by ‘Jola Sotubo
After reports that President Goodluck Jonathan had urged him to resign, the embattled National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bamanga Tukur, is said to have stated that the president does not have the power to remove him from office.
Tukur has been in the eye of the storm in recent times as calls for his removal as chairman of the ruling party have intensified.
The chairman was placed in an even more precarious situation when the members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party also demanded his removal at a meeting with the president last week.
The National Executive Council (NEC) of the party is set to meet on Thursday to decide the fate of Alhaji Tukur.
Tukur’s lawyer, Ajibola Oluyede, had written the president, warning against any action aimed at removing the national chairman from office.
This is even as the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) held two separate meetings, giving indications of a deepened crisis in the party.
Tukur was reacting to media reports that President Goodluck Jonathan, having given up on his continued stay as national chairman of his party, had asked him to throw in the towel before the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the PDP slated for Thursday this week or face the decision of the party’s apex decision-making body.
Tukur has been fighting to retain his job as the majority members of the NWC ostensibly backed by some governors and power brokers in the party technically passed a vote of no confidence on his leadership at a meeting convened by Jonathan last Thursday.
Worried by the network of forces against Tukur amidst unsatisfactory defence by him, President Jonathan had commenced shopping for the national chairman’s replacement.
The presidency was yet to deny or confirm the reports suggesting that the president had asked Tukur to resign.
But Tukur, who spoke on phone with some newsmen on his travails, dismissed the report that he had been asked to resign by the president. He accused the opposition as the sponsors of the story.
He said: “I am an elected national chairman. I have my certificate of return. I cannot resign. The convention brought me, so it has to take the convention that brought me for me to resign. So, not even the president can ask me to resign.
“Remember, some members of the NWC were asked to go recently because the election that brought them was flawed, so Mr President cannot tread that route again.”
He further noted that, as long as none of the allegations against him has been proven, he has no reason to resign.
Tukur emerged chairman of the PDP in March 2012 after a convention. A mid-term convention is billed to hold in March this year.