If feelers coming out of Thursday’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Working Committee, NWC, meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan is anything to go by, the days of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as National Chairman of the ruling party may have been numbered and it is only a matter of time before he is asked to go.
The president, who reportedly only got first-hand knowledge of the depth to which the goodwill of the embattled national chairman had sunk within the party, watched on Thursday night in disbelief as 11 members of the organ openly revolted against Tukur in what could best be described as a stormy meeting.
The displeased NWC members told Jonathan that the party would fumble at the 2015 general elections with Tukur at the helm of affairs.
Stunned by the development, the president reportedly rose on his feet and told members of the NWC: “Anyway, we have meetings next week” before he dismissed his guests shortly after and made his way out of the venue of the meeting which held at the presidential villa.
The PDP Board of Trustees and the National Executive Committee are scheduled to meet on Wednesday, January 15 and Thursday, January 16 to “chart a course for the party following mass defection of members to the All Progressives Congress (APC)”.
Thursday’s meeting it was reliably gathered was meant to douse the tension in the party in the build up to the NEC and BoT meetings. It was also particularly called on account of a perceived cold war between Tukur and Deputy National Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus.
It, however, turned out that almost all the NWC members had bone or the other to pick with Tukur, because as it turned out, the session provided a vantage opportunity for the anti-Tukur forces to openly confront him with his alleged sins in the presence of President Jonathan.
According to a source, Tukur was put to task on such allegations as:
•Holding party /NWC meetings at Tukur’s residence instead of the PDP Secretariat;
•Running a parallel NWC, leaving Tukur to take decisions on critical party matters with only his aides;
•Mass defection from the PDP due to lack of confidence in Tukur;
•Governors, National Assembly members, BOT, NEC unhappy with Tukur;
•No concrete achievements since Tukur took over in the last two years. He could not even complete the ongoing National Secretariat of the party;
•Globe-trotting without any result to enhance the electoral fortunes of the party;
•Lack of access to Tukur sometimes for two weeks.
The source said: “The meeting was amazing and the President was shocked when he asked each NWC member to talk.
“Of the 12 NWC members at the meeting, 11 spoke against Tukur. Tukur was only there rationalizing his actions.
“A pin-drop silence dominated the venue at the Villa because the President did not know that the situation had degenerated.
Another source said: “At a point, NWC members prevailed on the President to ask Tukur a question: What benefit has Tukur added to the PDP since he came on board?
“The NWC members demanded a response which they could not get at the session.
“They also went further to ask Tukur to tell the President which of the organs of the party is happy or pleased with him. Is it the BOT or NEC or NWC or National Caucus?”
A third source at the meeting said the NWC members pointedly told the president that the PDP cannot win elections in 2015, if Tukur remains in charge and the situation in the party continues to deteriorate.
He said the NWC members accused Tukur of unilaterally taking crucial decisions and passing instructions instructions to the NWC through his aides “in a cabinet that every member is equal having been elected at the National Convention of the party.
“We also drew the attention of the party to the fact that Tukur has not been able to complete the ongoing construction of the National Secretariat of the PDP which was started by a former National Chairman of the party, Dr. Ahmadu Ali”.
The source said: “The President did not respond to issues raised, but he merely said: ‘Anyway, we have meetings next week.’ That was how the session ended”.
However, a source in the embattled chairman’s camp said: “The meeting was a confidence-building session between the NWC and President Goodluck Jonathan to put the PDP in a better shape.
“The President asked Tukur and NWC members to close ranks. He pleaded for peace and reconciliation.
“I think the President may still meet with NWC members on Sunday”, he said.
Among those who attended the meeting according to the sources included the National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo; Deputy National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus; National Auditor, Adewole Adeyanju; National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh; National Organising Secretary, Abubakar Mustapha; National Treasurer; National Financial Secretary, Elder Bolaji Anani; National Woman Leader, Mrs Kema Chikwe; National Legal Adviser, Victor Kwom and National Youth Leader, Abdullahi MaiBasira. Only the Deputy National Secretary, Onwe Solomon Onwe was said to be absent because he was still in the East.