The power tussle currently pervading Nigeria’s ruling party, the People’s Democratic Party may break up the party as political interest aimed at gaining an upper hand in the coming election has enveloped the party, creating a major confidence gap, strong mistrust and dangerous power play.
The two major actors in the imbroglio are former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the new Party Chairman, Dr Barmanga Tukur.
In what looks an attempt to weed-off Former President Obasanjo’s influence in the People’s Democratic Party, the new Chairman has commenced a cleanup exercise, aimed at sanitizing the party from Obasnjo influences as well as de-robing the former president of all his fatherly stance and powers influences.
The new development is evident with the recent sacking of the party’s General Secretary, former Osun State Governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, whose termination was handed by an Abuja High Court last Friday.
Just as the Court’s decision sacking the former Osun governor was being challenged in an appeal court and law due process taking place, the Chairman of PDP, Dr Bamangar Tukur overruled the appeal move by dismissing Oyinlola from the executive position of party secretary and replacing him with Deputy Secretary, now in acting capacity.
Oyinlola on Monday morning had filed-in his appeal with the PDP National Legal Adviser, Victor Kwon.
Preempting Oyinlola’s move, a three paragraph statement signed by Bamanga Tukur dismissed Oyinlola,and replacing instantly.
Tukur promptly directed the Deputy National Secretary of the party, Solomon Onwe to assume duties as the Acting National Secretary of the PDP.
Dr. Tukur said he acted “pursuant to the powers conferred on the National Chairman by Chapter V Section 35 (1), 35 (1)(b) as well as section 36(2) of the constitution of the Peoples Democratic Party, (as amended).”
He said Mr. Onwe “shall by this directive conduct all correspondences of the party, issue notices of meetings of the National Convention, the National Executive Committee, the National Caucus and the National Working Committee as stipulated in the Constitution of our great Party.”
The PDP chairman said the “directive takes immediate effect and is hereby communicated to all the levels and offices of the Party.”
However, PDP governors who sworn their allegiance to Oyinlola are picking the gauntlets over the sudden sack, requesting for the party’s national Chairman himself to be sacked.
It also emerged that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday said it was set to challenge last Friday’s Court ruling in the appeal Court.
“We are seeing the beginning of a major implosion in the party because what Bamangar Tukur did was to use the court to carry out his plan and hiding under court’s judgement”, a source told EMNnews.com in London.
“Oyinlola has a right to appeal and he was following that due process. The action of Dr Tukur reflects that he was waiting in the wings for the court’s pronouncement in order to have his way with Oyinlola’s sack. It is a fix”, the source continued.
Bamangar Tukur’s action is an open declaration of a major power tussle between himself, some Northern leaders and President Goodluck Jonathan on one side of the battle ring and state governors and former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the other side of the ring. In essence, a dramatic flagging of a major countdown to the next election and the arduous task of picking a presidential candidate. The North has always claimed it would provide the president and the current political muscle flexing indicates the desperation of all interested party’s to scheme for ways of producing the presidency, come 2015.
PDP deep sore and break up of unity exposed.
However, it is apparent that the court decision to sack Oyinlola and the follow-up action of Barmanga Tukur to dismiss him from the office of the General Secretary goes beyond a mere political challenge as shown in the Court case. It is a power play by two main factions of the party which a faction had undermined the position of the other.
The current scenario has been a major crisis precipitated by a decision to reinstate the executive members of Adamawa State PDP which the current Chairman had presided over its dissolution. Oyinlola played a major role in the reinstatement.
At an earlier meeting presided over by Mr. Tukur, the party leadership had dissolved the Adamawa executive and appointed a caretaker committee.
However, “Mr. Tukur was absent when 10 members of the NWC met on Tuesday to rescind the party’s earlier decision to dissolve its Adamawa State Executive Council”, a source claimed.
Last Tuesday, a statement signed by the PDP Deputy National Chairman, Sam Jaja; and the National Secretary, Olagunsoye Oyinlola; the NWC said it held an emergency meeting under Article 29(3),of its constitution and had 10 of its 12 members present.
Tukru had described the dissolution of the Mijinyawa Kaugama-led Adamawa State chapter of the PDP without the his consent as an act as a betrayal of trust.
The National Chairman saw this decision as a as a major political humiliationfor him and the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party, which he heads as the the decision to reinstate the Adamawa PDP executives was done without his knowledge.
Now, the crisis is expanding and the atmosphere is ominous that PDP may never remain the same again.
However, a faction of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ogun State Chapter, where the plaintiff in the Court case that sacked Oyinlola had come from decried a situation whereby the plaintiff had submitted himself to be used for a clandestine purpose. The state faction saw a new crisis brewing among PDP in the state alleging betrayal and calling on its national leadership to come to the aid of the party in the South-West.
The state faction claimed that the initiator of the court case was a moneybag, one Buruji Kashamu, who plotted to destabilise the party through a dubious litigation.
The faction is loyal to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, one of the two mighty lords in the feud, raising the alarm in a statement issued by its secretary, Dapo Adeyemi in Abeokuta Ogun State.
Kashamu is loyal to PDP Chairman, and controls another faction of the Ogun PDP .
The faction in the statement noted that the Ogun PDP is in danger of destabilisation traceable to the Federal High Court sack order of Olagunsoye Oyinlola as the party’s National Secretary. Mr Kashamu had filed the case against Oyinlola
It said in the statement: “The attention of the Ogun State Peoples Democratic Party under the leadership of Sen. Dipo Odujinrin has been drawn to the recent pronouncement by a Federal High Court in Abuja where it sacked the National Secretary of our great party, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola,” the statement noted.
“Ordinarily, such an order would not have warranted a response from us, but the fact that the plaintiffs in the suit where a purported Ogun PDP executive led by one Bayo Dayo and under the influence of a one-man renegade called Prince Buruji Kashamu.”
With Tukur’s dismissal of Oyinlola, pre-empting an appeal, the factor stand to be aggrieved even more
Governors Withdrawal Loyalty To Barmanga Tukur
However, following the sack of Oyinlola, aggrieved PDP governors met and resolved to go back to an earlier stand to withdraw their recognition of Tukur, pushing a move that he must relinquish his position as the party’s Chairman.
The governors also promptly arranged a meeting with President Jonathan at the Presidential Villa where they are likely to press for their withdrawal of support for Tukur as party’s chairman.
” This may be the beginning of the end for PDP as we have seen a so called mega political party engaging in power play and triviality, meaning that position and power to them are more important than the welfare of the nation’s citizens”, a London political analyst fumed
The outcome of the governor’s meeting with Jonathan will go a long way to determine the resolution of the crisis.