For about one and a half hours yesterday, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, pleaded with the aggrieved deputy members of the National Working Committee (NWC) to sheathe their swords.
He said he had opened up discussion with the Leader of the party, President Goodluck Jonathan, on the issues causing disaffection within the party.
He promised to “look into your complaints and keep the party united.”
Tukur went into a closed-door session at his residence in Wuse II, Abuja with the deputy members of the NWC yesterday afternoon.
Those at the session were the Deputy National Secretary; Deputy National Treasurer; Deputy National Financial Secretary; Deputy National Organising Secretary; Deputy National Legal Adviser; Deputy National Publicity Secretary; Deputy National Auditor; Deputy National Woman Leader and Deputy National Youth Leader, and National ex-officio members
It could not be immediately ascertained why the 12 NWC members were excluded from the meeting.
A source at the session said: “Before we got to the meeting, the national chairman already had a copy of our complaints as, probably, forwarded to him by the President.
“Tukur took time to listen to each leader of the party at the session. We also spoke our minds on how the party is drifting and what should be done.
“Another source at the session added: “We told Tukur that we do not want to be involved in the crisis between him and the 12 NWC members on one hand and the face-off with the sacked National Secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, on the other hand.
“We asked him to ensure fairness, equity and justice in the party. And that he should take steps which will promote the unity and progress of the party.”
A third source said: “We expressed disappointment with the NWC on how we were alienated in the scheme of things. We are not on salary, allowances or any perks. Yet, we were elected to represent some zones.”
He said the broad areas covered at the session were as follows:
•Arbitrary attitude of NWC members on issues and programmes of the party.
•Exclusion of elected party officers by NWC
•Need for equity, fairness and justice before the party
•A case for reconciliation of all aggrieved party members to move forward
•Breach of PDP constitution by not holding National Executive Committee(NEC) meeting
•Wrongful and consistent misinterpretation of PDP constitution.
•Management of the party in a cultish nature
•Wasting of party resources on personal events, functions, and chartering of aircraft
The need to have a policy on wages and allowances for all NWC members without any discrimination
Stoppage of arbitrary sharing of honourarium whether in cash and kind.
The deputies passed a vote of confidence on the leadership of Tukur.
Leader of the group, Senator Umar Tsauri, said the meeting, which was to interact with the chairman, was at their own instance.
Tsauri, who is the party’s Deputy National Treasurer said the meeting had a fruitful deliberation on issues affecting the party.
He pledged the group’s total support for Tukur’s leadership of the party, saying that the deputies believe in his capabilities.
“We told the national chairman of his leadership capabilities and the way he manages crisis and we have confidence in his style of leadership.
“Our meeting with him was fruitful and we discussed the development of the party. We passed a vote of confidence on him”
Tsauri however, declined comments on the stand off between the national chairman and PDP governors, explaining that as national officers of the party, they should not be seen dabbling into the affairs of state governors.
Tsauri defended the relegation of the deputies in the scheme of things, saying that the constitution of the party excluded the deputies from membership of the NWC.
According to him, the party’s constitution recognises the deputy national chairman and deputy national secretary as the only ones among the deputies qualified to be members of the NWC.