By Henry Umoru
The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, yesterday, brushed aside a revolt by the National Working Committee, NWC, members of the party and insisted that only the National Convention of the party can remove him from office.
Tukur said that based on the constitution of the party not even the president could remove him from office.
Tukur spoke after majority of the NWC members he summoned for an emergency meeting at the National Secretariat of the party staged a dramatic boycott of the meeting.
The NWC members shunned the chairman against the backdrop of claim that they had lost total confidence on him and would not sit face-to-face with him again.
Tukur however, told newsmen that there was no basis for him to resign as no one has successfully proved any allegation of wrong doing against him.
He also dismissed the allegation that he had been asked to resign by the President, accusing the opposition of peddling rumour to cause disharmony in the party.
According to him, the National Chairman of the party can only be removed by a Convention and not by any other organ.
However, the botched NWC meeting, Vanguard gathered was aimed at resolving the lingering political crisis in the party that led some members of NWC to report Tukur to the leader of the party, President Goodluck Jonathan.
The NWC members told Jonathan that they had lost confidence in Tukur’s leadership, calling for his removal.
Tukur was to use yesterday’s meeting to appeal to members of NWC for forgiveness with a promise to turn a new leaf.
At the party’s secretariat yesterday, Tukur drove in at 11.45 am expecting other members of NWC to arrive for the meeting slated for 12 noon but majority of them did not show up until 2.25 pm.
The only officers who kept the National Chairman company in his office while he waited for the botched meeting were the National Secretary, Professor Wale Oladipo; National Auditor, Adewole Adeyanju and the National Treasurer, Bala Buhari.
Members of NWC who shunned the meeting included the Deputy National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus; National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh; National Organising Secretary, Abubakar Mustapha; National Financial Secretary, Elder Bolaji Anani; National Woman Leader, Mrs Kema Chikwe; National Legal Adviser, Victor Kwom; National Youth leader, Abdullahi MaiBasira and the deputy National Secretary, Onwe Solomon Onwe.
The absentee NWC members were said to have converged on a separate venue outside the national secretariat of the party where they concluded plans on how to execute the removal of Tukur.
Some of the NWC members who did not attend the meeting at the separate venue stayed in their offices even as Tukur waited for them but refused to see him until the National Chairman drove out of Wadata Plaza at 2.32 pm.
Tukur was forced to leave the secretariat when it dawned on him that the NWC members were not prepared to have any discussion with him.
There are 12 NWC members, according to Article 29(1) of the 2012 amended constitution of PDP, including the National Chairman.
Article 29(3) of the party’s constitution stipulates that “the quorum of NWC shall be two-third of the membership drawn from a least two thirds of the zones in the country and a simple majority shall pass any motion.”
Speaking with Vanguard separately, the NWC members said that they had made up their minds that Tukur must go for peace to return to PDP, as they had passed a vote of no confidence on him.
One of the leaders told Vanguard that, “it is totally unwise for us to hold any meeting with him, especially now; when he had refused to meet with us in the past. Is it because we complained to President Jonathan that we can no longer work with him that he is looking for a soft landing. He cannot fool us; it is too late, decision of BoT and national caucus is binding on everyone in the party.
“Another NWC member who spoke also said, “we refused to attend the meeting because we have made up our minds and there is no going back. Tukur failed to call for meetings and even when he travelled, NWC members would not be informed. We will only hear that he was in China and other countries, and will not instruct his deputy, Prince Uche Secondus to preside while he was absent.
He simply created vacuum in the party, nothing was moving, our proposals were lying on our tables and members were decamping to the opposition APC before our very eyes. We can no longer take that. We are tired of him, he must go. We want to work and win election, especially the 2015 Presidential election.”