embarrassed at such meetings. This was one of the reasons why we did not call the meeting until now.

“There  are  those, especially among the governors, who want   our chairman’s removal. But  the Presidency has  stepped in and appealed to other   governors  not to support the call for Tukur’s removal  by   those who  believe    that the President signed a  single tenure agreement.

“Now that those who were insisting that Tukur should go have left the party, we can at least manage the remaining dissenting voices among the governors.

“We know most of the remaining governors  would not  have enough courage to confront either the President or the chairman at the  January 8 meeting.”

One of the governors, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “If the retention of Tukur  is what the President wants, we will not press for his  removal.

“But we have told him that the party is dying and if he wants the party dead, because we are approaching elections, good luck to him.

“We told him that it will be difficult to win elections when the party is not popular and its leaders are not united.”

It was also learnt that governors on their second term were told that they would not be allowed to influence the choice of their successors if they failed to support Tukur.

Our correspondent gathered that governors  eligible for second term were told that they would be stopped if they insisted on Tukur’s  removal.

Tukur  is  also said to have the support of the President’s wife,    Patience.

When contacted, the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Ahmed Gulak, said there was no need for Tukur’s removal.

He added that anyone who wanted to work with the President should back the national chairman  or lose his job.

Gulak  however  said the agenda of the meeting would not include Tukur’s removal.

He said, “Those calling for Tukur’s removal are not for the President. They have their hidden agenda.

“Anybody who wants the progress of the President should work with the chairman of our party, who is doing well for the PDP  and the President.

“Those calling for his removal have their own agenda, which is not in the interest of the party.”

Tukur, had in an  interview with a national newspaper on Wednesday, said the alleged plan to remove him was not in the agenda of  the NEC meeting.

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