PDP crisis: Patience Jonathan intervenes as Tukur begs for forgiveness

by Oke Efagene

Dame Patience Jonathan

Nigeria’s First Lady, Patience Jonathan, has been in talks with state governors under the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), to spare the embattled National Chairman of the party, Bamanga Tukur.

The governors who are said have blamed the recent crises that has befallen the party on Tukur, have subsequently, called for his removal.

The First Lady has however, been reported to be mounting pressure on the governors to drop the idea of sacking Tukur or face her wrath.

Tukur’s removal was also one of the key the demands of the 7 aggrieved governors of the party, 5 of whom recently defected to the All Progressives Party.

According to reports:

Their departure notwithstanding, the remaining governors of PDP have continued to push for his ouster on the grounds that it would usher peace and reconciliation in the party.

However, in the bid to stop his removal, the first lady, has in recent days been summoning the governors of the party and mounting pressure on them to drop the idea of Tukur’s sack.

It was gathered that some of the governors she has met with include Kogi State Governor, Capt. Idris Wada, with businesswoman, Ms. Bola Shagaya, in attendance.

Sources said that at the meeting, the first lady made it clear that the governors should throw his support behind Tukur, failing which she would use her influence to ensure that he does not get the ticket of the party for a second term.
The sources also disclosed that Mrs. Jonathan extended her campaign to the Akwa Ibom Governor, Godswill Akpabio, and his Abia State counterpart, Theodore Orji.

When she met with them individually, the source said, she informed them that should they insist on Tukur’s ouster, she would impede their efforts to determine who their successors will be.

They said: “The first lady is very determined to ensure Tukur remains the chairman of the party, as she is of the view that his sack could make her husband, the president, vulnerable.  She also does not have confidence that if Tukur is removed, there is a guaranty that his successor will protect the interest of the president as the elections draw near.

“Others, however, say that the reason she is interferring is because she is backing other governorship aspirants in many states, and a Tukur chairmanship will guaranty her candidates a free ride.

“But her meddlesomeness in the affairs of the party is causing anger and disquiet among the governors who have vowed to resist any attempt on her part to foist her demands on them.”

The governors had at a meeting last Friday in Abuja unanimously agreed that Tukur should be shown the door, but given a soft landing to facilitate his exit from office. They are proposing, among other sweetners, an ambassadorial posting for him to quit as chairman.

The sources said the governors determination to have Tukur sent packing was made worse following his meeting with senators last week, where he promised them that he will back them against the governors and make them full National Executive Committee (NEC) members.

The governors are expected to meet with the president today after the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting to insist on Tukur’s ouster.

The embattled Chairman of the Party has, however, decided to toe the line of peace reportedly pleading with governors to forgive him and one another.

According to a statement released by Tukur’s Special Assistant on Media, Prince Oliver Okpala, he reportedly said, “To our Governors of PDP extraction, I extend my right hand of fellowship, cooperation, peace and love to you all in the interest of our great Party. I further entreat Nigerians to eschew bitterness, rancor and acrimony in their social, political and economic dealing with fellow Nigerians.

“As one of the living fathers of this great country, I believe as elders our duty to our children and younger generation is to use our wisdom to show them the right path to selfless service to the nation and commitment to the enthronement of peace, love and unity. For our nation and our leaders can only succeed and thrive in an atmosphere of peace and love.

He continued saying, “Let us learn to forgive one another no matter the gravity of the offence or provocation. It should be noted that my cardinal 3Rs immediately I took over the mantle of leadership of PDP as the National Chairman centered principally on Reconciliation, Reformation and Rebuilding, all based on Equity and Justice.”

Several PDP governors will today meet in Abuja to discuss Tukur’s future as chairman of the Party and the defection of five aggrieved governors to the opposition All Progressive CoNgress (APC).

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