Dec. 12, 2013
The embattled national chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, Bamanga Tukur, has called on the former chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees, Olusegun Obasanjo, to tread with caution. Mr. Tukur’s censure was issued in a statement issued by his spokesman in reaction to a fiery public letter by Mr. Obasanjo in which President Goodluck Jonathan was accused of acting against the interests of the PDP as well as engaging in other undemocratic acts.
Mr. Obasanjo, who was Nigeria’s president from 1999 to 2007, was instrumental in installing Mr. Jonathan in office.
Reacting to Mr. Obasanjo’s controversial letter, Mr. Tukur said it was wrong for the former president to insinuate in his letter that Mr. Jonathan was using Mr. Tukur to cause confusion in the increasingly fractious ruling party.
“For such a statement against the person of the national chairman of the PDP to come from Chief Obasanjo, a former head of state and president, is most unfortunate,” Mr. Tukur stated. He added: “Chief Obasanjo in his position as former president under the PDP platform should have known very well the constitution of the party, the party manifesto as it relates to the independence of the PDP National Working Committee.”
The PDP national chairman continued: “For [Mr. Obasanjo] to insinuate that the President is using the national chairman to cause multiple problems for the party doesn’t in any way portray him as a true democrat.
“Chief Obasanjo is very much aware of the fact that Dr. Bamanga Tukur is a man of honor and proven integrity who shouldn’t be portrayed as a stooge to anybody. It is well known to Chief Obasanjo that Dr. Bamanga Tukur is a man who acts according to the dictates of his conscience and conviction and in line with the party constitution and manifesto. Dr. Tukur as the national chairman and one of the founding fathers of the party can never allow his opinion or decisions to be teleguided by any external force as a principled administrator and seasoned politician.
“Chief Obasanjo’s statement is certainly an attack on the personal integrity and credibility of Dr. Tukur as an outstanding statesman of international repute.”
Mr. Tukur’s statement concluded: “Chief Obasanjo is however advised to tread with caution over his personal attacks or vituperations against his fellow elder statesmen or those in exalted political positions in the country.”
Obasanjo had sead in his 18 page open letter to the President:
Mr. President, I have passed the stage of being flattered, intimidated, threatened, frightened, induced or bought. I am never afraid to agree or disagree but it will always be on principles, and if on politics, in the national interest. After my prison experience in the close proximity of and sharing facilities with an asylum in Yola, there is nothing worse for anyone alive and well. And that was for a military dictator to perpetuate himself in power. Death is the end of all human beings and may it come when God wills it to come. The harassment of my relations and friends and innuendo that are coming from the Government security apparatus on whether they belong to new PDP or supporters of defected Governors and which are possibly authorized or are the work of overzealous aides and those reading your lips to act in your interest will be counter-productive. It is abuse of security apparatus. Such abuse took place last in the time of Abacha. …
Allegation of keeping over 1000 people on political watch list rather than criminal or security watch list and training snipers and other armed personnel secretly and clandestinely acquiring weapons to match for political purposes like Abacha and training them where Abacha trained his own killers, if it is true, it cannot augur well for the initiator, the government and the people of Nigeria. Here again, there is the lesson of history to learn from for anybody who cares to learn from history. Mr. President would always remember that he was elected to maintain security for all Nigerians and protect them. And no one should prepare to kill or maim Nigerians for personal or political ambition or interest of anyone. The Yoruba adage says, “The man with whose head coconut is broken may not live to savour the taste of the succulent fruit.” Those who advise you to go hard on those who oppose you are your worst enemies. Democratic politics admits and is permissive of supporters and opponents. When the consequences come, those who have wrongly advised you will not be there to help carry the can. Egypt must teach some lesson.