President Goodluck Jonathan may have directed the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dr. Bamanga Tukur, and other members of the PDP National Working Committee to resign.
It was learnt on Monday that Jonathan gave the directive after the presidential committee on the PDP crises headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Pius Anyim, submitted its report to him in Abuja .
The order and submission of the report which noted that the party was drifting coincided with the lifting of the suspension of Sokoto State Governor, Aliyu Wamakko, by the 12-member Tukur-led NWC.
A member of the presidential committee, who spoke to one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity, added that Tukur and the other NWC members would tender their resignation letters at the party’s National Executive Committee meeting scheduled for Thursday in Abuja.
He said apart from the PDP internal crises, the President was concerned about the position of the Independent National Electoral Commission on the manner majority of the NWC members came to office.
INEC had queried the affirmation method that returned most of the NWC members to office.
It was also gathered that the NWC members were told that they risked being sacked if they failed to quit before Thursday.
A PDP source said, “If they fail to resign before Thursday, they will be sacked.” He added that the Presidency had already directed that a caretaker committee be set up in place of the NWC.
When contacted, a member of the NWC, who wondered how Jonathan’s directive was leaked, merely said it was true.
“How did the story leak? Yes, it is true. I am already packing my things from my office, “ he said.
But another NWC member, who also admitted that they would cease to hold office before Friday, said, “We are not resigning because President Jonathan asked us to do so. If we resign, it will be because of the report by INEC. We will be resigning to protect the integrity of INEC.”
A national leader of the PDP confirmed the looming dissolution of the NWC, saying, “You remember INEC had said that it does not recognise the election of a majority of them (NWC members).
“The fear is that one of those on the NWC could go to court and aver that the election that produced him or her was illegal. Anybody could go to court on that score too. The party may have problem at that point.”
A member of the presidential committee which has governors Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta); Goodwill Akpabio, (Akwa Ibom); Theodore Orji (Abia ); Isa Yuguda (Bauchi); Ibrahim Shema (Katsina); and Gabriel Suswam (Benue), as some of its members, had said the panel was not pleased with happenings in the PDP.
He said, “Our report, which might not please the President and the leadership of the party, is that the party is drifting. We have told him not to allow the party disintegrate further because whether we like it or not, the party is drifting dangerously and we have to arrest that.
“We have put in the report that some actions of the National Working Committee are repressive and unnecessary.
“We wondered why the party refused to hold its NEC for about a year, which to us amounts to breaching of the party’s constitution.”
The party’s constitution stipulates that NEC must hold at least once in a quarter.
The panel, which also has the Chief of Staff to the President, Mike Ogiadhome; and the Political Adviser to the President, Ahmed Gulak, as members therefore recommended the immediate holding of the NEC meeting, which has not taken place since July 2012.
The Board of Trustees of the party is expected to meet in Abuja on Wednesday.
Our correspondents gathered on Monday that pressure from PDP governors made Tukur and his team to lift the suspension on Wamakko at a press conference jointly addressed by himself, Akpabio and four other governors–Uduaghan, Orji, Yuguda and Shema. Anyim and Gulak were also present at the briefing.
Investigations by our correspondents showed that the governors had indicated their readiness to fight Tukur because Wamakko’s suspension was based on a “trivial” issue.
The NWC of the PDP had while announcing the suspension of Wamakko, said it took the decision because of alleged insubordination to Tukur and his office.
The NWC had earlier suspended the Governor of Rivers State and Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, for refusing to reinstate a suspended Local Government chairman and councillors in the state.
But the PDP governors whose chairman is Akpabio, were said to have expressed anger over the gale of suspensions in the party, particularly that of Wamakko.
Wamakko, while describing his suspension as null and void, had called for the sack of Tukur and Gulak.
He had accused Tukur of running the party as his personal estate.
The governors’ anger was said to have made Jonathan to set up the Anyim-led committee to look at the crises in the party.
While announcing the lifting of the suspension on Wamakko, Tukur said, “Now this issue will never come again. It is a great party, we believe in our nation. We need a party as a platform to stand on, but based on unity, discipline and commitment.
“We are also going to have NEC meeting. We have the support to rescind the suspension, which is a very important thing. We rescind the suspension of our governor of Sokoto.
“With that, we are ready for further business because NEC meeting is the requirement of our own party, always to get in touch with the people to tell them of our programmes, like the state- of -the nation and state of the party.
“So we are going to have our NEC meeting on Thursday, June 20 by 12pm.
“NWC has rescinded the suspension of the Sokoto state governor on the appeal of the PDP Governors’ Forum and secondly the National Chairman is inviting the PDP statutory members to the meeting of NEC.”
Also speaking at the briefing , Akpabio said that the presidential committee appealed to the NWC to lift the suspension of Wamakko.
Akpabio added, “I want to thank the national chairman of our party and other members of the working committee for granting us the privilege of this meeting today (Monday).
“We came as a select committee of the PDP to discuss the state of affairs of our great party, particularly the relationship between the working committee and the PDP governors and I want to say that we make a very strong appeal to the working committee on behalf of our colleague, Governor Wamakko.”
On why Amaechi’s suspension was not lifted, Akpabio said it was because of a case he (Amaechi) instituted against the party.