by Segun Odeleye
The recently ousted National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, hosted some clerics at his residence last weekend and said he was unapologetic about his efforts to reform the ruling party. He asked the clerics not to stop praying for President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP in these trying moments of contemporary Nigeria.
“I did my best to bring PDP to good standard and international best practices on politics. I came in with the mind-set to reform the party by promoting the principle of election instead of selection and the idea of consensus instead of imposition,” he said.
He listed qualities which a PDP chairman must possess to include fearlessness, consistency and focus.
Tukur, despite what some believed to be abandonment by Pres. Jonathan, was full of praise for the president, saying that the PDP would have collapsed given the evil plots by certain members to destroy the party without the efforts of Pres. Jonathan.
“Some members got so desperate that they turned to the media and funded all negative reports against me.. all the negative media reports, none attributed any wrong doing to me… only echoed the views of the sponsors that I was unbending in my desire to change the bad situation in PDP.”
Speaking further, he said that he was “the one advocating change in PDP. We did that successfully in Adamawa and it is working. We conducted transparent elections in Anambra and the best candidate won. We never favored any candidate during the process… those who benefited from the rots within the party in the past stood in our way. My conviction is that very soon, Nigerians will know the truth. It then matters what the country would do with such truth.”
Meanwhile, a report by The Punch claims that Tukur has now been penciled down by President Goodluck Jonathan as the next Minister of Defence.
Last week after Tukur resigned, Pres. Jonathan had said that he was going to reward Tukur with a bigger appointment, as the former chairman did not commit any offence.
According to the report:
The decision to reward the one time governor of old Gongola State, according to the sources, followed Jonathan’s conviction that Tukur is not only a detribalised Nigerian, having worked with him at close range, but that the former chairman is somebody that cannot be bought over no matter the incentive.
His dogged loyalty and resolve to stand by President Jonathan even when governors, including those of the G-5 who defected, allegedly approached him with mouth watering incentives to join the fray of those wanting to stop the President from contesting the 2015 election, was cited as one of the reasons.
According to the source,“the fact that the north eastern part of the country has been the hotbed of terrorism, leading to the declaration of a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states last April, with some elders of the area, who are allegedly sponsored, claiming that the military onslaught on Boko Haram has ulterior motive” is also said to have played a role in the President’s decision.
“With Bamanga Tukur as Minister of Defence, and overseeing the quest to have a terror-free society and revival of peace and security in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, the so-called elders and groups who are politicizing very serious security threats to the nation and its citizens will be made to understand that government’s intention in the North-East is noble,” the source added.
If he takes over as the minister, Tukur would become the second PDP chairman to be appointed Defence Minister after the appointment of former chairman, Dr. Bello Haliru Mohammed, to that position in the past.