Ade Alade, Abuja
Aggrieved members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, who constitute the new People’s Democratic Party, nPDP bloc in the ruling party appear set to re-enact their pre-2015 election feat that led to the destabilization and eventual defeat of the then ruling party, PDP.
This time however, the APC may be the loser as leaders of the nPDP bloc will soon lead hundreds of their followers and supporters out of the ruling party back to the PDP at the “injury time.” Beside Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, Saturday Sun gathered authoritatively that five serving APC governors, 28 Senators and 70 members of the green chamber of the National Assembly have joined forces with the nPDP bloc to move en masse from the APC in a matter of weeks.
Reliable sources within the group told Saturday Sun in Abuja on Friday that two of the serving governors are from North Central, another two from North East and one from North West (Their names withheld by us). It was further learnt that talks are still on to get at least three more APC governors to bring the total number to eight.
The calculation within the group, it was also gathered, is to move into PDP and have at least equal number of state governors with the APC, if not more ahead of the 2019 polls. By the arrangement, the bloc will also give PDP the majority in both chambers of the National Assembly.
Two dates have already been set for the mass defection. The first is immediately after the APC national convention at the end of this month. The party had in May scheduled the convention for Saturday, June 23.
A statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi also added that “inauguration of new party executives will subsequently hold on Monday, June 25, 2018”. The party has had difficulty picking a date for its convention with the exercise having being postponed about five times in one year. Before now, the party had reportedly settled for June 2 for its national convention but some stakeholders were said to have pushed for the new date.
If the mass defection fails after June 25, leaders of the bloc alongside their supporters will announce their decision towards the end of July, when lawmakers will embark on their annual break, Saturday Sun also gathered.
Meetings scheduled for Mecca
To perfect some of these arrangements, Saturday Sun gathered that the ongoing lesser hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia has provided a great opportunity for the coalescing political forces to hold meetings far away from the preying eyes of security agents in Nigeria. It was gathered authoritatively that most of the meetings will hold at different venues between Monday June 4th and Wednesday, June 6th in Mecca.
It was also learnt that the annual Islamic prayer event will equally give pro-Buhari forces the time to plan their counter offensive. While confirming the meetings in Mecca, a top leader of nPDP told Saturday Sun on Friday that “the lesser hajj this year has turned to a perfect opportunity for various groups to consolidate political meetings because the President is not the Buhari we voted for. All is not well at all.”
Part of the political machinations against the control of power by APC in 2019, Saturday Sun learnt is the barrage of cases already filed against the ruling party in various courts across the country.
As at yesterday, it was gathered, the party’s national legal adviser, Dr Muiz Banire, SAN is contending with 17 suits, all of which are challenging the outcome of the recently held party congresses across the states. Judgments from some of the suits, it was learnt, may have adverse effect on the outcome of the June 23 national convention and ultimately the party’s primaries ahead of 2019 polls. The situation becomes more precarous due to lack of funds to hire external lawyers who will support Banire to diligently defend the party.
nPDP committing treason
No doubt, the impact of the activities of the nPDP is already being felt in the appropriate quarters. This explains why the party leadership and the presidency held talks with leaders of the bloc last week. But the discussions, which border on alleged marginalization of the group within the party and the government achieved nothing, a source who attended the meetings told this paper. “Vice President Osinbajo has no power to offer nPDP anything, the best he could do was to take note of our requests and take same to the president”, the source added. A former Deputy Director of the Buhari Presidential Campaign Council, Engr. Mohammed Lawal, who is deeply involved in the re-election project of the president has however accused the nPDP leaders of trying to disrupt the government of President Buhari, a move he said will be treated as treason.
“What the nPDP is doing is equal to sabotage and treason. APC is government and if CPC aspect of APC pulls out, if APGA aspect of APC pulls out, if ACN aspect of APC pulls out, what remains? We agreed that APC is the ruling party, and it is the government, so, it amounts to treason. They should be careful in what they are doing.
“During former President Goodluck Jonathan, it was the PDP revolting against itself. PDP was not composed of the elements the way we have it now, so you cannot expect the same disruption to government in terms of treason as I’m pointing out now. So, they should put their patriotic cap to know what they are trying to do”, he said in an exclusive interview with Saturday Sun.
I’m bothered about Benue IDPs
One of President Buhari’s associates who was one of the nPDP leaders prior to the 2015 elections, Senator JKN Waku however declined to comment on the 2019 polls intrigues tearing the APC into pieces.
According to him, “I’m bothered at the moment about the displacement of people in my community in Benue. I have over 3,000 IDPs in my private residence in Makurdi, those fleeing herdsmen attacks in my community. That’s why I’m not ready to comment on any national political issue now.”