The ruling National Party, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has had its share of intrigue in the last six (6) months, with the National Chairman Alhaji Bamanga Tukur in the middle. From the Adamawa State Exco fiasco to the drama at Eagles Square in August last year, many watchers and pundits have wondered how long the Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, will hold out and hold on to the reins of power. Even the State Exco of PDP in Rivers State was attributed not just to the First Lady, but to some extent, the strong arm tactics of Tukur.
The recent decamping of the G7 Governors and some National Assembly (NASS) lawmakers did not augur well for him either. There became a great clamor for his head on the political platter of the gold. All the speculations about whether the President will sacrifice him or needed Tukur to achieve his 2015 agenda have now come to an end.
The political intrigue leading up to Bamanga Tukur’s resignation exemplified the political chess game that is becoming popular in the “politricks” of Nigeria. Tukur was “constructively excluded” from the caucus meeting and the following day at the BOT (Board of Trustees) meeting. The caucus meeting was supposed to be presided over by the chairman with the President in attendance. However, the Tuesday caucus was presided over by the President. Reliable sources stated that it was at the caucus meeting that Tukur was advised to resign. Asked whether it was illegal for the President to have presided over the caucus meeting, the source stated that it was not illegal but simply a shift in procedure because the exigencies of the time made it necessary for President Goodluck Jonathan to preside over the caucus meeting. While the appeal to Tukur to resign for the interest of the party was on-going, the State party chairmen were holding a parallel meeting in a hotel where they passed a vote of “no-confidence” on the National Chairman.
In an orchestrated plot to “strengthen” the appeal to Tukur to resign his position, the vote of “no confidence” was served on the caucus while they were still deliberating. To the extent that the caucus is not an all-comers affair, it begs the question, who facilitated the resolution and timing of the service of the vote of “no confidence” on the caucus?
Undoubtedly, these were meant to weigh Tukur down and demoralize him. Tukur was still recalcitrant and his response was to ask that they give him more time. It explains why the vice President Arch. Namadi Sambo, who addressed the media immediately after the caucus meeting, said they had not reached any conclusion and that they will meet at 6pm the following day.
Nonetheless, unbeknownst to Tukur, the Deputy National Chairman Secundus Uche called a meeting that was attended by almost all members of the national Working Committee (NWC), without Tukur who is the head of the NWC. This was a closed door meeting where they also “officially” received their own copy of the vote of no-confidence. Under the PDP Constitution, most members of the NWC are not necessarily members of NEC.
The subsequent BOT meeting did not last up to 30 minutes. Tukur, who had earlier failed to see the handwriting on the wall, had gone to the BOT meeting to turn in his resignation, but still expected to participate in the meeting. The day was essentially spent looking for a “soft” landing for Tukur. The party searched and offered him an ambassadorial position that he wisely rejected based on his age. Our sources stated that he may be given the National Chairmanship of a parastatal such as the National Railway Corporation.
Most telephone lines that were open to Tukur previously were either ringing engaged or his calls were no longer being picked. If Tukur expected his son to become the next governor of Adamawa State, the current political equation may not be solved in his favor.
Apparently, the North East is supposed to produce the national party chairman under the elusive or supposed non-existent PDP zoning arrangement. However, at the pre-NEC (National Executive Committee) meeting, all the governors in the North East geo-political zone were running away from having the mantle of the party leadership fall on anyone from their state, as though it was tantamount to being stricken with leprosy. They knew from experience that the National Chairman always ends up in conflicts with the governor of his state of origin such as happened with Tukur and Governor Nyako of Adamawa, Nwodo and Governor Chime of Enugu, and Ogbulafor and Governor Orji of Abia, to mention a few. The six (6) States that make up the North East zone are Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe. Only four (4) may be considered to be PDP States since Yobe and Borno may be considered APC states (Adamawa is questionable).
Whatever the “resignation” of Tukur portends for the party in the two (2) governorship elections of 2014 (Ekiti and Osun) and the general election of 2015, only time will tell. Speculators are busy trying to proselytise whether the PDP decampees to APC will come back as an evidence of the fact that their gripe was with Tukur, not just a mark of political prostitution that many Nigerian politicians practice. One wonders whether the umbrella of the self-acclaimed largest party in Africa can still shade the decampees when the political rain starts to fall as it will very soon.
My position is that opposition is good for democracy. APC and PDP should crystalize their manifestos and give the masses distinct ideologies that will aid voters in making their suffrage decisions. Maybe we should move to a two party state with a vibrant and buoyant democracy.
Alex Osondu Atawa Akpodiete is an author, Computer Scientist, Educator, Consultant, lawyer, Political Analyst & Social commentator. He has a Doctorate degree in Jurisprudence from the US. He has lectured Law, Ethics and Security & Intelligence Studies at the University level here in Nigeria and US. He also writes for a state daily newspaper & national monthly journal. He currently divides his time between Nigeria and USA where he runs an international capacity building firm. Contact him on 08138391661 or Profatawa@gmail.com,