The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, on Wednesday said he was not aware of any member of the PDP defecting to another party.
Tukur said this while fielding questions from journalists after meeting behind closed doors with the PDP Senate caucus and the Central Working Committee of the party.
Aggrieved members of the PDP in the Senate such as Bukola Saraki, Shaaba Lafiaji, Wilson Ake, Danjuma Goje, Ali Ndume, Adamu Abdullahi, Magnus Abe, Hassan Barata, Jubrin Bindo and Aishat Al-Hassan, did not attend the meeting which lasted about four hours.
But Tukur said the meeting was silent on the reported issue of defection because it (meeting) was a family talk aimed at reviewing the activities of the party.
He said, “We did not talk about people who want to go or stay (defection) I came here because this is the first time I am coming to meet my family members; they are my members.”
Tukur explained that the need for the entrenchment of democracy, discipline and good governance formed the basis of his message to the senators during the meeting.
Asked if it was an earlier visit to the National Assembly by the defunct New PDP that informed his decision to meet the senators, he replied , “Of course not, this is PDP and there is no other PDP.”
Also asked whether he discussed the impact of the defection of five PDP governors to the All Progressives Congress, Tukur said, “Have they defected? they have not gone yet.”
The five governors are Rotimi Amechi (Rivers); Murtala Nyako (Adamawa); Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano); Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara); and Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto).
Tukur, had before journalists were excused from the meeting, explained that he was in the Senate to fraternise and exchange ideas with the PDP senators on how they could continue to work together as one family.
Tukur also acknowledged the challenges facing the party but said that they were surmountable “because PDP is one family working together towards achieving a common goal.”
The President of the Senate, David Mark, who led the PDP senators to the meeting,also admitted that the party was facing some challenges.
But he said that the party was capable of addressing the issues like a family matter.
Mark said, “We admit we have some challenges in the party . It is expected in a big party like PDP . It is not unusual. We are equal to the challenges as a party . Hopefully , we shall come out of the crisis stronger.”
He also assured the National Working Committee of the party that the PDP senators were united in one accord and working together to ensure that the transformation agenda was carried out to its logical conclusion .
The Senate leader, Senator Victor Ndoma -Egba, said, “We discussed issues affecting members of the PDP Senate Caucus and the national chairman listened attentively and responded and gave us words of reassurance.
“They are domestic issues; you don’t expect me to come and discuss domestic issues in public. They are issues that affect the members of the party in the Senate.”
Ndoma – Egba also said the issue of defection was not discussed at the meeting.
He said, “The issue of defection never came up and I can say it categorically that no senator has indicated that he is going anywhere. So, the issue never came up.”
On automatic ticket for senators in 2015, Ndoma-Egba said, “We discussed the provisions of the constitution and emphasised democracy.
“Our party is called Peoples Democratic Party and we reminded ourselves that we must be democratic at all times .We had a useful meeting with our national chairman.”