By Olusola Fabiyi/PunchGuests at the book presentation to mark the 77th birthday of the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dr. Bamanga Tukur, in Abuja on Saturday, were surprised when they noticed that only three governors were present at the event.
President Goodluck Jonathan attended the event, while the three governors in attendance were Alhaji Isa Yuguda (Bauchi), Chief Theodore Orji (Abia), and Patrick Yakowa (Kaduna).
However, the governors of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shema and his Plateau State counterpart, Jonah Jang; sent their deputies.
There were insinuations that the governors decided to boycott the event to register their displeasure with the leadership of the party.
Noticing the side talks about the absence of the governors, Orji apologised on behalf of his colleagues.
He said he had their mandate to pick ten copies of the book for each of the governors.
He said the governors were absent because of circumstances beyond their control.
The governor said, “I have been mandated by PDP governors in the PDP Governors Forum to come and speak.
“To all the PDP governors in the governors forum, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur represents the Iroko in the forest.
“If you enter the forest and you don’t see the Iroko, it is no forest. Where you see the Iroko is in the forest. Bamanga Tukur is the leader of our party.
“Let me apologise on behalf of PDP governors who are here, because of circumstances beyond their control. Some of them have sent their representatives, but of course, an event for Bamanga Tukur isn’t one for excuses.’’
In his remark, President Jonathan said the PDP national chairman “is a man of honour, a detribalised Nigerian and an enviable businessman.”
He said his commitment to the nation should be emulated by all Nigerians.
The President said, “Today gives us an opportunity to honour a man, who has done well in contributing to the economic growth of Nigeria. We are here to honour a man of honour. His life story is that of patience and orderly rise to the top.
“He didn’t suddenly become rich. He has lived a life that symbolises that the best is possible in this country; he symbolises the life of perseverance in times of adversity.’’
He described him as Africa’s President without a country.
Also speaking at the event, a former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, praised Tukur’s contribution to the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria.
The book, ‘The Global Villager,’ a biography on Tukur, was written by Eddie Adeoye. It was presented by Chief Arthur Eze, with the sum of N10m.