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PDP chair: Jonathan insists on Bamanga

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  • Party defies court order, holds congresses in Nasarawa, Lagos.

By Lawrence Olaoye

Few days to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s National Convention, there are indications that President Goodluck Jonathan may succeed in getting the 26 governors under the platform of the party to back his anointed aspirant, former governor of old Gongola state, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur for the chairmanship of the party.

Our reporter learnt that the President, in his bid to get the support of the PDP governors, met with the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, who is also the governor of Rivers state, behind closed doors in his country home, Otuoke, Bayelsa state, last Saturday.

Our reporter further learnt that the President pleaded with the adamant governors to support his anointed candidate for the position of the party’s National Chairman.

A source close to the meeting said the President may have succeeded in ironing out all his differences with the governors on the chairmanship issue, thereby securing their commitment to also work Bamanga’s emergence as National Chairman of the PDP during next Saturday’s convention.

Our source also revealed that the governors may have further assured Jonathan that they would defer to his choice for other positions in the new National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.

It was learnt that the governors resolved to support all the President’s candidates in order to ensure peace and harmony in the party.

If this position is concretized therefore, coming Saturday’s convention may as well be a formality because with the consensus between the President and the governors being built, other aspirants may as well forget the idea of contesting the position.

Others who are in the race for the party’s chairmanship include the acting National Secretary of the party, Dr. Musa Babayo; National Publicity Secretary, Professor Rufai Ahmed Alkali and former Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Architect Ibrahim Bunu.

Others include former Minister of Agriculture, Mallam Adamu Bello; former Defence Minister, Dr. Shettima Mustapha; former governor of Bauchi state, Alhaji Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu, amongst others.

Meanwhile, there are indications that Tukur’s problems over the PDP National Chairmanship slot are far from being over. This is coming as the PDP Stakeholders Forum in a press statement raised questions on his eligibility to contest the position.

The statement signed by the coordinator of the Forum, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, stated “The main legal reason why Bamanga Tukur is not eligible to contest for PDP chairmanship is this: The PDP NEC meeting of 31st May 2001 expelled them following BOT and National caucus recommendation.

They were late Chief Sunday Awoniyi, Bamanga Tukur; late Edwin Ume-Ezeoke; Don Etiebet; a former National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Emma Ibeshi; a former Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Hon. Gbenga Olawepo and Chief Harry Marshall.

“They were summarily expelled for anti-party activities after the National Executive Committee(NEC) adopted the report of a Disciplinary Committee headed by the then Deputy National Chairman, Alhaji Iro Dan Musa.

“The implication is that Article 10 of the PDP Constitution requires that returnee members must be given waiver by the National Working Committee based on request from their state chapter of the party which the NEC must ratify.

“Bamanga Tukur is not yet officially readmitted and not eligible to contest. The disqualification of Bamanga Tukur by the Screening Committee is a must. Nobody is above the law.”

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