Former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr Bamanga Tukur yesterday in Abuja announced his retirement from partisan politics.
Tukur made the declaration at a lecture to mark his 80th birthday.
The septuagenarian said he is leaving active politics for the younger generation and to enable him play the role of an elder statesman, adding that his doors are open to all politicians, businessmen/women and all Nigerians who may seek his advice or opinion on any issue affecting the country and beyond.
Tukur, who is also the chairman of the Africa Business Roundtable, went down memory lane to recall his early working life and his involvement in the formation of the PDP.
“I wish to state with humility that I was among those that midwifed this Republic. I participated fully in all talks and discussions about the return of democracy to Nigeria.”
Tukur, who was also Second Republic governor of old Gongola state, now Taraba and Adamawa states, declared: “As a victim of military dictatorship, I joined forces with like-minded democrats to press for democratic republicanism and full expression was given to this advocacy, which led to the formation of political parties, principally Peoples Democratic Party, out of the then G34 pressure group.
“I was one of the founders of the party and also a foundation member of the party.
“I deem it fit to use this opportunity of my 80th birthday celebration to announce my retirement from partisan politics. I have used several political platforms to serve my country.
“It is time to rest. I leave partisan politics for the younger generation. I want to be a statesman and an adviser.
“At the age of 80 I feel I can serve our dear nation more in the capacity of a statesman and a father figure.”
The ‘Global Villager’, as he is fondly called, bemoaned indiscipline, lack of internal democracy and absence of party supremacy and defection among the political class.
He lamented that some people join politics not to serve the people but to feather their individual nest.
“Politics should be seen as an avenue for rendition of service to the country. Politics should not be a bread and butter affair. All politicians should rededicate themselves to the service of the people.”
Tukur further used the opportunity to commend former President Goodluck Jonathan for his role in the evolution of credible elections in the country.
“I congratulate ex-President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for fashioning out a credible electoral system for Nigeria and for his statesman-like concession of victory at the last presidential election.”
He also called on Nigerians to support the federal government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, “for Nigeria to move forward.”
According to him, a strong political party is crucial to building a strong government in any country, strengthen our political parties, evolve party democracy which must be internalized within the party to ensure a viable political party that can deliver true dividends of democracy.
According to him, a corollary to the concept of party democracy is the idea of party discipline, true politicians should avail themselves of their constitutional right to assembly with anybody or party. The need to checkmate frequency of defections from one political party to the other can hardly be over stressed. Political parties are stronger when members submit themselves to the rules and regulations of the parties and subscribe faithfully to the ideologies of the party, he stressed.
Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS Vice President, Dr Toga Goyewea Mcintosh , also emphasized the need for continuity in the policies of government, so that the regional body will fully achieve her set out objectives.
There were congratulatory messages to Tukur from Nigerians from all walks of life, including President Buhari, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, former Governor Lucky Igbinedion of Edo State, PDP Acting National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun state, Governor David Umahi Nweze of Ebonyi state and the business community, among others.

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