By Wale Elegbede
Governors and leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South-West are currently strategising on ways to mitigate the incursion of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, into the zone ahead of February 16, 2019 election.
New Telegraph gathered that the APC, which is in control of the six states in the South-West, is frantically pushing to put the post-primary crisis in some states behind it, come together in the coming days and eke out a winning strategy that will guarantee the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari, ahead of the PDP candidate.
A leader in the ruling APC, who chose to be anonymous, said: “The Atiku challenge is real and we can’t afford to take it for granted because South-West is where the swing votes reside. “As we speak, the signals on the field are not cheering in almost all the six states of the South-West and that is why it is necessary for the party and the presidency to summon everyone and give a marching order on how to prosecute the elections.
“The reverse in the order of crisis we are having in the South-West is unfortunate. PDP used to be the party in crisis before now, but they are gradually shaking off that nomenclature. Currently, all is not well with our party in Ogun, Ondo, Lagos, Oyo and perhaps Osun.
“Unfortunately, this division is beginning to create in-roads for PDP and Atiku in the zone. His offer of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) has also emboldened his campaign in the zone.
We can’t afford to sleep on them because we learnt they are meeting different people and groups in the zone.” Meanwhile, one of the governors in the APCcontrolled state of the South-West is said to have warned traditional rulers in his state against partisan politics, stating that they are royal fathers and not politicians.
It was gathered that the governor gave the directive to the traditional rulers following a proposed courtesy visit of some PDP leaders to select traditional rulers in the South-West next month.
However, barring any last minute change, leaders of the PDP in the South- West are set to converge on Lagos today for a stakehold-ers’ meeting.
Aside from using the meeting to appraise the reports of primary elections conducted in the zone, the gathering is expected to chart a course for the 2019 election, appoint campaign teams and also deliberate on the proposal of Atiku to offer the zone the SGF slot.
A source within the zonal executive of the party said: “We are meeting in Lagos on Friday and we will be deliberating on many crucial matters, including the SGF offer by the presidential candidate.
“I don’t want to pre-empt the meeting, but I know that the zone will still demand for more positions from the candidate. We have the second largest voting population after the North-West and I think that should be key to any form of negotiation,” he said.