by Oke Efagene
Former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, has written a letter to the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bamanga Tukur, in which he gave notice of his withdrawal from the party’s activities.
Obasanjo has also sent a copy of the letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, who is the National Leader of the PDP.
In the letter, the former president, said he was withdrawing from all activities of the party because the PDP had been negating the principles of morality, decency and discipline in its decisions, especially as they affect the South West where he comes from.
According to a report by Nigerian Tribune:
The letter, dated January 7, 2014, according to a source at the national secretariat of the party, was received in the office of Tukur on Wednesday, 8 January, 2014. It is believed that President Jonathan also got his own copy on Thursday.
Obasanjo accused the party leadership of imposing someone (names witheld), who he described as a criminal wanted abroad, on the party as its South West zonal leader and proceeded to add that he was forwarding with the letter, “recent documents” on the alleged activities of the person.
Efforts to get copies of the “recent documents” by Saturday Tribune from both the PDP national secretariat as well as from Obasanjo’s side were, however, not successful but a source at PDP’s national secretariat confirmed that the letter came with attachments. He did not give further details.
The three paragraph letter reads:
“While I believe that a good and truly national political party must be a microcosm of the nation in its membership, made up of all sorts of characters from near-saints to near-satan, I also believe that on no account should a known habitual criminal that is wanted abroad to face criminal charges levelled against him be extolled as a political leader in a respectable and wholesome nation-building political party.
“(…Names witheld) has been so extolled in PDP in South-West geo-political zone which I personally find unsavoury. Politics played by any national political party must have morality, decency, discipline, principles and leadership examples as cardinal practices of the party. I have attached here recent documents that clearly indicate that your extolled PDP Zonal Leader in the South-West zone of Nigeria and an indigene of Ogun State is, to say the least, not a credit to the party as a member, let alone being a zonal leader.
“Since I stick in my practice of party politics to the hallowed and cherished principles enunciated above, I take this opportunity to let you know that while I continue to remain a card-carrying member of PDP, I cannot and I will not subscribe to a wanted habitual criminal being installed as my zonal leader in the party; a criminal for whom extradition has been requested by the US government. In the meantime, I will consider withdrawing my activity with PDP at local, state, zonal and national levels until the anomalous and shameful situation is corrected.”
A meeting of South West leaders of the party, it was gathered, will hold in Ibadan, Oyo State, today and may also come up with far-reaching decisions on the future of the party in the zone.
PDP governors give fresh conditions for peace:
People Democratic Party (PDP) governors have given fresh conditions for peace to return to the party and for the chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, to remain in office.
Part of the conditions, according to information gathered by the Saturday Tribune, is for President Goodluck Jonathan to prevail on Tukur to return the structures of the party to them in their respective states as well as make them the leaders. Only after this would they agree to resume adequate funding of the party at all levels as well as its national secretariat.
Part of Tukur’s ‘sins’ is his alleged incessant interference in the affairs of the state chapters, which is said to have led to the setting up of caretaker committees for some of the chapters. The situation did not go down well with the governors, who saw the action as erosion of their powers as leaders in their respective states.
The new development, sources close to the governors said, followed the intervention of some respected leaders of the party who reportedly counseled them on the implications of removing Tukur now that the 2015 general elections are around the corner.
Saturday Tribune, however, learnt that the development had created a sharp division among the governors, as some of them are still insisting that the embattled chairman must go as earlier demanded, for them continue to be relevant in the scheme of things in the party ahead of the 2015 elections.
The likes of the governors of Jigawa and Niger states, who were members of the aggrieved G7 Governors before five of them defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC), and some others are said to have insisted that for genuine peace to return to the PDP and for the party to maintain its supremacy come 2015 elections, there must be a complete change of leadership.
However, one of the aides to Alhaji Tukur revealed that the cause of friction between Tukur and the governors was his insistence that the party must be returned to the grassroots, and that the constitution of the party must be followed to the letter to allow for due process in election of candidates for party or elective offices, rather than the old order of imposition of candidates by state governors without due process.