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Tue, 05 Nov 2013

The APC Option for New PDP

- Admin

 The possible marriage between the All Progressives Congress and the G-7 governors of the Peoples Democratic Party is becoming more of a reality, writes Shola Oyeyipo

The eventual merger of key opposition parties in the country on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been described by knowledgeable analysts as a milestone in the annals of the nation’s body polity, being the first time in the history of the nation’s political evolution that such an initiative was driven, though not without a fight, to a logical close. This is because for the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the merger of major opposition parties is not a thing to joke about or wave aside, having bestrode the political landscape for almost 15 years.

Of course, the political landscape had experienced alliances of various shades, all of which broke down afterwards. But the PDP is mindful of the solemnization of a merger of the nation’s combustive opposition parties with regards to its place in the body polity. Whatever misgivings that may have trailed and still trail the merger, it does not change the fact that subsisting equation may have been drastically altered, the extrapolation of which now remains fluid, at least, until the next election comes around.

Thus, while the losers and winners still battle their stakes on the eventual merger of the opposition parties, there is yet another “goody” that may soon berth on the horizon and it is the likely marriage of the APC and the breakaway of the PDP now referred to as the new PDP. Like every such political development, it had started like mere rumours, graduated to speculations and now pieces of information from authoritative sources. And if political happenings in the country in the past weeks are anything to ponder, the marriage is nearer than anyone can imagine.
Conversely, as the fracas within the ruling PDP gets somewhat intractable, the APC is not taking chances as it continues to latch on the cracks occasioned by the situation in the PDP to enhance its standing in the political profiling. 

Having pulled out of the PDP immediately after the August 31 special convention of the party, the body languages of the governors of Sokoto State, Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko; Niger State, Babangida Aliyu; Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso; Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi; Kwara State, Abdulfatah Ahmed and Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, are leaning on the APC as a possible fallback if the ongoing reconciliation failes irretrievably, which is the most likely thing to happen.

Obviously considering the possibility offered by PDP’s disagreement, the APC, an amalgam of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) which already has 12 states to itself, is looking to add the seven aggrieved state governors and realize its sole ambition which is to unseat President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015. A fresh speculation also has it that five more PDP governors, presumably loyal to the president have indicated their intention to go with their aggrieved colleagues, bringing the number to 12 if eventually happened.

However, to actualise this dream of incorporating the aggrieved PDP governors, a former military Head of State, Gen Muhammad Buhari, former Lagos State governor and one of the leaders of APC, Senator Bola Tinubu, the interim national chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande and some other members of the opposition party have sustained their persuasion on what they described as a national assignment. For this cause, they have been to Yola, Jigawa and Sokoto States just to woo the G-7 and secure their commitment.

In fact, the APC leadership was believed to have mounted so much pressure that it was recently reported as giving the G-7 governors an ultimatum within which to make up their minds or allow it perfect its own plans and tidy up whatever was left of its strategy concerning the 2015 elections. For instance, Tinubu had consistently told the seven PDP governors and their followers that they are in the wrong party and did not fail to encourage them “to retrace their steps and join the right party, APC.”
During their visit to Nyako recently, Tinubu said the nation needed the concerted effort of all and sundry in the political arena to join hands with the APC to move the nation forward, saying “We are in Yola for the same mission of wooing the G-7 governors to join hands with the APC stalwarts to salvage the country from the impunity of the ruling party,” said, insisting that the time has come to salvage the country from the pending precipice.

Buhari, who led the team to Yola, when talking about the purpose of the visit said they were going round the states controlled by the G-7 governors of the PDP to invite them to the APC. According to him, the APC leaders were ready to fight injustice and save Nigeria from the PDP as well as inject a new lease of life in the polity.

Ironically, while the success of such deft political moves may be seen as the biggest threat to the fortunes of the ruling party, there have been conflicting reports as to the workability of the political maneuver. First, there were reports that the aggrieved governors had commenced underground moves to dump the PDP for the APC in a manner that would definitely debilitate the party.

