Saturday, 8 June 2013

Govs’ suspension: PDP may sack anti-Tukur state chairmen

The Peoples Democratic Party has begun moves to sack state chairmen believed to be working against the National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
This follows the party’s suspension of the governors of Rivers and Sokoto states, Rotimi Amaechi and Aliyu Wamakko respectively, by the National Working Committee over alleged anti-party activities.
Saturday PUNCH learnt on Thursday that the planned sacking of the state chairmen followed the declaration of support for Wamakko by the Sokoto State chapter of the party.

The state chapter had at a press conference addressed by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mohammed Arzuka Tureta, on Thursday in Sokoto said it did not recognise the suspension of the governor.
Sources at the national headquarteers said the sacking of the state chairmen and executives would deny governors believed to be working against Tukur and President Goodluck Jonathan’s reported re-election bid from having any grounds to operate.
By denying them of any party machinery, the national leadership hopes to effectively weaken the governors and whip them into line, Saturday PUNCH learnt.
Apart from Amaechi and Wamakko, other governors being targeted by the PDP are the Adamawa State Governor, Muritala Nyako; Rabiu Kwankwanso (Kano); Sule Lamido (Jigawa); Aliyu Babangida (Niger); and Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara).
It was gathered that the suspension of the governors and the sacking of the state chairmen would enable the Presidency and party leadership to seize control of the Narional Executive Committee from the governors.
Currently, the 23 PDP governors and state chairmen are in majority in the party’s NEC.
The party’s NEC meeting, based on its constitution, should be held every quarter. But it was held last in July 2012.
The PDP’s NEC consists of the national chairman, the President and the vice-president, chairman and secretary of the Board of Trustees and all other members of BoT.
Members of NEC from the Senate are the President of the Senate, his deputy, Senate Leader and Deputy Leader, Chief Whip and Deputy Chief Whip, two senators from each of the geo-political zones.
From the House of Representatives are the Speaker, his deputy, Leader and Deputy Leader, Chief Whip and Deputy Chief Whip, three members of the House from each geo-political zones of the country, who are members of the party.
All governors, who are members of the party and all the national vice-chairmen and national officers of the party and their deputies, state chairman. six ex-officio members from each of the six geo-political zones and all former national chairmen, deputy national chairmen, national secretaries, chairmen and secretaries of the Board of Trustees, who are still members of the party, are also NEC members.
Majority of these members are loyal to the governors from their states.
Part of the powers of NEC include carrying out the decisions and instructions of the National Convention, making rules for party discipline which shall be binding on all organs and members of the party.
The NEC also makes standing orders, deals with any other matters referred to it by the BoT, establish departments and set up ad hoc or standing committees of the party.
It is also empowered to supervise and direct the work of the party and all its organs including the national zonal, state and local government’s organs.
Other members of BoT, apart from chairman and secretary, have no voting rights.
It was learnt that the party would convene the NEC meeting after ‘recalcitrant’ governors had been dealt with.
It was gathered that the fear that the governors might sack the party’s NWC forced Tukur to delay the NEC meeting.
The decision to “cut the governors to size,” according to Saturday PUNCH investigation, was taken after the Nigeria Governors’ Forum election, which was won by Amaechi.
The PDP leadership and the Presidency were not support of Amaechi’s aspiration and indeed, campaigned for his rival, Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State.
A member of the NWC, who spoke with our correspondent, said the party was monitoring the activities of the ‘recalcitrant’ governors and the state chairmen as well as their comments in the media.
“We are monitoring their activities and their actions. We are going to deal with them one after the other before we have our NEC meeting. Anyone that we understand is capable of causing trouble at the meeting will be suspended before the meeting,” the NWC member added.
Already, the national leadership have penciled down the Chairman of the Federal Character Commission, Prof. Oba AbdulRahman, as the arrowhead of the onslaught against the Kwara State governor and his political godfather, Senator Bukola Saraki.
Ahmed is being accused of working for the emergence of Amaechi.
Though AbdulRahman, who is a former vice-chancellor of University of Ilorin, was said to have been nominated for the position he is occupying now during his first tenure, he was, however, reportedly dumped by Saraki when he attempted to run for governor.
When the present occupier of the office won the PDP nomination, Saraki allegedly declined to nominate the ex-VC for the FCC again.
It was learnt that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim, brought the former VC back and discarded Saraki’s nominee.
When contacted, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh said that the suspension of the governors had no link with the proposed NEC meeting.
He said, “We are not happy about these problems or these challenges we are having with one or two governors. The party is not happy and we are not rejoicing about it.
“But the truth of the matter is you can’t make an omelette without breaking an egg. We are doing this because we want to build a stable, disciplined party. As people who are in party administration, this is what we believe is best for the party at this moment.”