By Danlami Nmodu
An Abuja High Court has affirmed the election of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as the chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party,PDP.The court also urged Alhaji Kawu Baraje to stop parading himself as chairman of the party under whatever guise.
The clearest sign that trouble in the party has deepened was contained in a statement by Olisa Metuh ,spokesman of Tukur’s PDP.While saying the there is only one PDP,Metuh said inter alia “We wish therefore to state with all emphasis that any group of persons parading themselves as leaders of this organ of our party are impostors and must be treated as criminals by all and sundry.
His statement reads thus :”The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has received the judgement of the Federal High Court upholding the leadership of our great party under the National Chairmanship of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the ruling of the court in this regard is absolutely clear, direct and unambiguous. The PDP has only one duly elected National Executive Committee under the National Chairmanship of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
“We wish therefore to state with all emphasis that any group of persons parading themselves as leaders of this organ of our party are impostors and must be treated as criminals by all and sundry.
Henceforth, the leadership of the PDP will no longer tolerate or condone any meeting, utterances, press statements and/or activities whatsoever under the name, flag and colour of the PDP by any unauthorized person or group(s) under any guise.
As a law abiding party, the PDP remained calm in the face of the unwarranted attacks of the last few months. Our leaders chose the path of caution and decorum but our reconciliatory moves and offer of olive branch were treated with the highest disdain
and viewed as signs of weakness.
“The National Working Committee has therefore directed that the name, colour, flag and the provisions of constitution of our party must be held sacrosanct by our members. The PDP has adequate internal mechanism for resolution of disagreements and members are advised to express their grievances through such.
“We thank all members who kept faith and remained loyal to the constitution of the party through this trying time. Our party remains one big family and the preeminent party, commanding true and genuine followership among Nigerians across the country.
“The challenges of the last few months instead of detracting us have indeed better positioned our party to continue to win elections at all levels in our country.
The Baraje led faction has also reacted to the ruling with a threat to go on Appeal to the Supreme Court. “Let us reiterate that we will see this issue to a logical conclusion, including going to the Supreme Court, if necessary, to ensure that a non-member of our party does not continue to lord it over us as ourNational Chairman. Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and his loyalists should, therefore, not celebrate yet as any such celebration would be short-lived as we are more than ever determined to show him the way out of the exalted position he is illegally occupying”Eze C Eze ,spokesman of the faction said.
He insisted “We meanwhile insist that we have every right to continue using the PDP flag, symbol and colours, as we are bonafide members of the party and thus entitled to use them.”
In the same statement ,Eze called for a investigation into an alleged plot to kidnap Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi in order to force him to resign.
Before today’s ruling,Reconciliation efforts were expected to continue upon the return of some governors from haj in Saudi Arabia.
But this judgment may further push the rebels out of the PDP.And if they quit the ruling party, all stakeholders across the factions may have to go back to the drawing board as they prepare for the 2015 presidential election which is the bone of contention.
Already it is believed the rebels have been toying with alternative moves if reconciliation efforts fail. Will they move into opposition the All Progressives Congress ,APC or join another party?