This calculation, expectedly, was premised on the fact that the chemistry between the two sides could be traced to the Nigeria Governors' Forum chairmanship election, which Amaechi won with exactly 19 votes against the 16 polled by his Plateau State colleague, Pastor Jonah Jang, who was the preferred candidate of the presidency. In other words, if the collaboration works out, the figure polled by Amaechi could be reproduced with additional five or more if the G-7 governors opted for the rival APC. This also is indicative of the fact that the two sides have been working together long before now.
Another angle to the emerging development is that the aggrieved governors are still very unhappy with the PDP leadership and their grievances are yet to be addressed. And more interestingly, rather than sue for peace, the Alhaji Bamanga Tukur-led PDP recently inaugurated a disciplinary committee led by Alhaji Umaru Dikko, an initiative considered as a systemic plot to facilitate the expulsion of the governors and their sympathisers from the PDP. While this goes on, the salvos from both sides have also not subsided.

Although the speculation that some of the governors are favourably disposed to the APC as option B is strongly rooted, the likes of Lamido has repeatedly said that his group would rather take the fight to a logical conclusion before any other option could be considered.

In the same way, Aliyu has noted that the G-7 governors were not in a hurry to dump the PDP over some unresolved crisis. Instead, he went further to urge the opposition party to instead of attempting to recruit the aggrieved governors and their allies into their own party, work to make their own parties better, adding that he preferred to keep his promises.
“I have learnt to keep promises. I have learnt to keep to agreements. We must teach our children how to respect agreements and promises. Although we have a ceasefire in order to make our party better, we need discipline in our party. We need unity and, above all, we need democracy to be entrenched in our party. Therefore, the G-7 governors are still on course,” said Aliyu.

THISDAY checks have however revealed that the proposal to the G-7 governors by the APC is already generating concerns among the leadership of the PDP. That aside, there are said to be ongoing plans to forestall and curtail such move, if it ever takes place. The game plan, among others, is to quickly expel the erring governors from the party and create new party structures in the affected states.

But more instructively, the frenzy among members of the APC may be the greatest impediment to the invitation extended to the PDP governors. Some of the concerned members share the common fear that the PDP governors may eventually distabilise the APC, which on its own is just trying to stabilise and play the national politics. 
An instance is the rumbling in Adamawa State where some persons within the APC are making frantic effort to stop Nyako’s move to join the APC. Stakeholders in the state and some other states where the APC leadership is showing interest are openly agitated. Their fear is not far-fetched; it is the fact that some of their mainstream members who had sacrificed for the party may be dislodged to pave the way for the PDP members.

The interim national vice chairman of the party in the North- East zone, Umar Duhu, however allayed the fears of the members, noting that “Nyako believes that he can use the resources at his disposal to take over APC, knowing full well that both Marwa and Gundiri fought him valiantly from election tribunal to Supreme Court and will not allow him to take over the party structure from them because he fell apart with PDP.”

He further maintained that “the national leadership of APC has drawn a roadmap to accommodate all the merging political parties through an accepted sharing formula,” saying “it is therefore too hasty for people to start crying wolf because the state harmonisation committees are not yet inaugurated.”
By and large, another development that would change the subsisting equation is the eventual marriage of the APC and the new PDP members, a move that may further complicate the chances of the mainstream PDP as the countdown to 2015 draws close. Observers have also argued that should that happen, then the PDP can as well bid the presidency goodbye. The only way out, analysts argued, is for the party to make up with the governors in the larger interests, anything short of which could mark the end of a PDP reign in the country.
Whilst it makes sense to describe some of these postulations as fluid, it is equally dangerous to dismiss them in totality because from the outcome of the NGF election to the failed attempt to impeach Amaechi, it is clear that the side of the presidency lacks strategy other than a supposed use of brute force which would certainly boomerang, the sensible thing therefore, observers say, is to do everything humanly possible to put its house in order and look forward to the future with assuring hope.


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Disclaimer: Content is the Opinion of the Author and is not in anyway representative of the Opinions of the Nigerian Election Coalition, WANGONeT, or the MacArthur Foundation except otherwise stated.

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