The crisis within the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has acquired a new dimension as a core support base of President Goodluck Jonathan, the South-South caucus, is encountering its own internal crisis over a disagreement between two of its leaders on how to handle the national crisis.
A pro-Jonathan group, Congress for Equality and Change led by former federal commissioner of information Chief Edwin Clark, yesterday chided the chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih, for admitting that some of the aggrieved governors had genuine grievances.
Clark’s attack on Anenih came as Anenih himself cautioned the national chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, against making inflammatory statements that could undermine the ongoing peace talks in the party.
In a communiqué signed by the chairman of the group, Senator Ameh Ebute, the group told Anenih to “distance himself from the demands of the so-called aggrieved governors and join Alhaji Bamanga Tukur to work for the party in truth and spirit”.
Anenih had on Tuesday admitted that some of the complaints of the governors who have been up in arms against both Tukur and Jonathan were genuine.
The Clark group faulted some alleged grievances expressed by the governors: “For instance, the claim by the governors that President Jonathan should award the governors, their cronies and family perpetual injunction from EFCC and police prosecution against corruption, embezzlement of public funds and criminal enrichment is condemnable; we wonder how the President could stop EFCC from investigating people alleged to have engaged in corruption.
“Also, the demand that the President should renounce his 2015 presidential re-election bid in spite of his eligibility to contest is very condemnable. They insisted that the call for Tukur’s resignation cannot be a thing that someone should liken to a genuine grievance.”
Amidst the war of words, the Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje-led PDP yesterday said their lawyers would file a contempt charge against Alhaji Bamanga Tukur for disobeying the orders of a Lagos high court by commenting on the crisis within the party after a court order which asked both factions to maintain the status quo pending the resolution of the case over who the authentic leader of the party is.
The factional party stated this through a statement by the national secretary of the PDP under Baraje, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, condemning the call by Tukur in Abuja. Last Wednesday, Tukur threatened to sack members of the National Assembly for siding with the Baraje faction. Tukur also threatened the arrest of the new PDP officials.
But the factional party said the call by Tukur for sack of National Assembly members of the new PDP smacks of his disdain for law. They further reminded Tukur that members of the National Assembly were elected by the people of Nigeria and are not his appointees whom he could dismiss.
The statement said: “We have asked our lawyers to press contempt charges against Tukur because his statement was made in clear contempt of the orders of a Lagos high court which, three days ago, asked both sides to maintain the status quo. We will ask the court to commit him to jail for his disdain for the law and the judicial system.
“We have always been saying it that Tukur represents everything that must not be seen in a democratic organisation. His statement demonstrates not just impunity but also lawlessness and crass ignorance of the tenets of the law and democratic ethos.