The National Chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, has said that he has no regrets over his decisions and that he has no apology for those who find his style of running the party uncomfortable.
Tukur has had a long-running battle with PDP governors who are insisting that he is removed from his position. His new found confidence is based on the support of President Goodluck Jonathan, whom he claims is behind all his decisions, including the ones that have displeased the governors who are now fighting to have him removed from his position.
In a statement released from London where he is on a medical trip, Tukur insisted that he had done nothing to earn the sort of conspiracy against him.
“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 to PDP.
“I appreciate Mr. President who has been a major pillar of support for the PDP. The President had endorsed every action we took with conviction that they were all in the good 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 NWC in its drive towards re-launching PDP into a more formidable structure capable of winning and winning elections without stress,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, President Jonathan and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the party, Chief Tony Anenih in the Presidential Villa on Tuesday, during which the president is said to have promised to save Tukur’s job at all costs.
The duo also discussed the outcome of Anenih’s peace tour to states where he held meetings with the governors to broker peace between them and the national chairman. Neither the President nor Anenih spoke to journalists after the meeting.
A top party source confided in this correspondent that the peace tour had achieved little, forcing the president and Anenih to consider other options to deal with the knotty issue.
However, Jonathan is said to be opposed to the idea of disgracing Tukur out of office, as he also sees the defiance of the governors as a challenge to his leadership of the party.
“From what was discussed at the meeting, Jonathan would continue to support Tukur. He has been told not to allow himself to be intimidated by the governors,” said the source.
Some of the governors visited by Anenih were said to have insisted that their grouse with Tukur was in the way he ran the party’s affairs as though it was his personal estate.
Media reports also had it that the common position taken by the governors is that Tukur must be sacked for the party to have peace, leading to speculations that presidential aides have already started shopping for a replacement.
The governors’ no-love-lost for Tukur started last year with the national chairman’s alleged unilateral dissolution of the Adamawa State exco of the party in his war for control of the state PDP with Governor Murtala Nyako.
The governors under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum then showed solidarity with their colleague, kicked and asked for the reversal of the dissolution, apparently fearing that such could also happen in their own states if the Adamawa case was allowed to stay.
At the peak of their battle with Tukur, the governors in January had asked for the immediate convening of the PDP National Executive Council meeting where it was speculated that the governors who wielded enormous influence among members had planned to pass a vote of no confidence on the national chairman.
The PDP National Working Committee, under the leadership of Tukur, has refused to heed the governors’ demand despite the fact that the party’s constitution prescribes that NEC meetings hold every quarter. The last meeting of the NEC held in July 2012.
Tukur was said to have angered the governors with his recent announcement of plan to hold congress of the South-West where new persons would be elected to replace the sacked PDP National Secretary, Olagunsoye Oyinlola; the equally sacked Vice National Chairman, South-West, Segun Oni; and National Auditor, Chief Bode Mustapha.
The three were removed by the court which ruled that the zonal congress that produced them was faulty.
The national chairman has been criticised for choosing to obey the order of a Federal High Court which called for the removal of Oyinlola, Oni and Mustapha, while ignoring the stay of execution order of the judgment by a court of appeal.