PDP crisis: Tukur, Anenih disagree over suitable punishment for Baraje-led faction

by Tutu Akinlabi


Following the Federal High Court verdict last Friday which declared the “New PDP” and its operations illegal, the Bamanga Tukur-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has begun to strategize on the best way to squash the Baraje-led faction.
However, while Tukur is intent on using stern punitive measures which would involve the eventual excommunication of the erring members, other stakeholders in the PDP, including the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), Tony Anenih, believe that caution should be taken as the members of the new faction are still important to the party.


The 7 governors who make up the ” New PDP” are:  Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers); Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano); Aliyu Wammako (Sokoto); Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara); Sule Lamido (Jigawa); Babangida Aliyu (Niger) and Murtala Nyako (Adamawa).
Leadership News reports


Chief Anenih contends that rather than wielding the big stick, the party should still explore reconciliation opportunities to bring the aggrieved governors back on track.


But in spite of the differences between the two PDP leaders, President Goodluck Jonathan’s  position on the next move to tame the governors is yet unknown.


While Tukur mulls the expulsion of the G-7 governors and other leaders of the new PDP, the Baraje  faction has insisted it would not relax the onslaught against Tukur until he abdicates office as national chairman of the party.


LEADERSHIP learnt that the divergent positions taken by the big wigs of the PDP came barely 24 hours after Justice Elvis Chukwu stopped the  Baraje-led PDP from parading itself as the authentic leadership of the PDP.


Justice Chukwu also restrained the trio of Baraje, Jaja Sam Jaja and Olagunsoye Oyinlola from parading themselves as the national chairman, deputy national chairman and national secretary of the New PDP respectively of the party.


The judge also restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its officials from recognising them as national officers of the PDP, whether new or old, even as he held that it was wrong for the faction to “interfere with the duties and functions” of Tukur and other officers of the PDP elected at the August 31 special convention of the party.


The source further told LEADERSHIP that, “The leadership of the party, including our chairman, wants the aggrieved governors expelled now, since they have lost out both in the court and before the INEC. They are saying the party needs to be sanitised once and for all before the preparation for the 2015 election begins.


“But Chief Anenih and a few others want the ongoing dialogue to continue since not all of the seven governors are willing to leave the party.”


The source, a current PDP BoT member, explained that the two leaders have their own reasons for their positions, but disclosed that President Goodluck Jonathan has the final say in the disagreement.


The source said, “You are aware, the chairman was not party to the dialogue going on in the State House between President Jonathan and those governors. But Chief Anenih is, and he knows what is going on there and wants the dialogue to continue. Anenih’s  view is that only three of the seven governors are interested in defecting  while others would like to remain and continue fighting from within. But Tukur believes in their expulsion in order for the party to have peace.


“It would interest you to know that the two of them are concerned about the 2015 general election. To Tukur, the earlier these people are expelled the better for the party, while  Anenih thinks otherwise. He believes since the election is not next year, those who want to go should be allowed to go on their own. But let me also tell you, President Jonathan has the final say on this matter, being the leader of the party. And as far as I know, he has not spoken.”


Those the source believes might still remain within the party to continue with the fight include three governors, while four others were  said to be on their way out of the PDP.


If the plan to expel them is endorsed by the stakeholders including Jonathan and Atiku, the seven governors and their supporters would be summoned to appear before the Disciplinary Committee led by Alhaji Umaru Dikko, to defend themselves of anti-party activities. Those who appear might be pardoned, but those who ignore the invitation would be suspended and later expelled.


Although, Dikko is said to be sick, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, his deputy would be asked to preside over the matter shortly after the inauguration of the committee this week.

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