The Northern Elders Forum has hailed the resignation of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, saying his tenure represented the “ugliest face of the PDP”.
The Forum also insisted that President Goodluck Jonathan has to keep to the one-term pact he allegedly signed with some northern governors in order to bring the protracted crisis in the ruling party to an end ahead of the 2015 elections.
According to the Deputy Chairman of NEF, Dr. Paul Unongo, only the president’s declaration not to contest the 2015 presidential election would douse the political tension in the country.
Unongo, who is a founding member of the PDP, said if the party went ahead to field Jonathan as its candidate, it would lose the 2015 presidential election.
While hailing Tukur’s resignation as a welcome development, Unongo said it should have come earlier to prevent defection of prominent members of the party.
He said, “I think if the PDP had done this (forced Tukur to resign) a long time ago, it would have perhaps stemmed the avalanche (of crises) that happened. Tukur represented the ugliest face of the PDP. He was insensitive; he was not caring; he was brutal.
“He already decided that Mr. Jonathan must be the presidential candidate of the PDP in 2015 and anybody who didn’t like that should go to hell. It is wonderful that after a long time, the PDP realised what some of us told them. We had told them that you don’t take Nigerians for granted, thinking you can do whatever you want.
“I hope that for the sake of the PDP, now that they have finished with the issue of Tukur, they will deal with the issue of Mr. President by deciding that he should not stand for election, so that the gentleman agreement between the North and the South will prevail. The one-term has been the main cause of the crisis in the PDP”.
Unongo said the crisis in the PDP, which has heated up the polity, has been a constant struggle between those who think Jonathan should not contest in 2015, and those encouraging him to throw his hat in the ring.
“It’s been between the people, who have been insisting on the President respecting the one-term pact and those who have been using him, and are telling him to go ahead and stand for election; that nothing will happen.
“You have young governors telling him, ‘nothing will happen; the Middle-Belt is with you’. The only thing that can save PDP now is for Mr. President to state categorically that he will not contest election in 2015. Otherwise the defections will continue and the PDP will lose the election if it fields Jonathan”, he said.
Unongo advised Jonathan to listen to the “majority” and shelve his plan to seek re-election.