Barring any change, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) may be hit by mass defection, in the next four months.
Daily Sun gathered that some APC governors, senators and members of the House of Representatives, dissatisfied with events in the ruling political party, have cut a deal with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), with a view to joining the opposition political party.
This is coming at a time the PDP has declared that its platform was open to all Nigerians to actualise their dreams of contesting elections.
But reacting, National Publicity of the APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, told Daily Sun that the party won’t want to react to such information when no name of any governor or chieftain was mentioned.
“I cannot react based on speculations,” the APC spokesman said.
However, competent sources among those who attended the PDP’s recent National Working Committee (NWC) meeting in Asaba, Delta State capital, revealed that top APC members, who will defect may join the PDP latest by May.
Eleven PDP governors and other executives of the party were at the Asaba meeting. The governors were Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Henry Dickson (Bayelsa), Benedict Ayade (Cross River), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta State), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo (Gombe), Nyesom Wike (Rivers) and Darius Ishaku (Taraba).
Others were PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus and other party executives.
One of the sources, who said part of the PDP NWC meeting centred on how the defecting APC members would be received, said some of the elected APC governors and senator were among those that left the party in 2014 before the 2015 general elections.
He said Nigerians would be shocked by the calibre of APC members that would dump the party for the PDP.
Although he refused to mention names of those involved, he hinted that they were from the North West and North Central geopolitical zones.
“By the time the governors move, Nigerians will be surprised. Some APC governors are already disenchanted with the party and its leadership. Before the Asaba meeting, PDP leadership had opened talks with them and the talks have been fruitful, we were told.
“The crux of the NWC meeting was how to fine-tune modalities on how to receive those joining PDP and how they will be integrated.”
The source said the defection that would happen in the National Assembly would be so huge that the configuration would change.
According to him, what happened in the National Assembly when Sokoto State governor as Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, spearheaded the defection of PDP lawmakers to APC may repeat itself.
“By the time federal lawmakers move to the PDP, I can tell you that the PDP will constitute the majority. They are joining us in preparation for the 2019 general elections,” he said.
Part of the reason some of the federal lawmakers were angry with the APC and the Federal Government, it was gathered, is the Presidency’s handling of the nomination of the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.
Daily Sun gathered that some of the senators said the Presidency has shown disdain for the Senate in the Magu issue and, therefore, senators feel insulted.
However, there are strong indications that presidential aspirants defecting from the APC to the PDP may not find it easy displacing other PDP presidential aspirants. Already, the list of those aspiring to run on the platform of the party has increased.
Apart from former Jigawa governor, Sule Lamido, former Kano State governor, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau and Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, all of whom have formally declared their intention, there are four others who are making consultations, but are yet to make their intention public.
They are former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, former Senate president, David Mark, Gombe State governor, Ibrahim DanKwambo and immediate past National Caretaker Committee chairman and former Kaduna State governor, Ahmed Makarfi.
For now, apart from Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso is another APC chieftain that is also eying the PDP’s ticket.
“In fact, Kwankwaso would have returned to the party long ago. But he wants assurance from the party that he would get the presidential ticket. However, nobody will give that kind of assurance. What we want to do is give everyone a level playing field to compete,” a high ranking member of the PDP disclosed.
On Tambuwal, a member of the PDP’s Board of Trustees (BoT) told Daily Sun in confidence that all eyes were on him, largely because of his age advantage.
“He’s been on the card since 2013. But for some northern elders, he would have been the APC’s candidate in 2015. At the time, some power brokers claimed they will toss him around as the president. That was one of the strongest factors against him then.
“Age is on his side, his benefactor, Senator Wamakko, is also angry with Buhari. So I don’t see him (Wamakko) working for Buhari again in 2019. Moreover, the APC leaders in the South West too see Tambuwal as a betrayer, so I don’t see him aspiring on APC’s platform.
“But even in the PDP, he will have a strong contender in Lamido. They are both from the North West. Politically, Lamido is far ahead of him. I don’t see Wamakko supporting Tambuwal against a Lamido. Wamakko and Lamido have come a long way. As I speak, Lamido has gone round virtually all the PDP states to deliver his message of hope to them.
“He will be in Akwa Ibom today (Monday) in continuation of the tour of the PDP states, after which he will be reaching out to non-PDP states. Across the Niger, he has more contacts and political friends than Tambuwal. And I see him as one man strong enough to break Buhari and the APC in the north,” the source added.
Meanwhile, PDP has said that its platform was open to all Nigerians interested in contesting for various positions, including the presidency.
Consequently, the PDP said none of its organs was permitted to align with any particular presidential aspirant ahead of next year’s polls.
The PDP declared, in a communiqué jointly signed by Secondus and the Chairman of PDP Governors Forum, Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State: “We reiterate that our repositioned party is prepared for the 2019 elections and will ensure that all Nigerians aspiring to elective offices are free to contest on the platform of the PDP.
“We want to assure that no established organ of the party is allowed to align with any presidential aspirant. We thank the people and government of Delta State for playing host to this all-important meeting.”
According to the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement, this was part of decisions reached at the Asaba NWC meeting.
The statement said the PDP condemned wanton killings across the country and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to take decisive actions to address the situation.
The PDP communiqué said: “We strongly condemn the unabated killings across the country. We call on Mr. President to come out clean on the herdsmen killings and address the nation on how to end the carnage. The President must take responsibility on the protection of life and property of Nigerians, which is the most important of his responsibilities.
“We believe that the Federal Government’s decision to set up a committee to address the issues of herdsmen killings is a pretentious approach to a matter that requires firm action and leadership by the President in line with his oath of office to protect all Nigerians irrespective of creed, tribe and political affiliation.”
– Daily Sun