There were indications on Monday that the plan by the embattled Peoples Democratic Party National Chairman, Dr. Bamanga Tukur, to conduct a South-West congress may land him in another trouble with the party’s governors and some National Working Committee members.
Investigations showed that the governors and the NWC members saw the proposed congress as one of Tukur’s moves to further plunge the party into crisis.
Tukur had on Wednesday said a zonal congress would be held in the South-West to elect a replacement for a former National Secretary of the PDP, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola.
The national chairman had on January 14, 2013 directed Oyinlola to vacate his seat, citing a January 11, 2013 judgment of a Federal High Court, Abuja.
The court had held that Oyinlola could not have emerged as the nominee of the PDP in the South- West in view of the fact that two courts of competent jurisdiction nullified the congress in which he was selected.
Our correspondents however gathered on Monday that the PDP governors felt that Tukur should have waited for the Governor Ibrahim Shema-led Reconciliatory Committee to finish its work before announcing the planned South-West congress.
The PDP Governors’ Forum had last month set up the Shema committee to reconcile all the warring factions in the South-West.
A member of the party’s NWC, who pleaded anonymity, said, “We are aware that governors are not happy with the national chairman over the move to conduct a congress in the South-West where Oyinlola’s successor would be elected.
“They feel that he should have allowed the Shema committee to conclude its assignment before embarking on further action in the South-West. He is causing more confusion in the zone.”
Investigations showed that the governors saw the proposed congress as illegal since the national secretary, like other national officers of the PDP, was not a product of zonal congress.
The NWC member, who spoke with one of our correspondents, said, “You will recall that Oyinlola was elected at the national convention held in March last year, just like Tukur . You will recall also that it was Sheu Babayo that emerged as the choice of the North-East but at the national convention, Tukur was elected.
“You will remember that although other candidates stepped down for Oyinlola, votes were cast. In the same way votes were cast for Tukur. If the national chairman wants a replacement for Oyinlola and even for the sacked national auditor, Bode Mustapha, he should be bold enough to convene a national convention.”
It was also gathered that the governors are miffed that Tukur had not made any reference to the stay of execution order granted on June 25, 2012 by the Court of Appeal in Lagos on the post of national secretary of the PDP.
It was learnt that the governors were angry that the national chairman ignored the stay of execution order and hurriedly sacked Oyinlola and Mustapha.
A source close to one of the governors said, “He (Tukur) is portraying the PDP as a party that has no regard for the rule of law because we don’t understand why he should obey a Federal High Court and tactically avoid the order of the Court of Appeal. ”
It was gathered that because of its impact on the party, the South-West crisis would top the agenda of the next meeting of the PDP Governors’ Forum.
Since his assumption of office, Tukur has not received the full cooperation of the governors. His interference in the running of the party in his home state of Adamawa, is one of the issues being raised against him by the governors.
The governors also believe that he is running a one-man show.
The National Publicity Secretary of the Party, Chief Olisa Metuh, seemed to have confirmed the PDP governors belief that Tukur, is running a one -man show when he said on Sunday that he was not aware of the planned Congress in the South-West.
“I am completely unaware of any plan to have any zonal convention. I am completely unaware of it as National Publicity Secretary speaking on behalf of the National Working Committee. I am completely unaware of it,” Metuh said in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents.
He added, “ I think the press has misquoted somebody; there is no such plan; we have not discussed it and the matter is subjudice and has not been discussed right now. Whenever we take a position on it, you will know.
“It is subjudice. It is a matter that is in court, and we have not taken any decision on it. “
On the allegation that the party flouted a court order restraining it from removing Oyinlola from office, he said, “All I know is that we have an acting National Secretary.
“The National Working Committee has taken a decision that there is a caretaker committee in the South-West; a working committee has an acting National Secretary but the matter of having a congress was never discussed at the NWC and no decision on it.
“We are aware of an ongoing court matter on that issue; so we cannot declare a congress until we get a brief from our legal adviser.” But Tukur is not resting on his laurels as opposition against his continued stay in office mounts.
A source close to the PDP national secretariat hinted on Monday that “the chairman(Tukur) was relying on his loyalty to the President to keep his job.
He added, “Apart from that, he will also get in touch with those close to the President to let him(Jonathan) know that he needs someone that is loyal and could confront the governors as the party’s chairman.”
Tukur is said to be considering sending emissaries to the governors, considered to be against him to sheathe their swords.
“Tukur will also use the proposed nationwide tour that would see him visiting all the governors in their states to appeal for their support,” the source said.
It was also learnt that if the permutations that could make him retain his job fail , he would ask that all members of the NWC be sacked.
“He is just carrying along with them in order not to further create an impression that the party is divided at that (NWC) level,” the source said.
The chairman is believed to be unhappy that a majority of the NWC members were playing double game.
While some of them are said to be pretending to be with him and the President, their loyalty is actually with the governors, who nominated them .