Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Tukur, Akpabio Defend Absence of PDP Govs at Reconciliatory Tour Finale

Rattled by the absence of most governors elected on its platform at the Sunday grand finale of its reconciliatory tours, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, yesterday said the governors were not necessarily meant to attend the Abuja finale as they had attended the zonal rallies.

While the PDP chairman dismissed insinuations that there was a rift between the party and its governors, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Chief Goodswill Akpabio, explained that his colleagues did not boycott the meeting, stating that instead, the notice of the meeting was not adequately publicised.

Also, Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Tony Anenih, has pleaded with Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido, to support the party in its bid to resolve the various problems facing it.

Reacting to the absence of the governors, Tukur said: “Many of the governors were absent from the rally mainly because they were parts of the reconciliation meetings in their respective zones, and had made useful contributions during the visit by the National Working Committee (NWC) members, a reason that was never compelling for them to be in Abuja.”

Tukur, who disclosed this during a meeting with journalists in his residence in Abuja, explained that some of the governors were not in the country during the event, stating that those who were unable to attend had contacted the national headquarters with stated reasons.

“We were in the South-east zone and the governors turned out. When we visited the South-south, Governors Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta State), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom State) and Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers State) came to welcome us and made useful suggestions. Indeed, the Rivers State governor spoke to us on behalf of all PDP governors. Bayelsa State governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, I reckoned was busy with a special task, while the same story of success trailed our visit to the North,” he said.

Tukur explained that the reconciliation meetings across the zones and Abuja were meant for members, most especially those who were estranged, and not necessarily for state governors who he said had played their parts meaningfully in the party’s reconciliation agenda at the zonal level.

The PDP chairman, who noted that the reconciliation initiative across the zone and in Abuja was a huge success, appealed to the media to show deeper understanding in the party’s efforts aimed at promoting democracy, inclusiveness and a sense of harmony among members.

According to him, PDP would always be ready to partner with the media in the task of nation building, a reason he said the media in the country should never give a chance to those he described as pseudo-democrats whose sole aim was to pull down the PDP while having nothing tangible to offer Nigeria.

“This is the first time in the history of democracy in Nigeria that the NWC of a party would embark on a nationwide tour on reconciliation drive. This is the first time that the leadership of the party went out of comfort to have a feel of what has been happening to our members at the grassroots. This is the first time that we are making conscious efforts to return the party to the owners; the ordinary members.

“Who should appreciate these kinds of efforts if not you people in the media? If we are making efforts to promote peace in national interest, no right thinking person or group of persons should make attempts to promote hate and cause disharmony. I think the media should not join the pseudo-democrats, the demagogues and the treacherous fellows who always love to reap from crises. This is why we require the media support in our desire to re-invent politics and recreate Nigeria,” he said.
Tukur said the PDP would never succumb to blackmail coming from those he described as virulent opponents of the party, most especially in their desire to paint a picture of a PDP being at war with itself.

He stressed that the PDP had always been in a healthy accord with its members and all its governors, as evident by the encouraging outcome of the reconciliation tours across the federation.
The PDP chairman noted that from the tours, the party was able to realise that imposition of candidates during elections had been the root cause of misunderstandings within the party.

He said the PDP, against this backdrop, had been fashioning out agenda to promote internal democracy and transparency in future elections as a means of earning the confidence of all members.

Tukur said the need to transform PDP into an agenda-setting and issues based party more from election winning alone, had been the reason it entered into bilateral relationship with the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa, the ruling parties in Ghana, Sierra Leone and other African countries.

In a related development, Akpabio, who was at the State House, Abuja, where he held a private meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan, insisted that contrary to reports that the meeting was a flop because other PDP governors did not show up, many governors could not attend the event because it was not well publicised.

Akpabio, who was one of the two governors, who attended the event at the International Conference Centre, chaired by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, also stressed that there was no crisis in the party.

“The PDP launch was not well publicised. I had a meeting with the PDP Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh. Many governors were not aware of the ceremony. Metuh asked me if I will be at the International Conference Centre and I said for what? And he said for the grand finale of the zonal meeting of the national chairman and I told him I was not aware of it. And somehow, I was receiving the Super Eagles in my state,” Akpabio said.
Meanwhile, Anenih, who disclosed this when he paid a courtesy visit on Lamido at the Government House, said: “The challenges we have now in the party made me feel that I needed you more than ever.”

He said contrary to a media report which reported that you (Lamido) was hobnobbing with the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), “I know the Sule I know would not do so even on the face of the firing squad, he is a person that I know that stays were he has the conviction that it is the right place to be.”

Anenih assured Lamido that his support was crucial at this time of the party’s lifespan, stressing that: “We do not use people and dump them.”
Earlier, Lamido had declared that the country cannot be risked to be in the hands of the smaller political parties such as the ACN, CPC adding that: “We need to secure the future of Nigerians and the country.”

The governor said: “No matter what, we would stand by you and for the sake of your children and the future of Nigeria you must not fail us. It is payback time that you give back to Nigeria what the country has given unto you.

“We are aware of your reconciliation effort and we have to take the marching orders for you and it is up to you because it is either a good PDP that would salvage the people of the country or a crises ridden party that would crash the country.”

Among those, who were on Anenih’s entourage include the Secretary BoT, Senator Wali Jibrin; Senator Barnabas Gemade, former National Chairman of PDP, Dr. Amadu Ali, Senator Ken Nnamani, Hassan Halliru, Chief Obenezer Babatope and Air Vice Marshal Larry Konyan.

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