• May Be Ousted On Thursday
• NWC Members Push For Acting Chairman Till March
• Don’t Dump PDP, Tukur Begs Obasanjo
The embattled National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is rallying President Goodluck Jonathan and the First Lady, Dame Patience, for their support to save his job.
He is also banking on key members of the party’s Board of Trustees and some governors to triumph over the National Working Committee (NWC) members who want him out at all cost.
His fate is expected to be determined at this week’s meeting of the PDP National Executive Committee (NEC) in Abuja.
But after gauging the mood of all but one of the NWC members at a session with President Jonathan in Abuja on Thursday night, Tukur and his aides quickly launched a counter plot against those bent on his sack.
Participants at the Thursday session shocked the president when they openly demanded Tukur’s exit, insisting that his retention as national chairman would spell doom for the PDP in next year’s elections.
Bewildered by the development, President Jonathan postponed further deliberation at the meeting and made his exit.
The Nation gathered that Tukur has been trying to convince President Jonathan that the plot to get rid of him by the NWC members is being sponsored by some governors who are bent on hijacking the party with a view to frustrating the second term bid of the president.
He is said to have pinpointed a South-South governor as the arrowhead of the plot.
Tukur’s supporters claim that some of the NWC members were bribed in the tune of N30million to N40million each to lead the campaign for his removal.
The NWC members were adamant yesterday in their demand for Tukur’s sack.
They said the recourse to bribery blackmail was an afterthought and a desperate bid by Tukur to cling to a straw to retain his post.
They denied receiving any bribe from any governor to ask for the chairman’s removal.
The NWC is rooting for the appointment of an acting National Chairman by the NEC on Thursday.
The Deputy National Chairman of PDP, Uche Secondus, is being proposed for the position pending the election of a new National Chairman in March by the National Convention of the party.
Investigation by The Nation revealed that Tukur has vowed not to step down as demanded by the NWC members.
Sources said he has been with First Lady Patience Jonathan, some members of the Board of Trustees, and PDP governors on the call for his exit.
A top source said: “Tukur is also pulling the strings in all relevant organs of the party to stay put in office. He believes those pushing for his removal are against the reforms being carried out in the PDP.
“He said those against free and fair primaries are uncomfortable with him following plans to change the old order in the party when different rules applied at any given time.
“He is also alleging that his exit might lead to the hijack of PDP structure by some governors which would make it difficult for Jonathan to get a second term ticket.”
A source rubbished Tukur’s allegation that a South-South governor is responsible for his woes.
The source said Tukur seems to have forgotten that the same governor has been a major financier of the party in the last two years.
Another source said Tukur met with the president and the first lady during which he put them into confidence on the crisis in the party.
The source said: “Tukur is banking on the president, the first lady and some governors for survival.
“As we speak, he has been reaching out to NEC members to correct the wrong impression about him by NWC members. He is trying to secure the support of at least two- thirds of NEC members who are about 94.
“He has a 50-50 per cent chance because the NEC is the highest decision-making organ of the party. Once the NEC passes a vote of no confidence in him on Thursday, he has to step aside.”
A key factor in the degeneration of relations between Tukur and the NWC members, it was gathered, is the alleged resort to propaganda by the chairman’s camp that some NWC members had collected between N30million and N40million each to revolt against him.
But they did not provide any proof as at the time of filing this report.
A source in Abuja also said that the president may have been persuaded to let Tukur be.
Several presidential aides are understood to have been making a case for Tukur with their principal on the ground that the party chairman has been loyal and committed to the second term project of the president.
A member of the NWC said: “The degeneration of the crisis in the party is obvious.One does not need bribe to say the truth. Are they saying the G-7 governors who raised concerns about the party were also bribed?
“No one has collected any bribe in the NWC. We are all men of integrity. Some people are just desperate to keep Tukur in charge for their selfish end. The reality is that PDP cannot win election with Tukur in charge.
“PDP is getting divided on daily basis. It is more worrisome because there is no leadership structure in place. Tukur is running a one-man show, he does not carry NWC along.”
Asked about Thursday meeting, the NWC member said there was no going back on Tukur’s sack.
He said the NWC put Tukur to task at a session with the president on Thursday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja and he could not respond to the allegations cogently.
The issues raised were:
•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.
The NWC source added: “We are standing by our agitation that Tukur must go. We have told the president, it is left to him to decide as our National Leader.
“I can also tell you that the battle has shifted to NEC meeting on Thursday if Tukur does not resign before then. If he is sticking to his mandate, we will go to NEC to test our popularity.”
NEC members had raised six posers for Tukur ahead of Thursday meeting.
Some of the posers, which are contained in a document, are as follows:
•What accounted for the breach of the PDP’s constitution on convening of NEC meeting?
•What informed arbitrary and illegal suspension of top PDP members, including governors,and high-handedness by Tukur?
•The rationale for unilateral dissolution of state Executive Councils by Tukur and NWC.
•Why did Tukur’s NWC usurp NEC’s powers on the appointment of the Disciplinary Committee for the PDP at the national level?
•Tukur’s position on the grievances of the governors and ways to prevent more defections, and
•The party’s perspective on court rulings on the office of the National Secretary of the party.
Source: The Nation