Former Defence Minister, Lt. General Theophilus Danjuma (rtd)
•Nyako's supporters eye APC
By Chuks Okocha and Muhammad Bello, with agency reports
As the five northern Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors continue their junkets in the name of consulting with eminent Nigerians ahead of the 2015 general election, a crisis of confidence is ensuing among the governors over moves by supporters of Adamawa State Governor, Alhaji Murtala Nyako, to join the newly registered All Progressives Congress (APC).
The governors, Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano) and Nyako, who met with former Defence Minister, Lt. General Theophilus Danjuma (rtd), late Saturday, are aggrieved with the state of the ruling PDP and have been going round the country in the last three weeks, consulting with prominent statesmen on how to resolve the multi-faceted crises in the party.
The governors have also not hidden their disdain for the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, and are against President Goodluck Jonathan’s undeclared intention to contest the 2015 presidential election, which they believe should be zoned to the north by the ruling party.
However, the Niger State Governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, who has been part of the group, could not join them at their meeting with Danjuma, as he had travelled to Saudi Arabia for the lesser Hajj.
Besides, some of them have been touted to be in the group of PDP “renegade” governors that may defect to the APC.
However, it was learnt that the other four governors have disagreed with the decision of Nyako’s supporters to join the APC, a move that a source said others consider premature.
The four other governors, it was gathered, have asked Nyako to prevail on his supporters to wait until all consultations are concluded.
This is coming as the APC National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, told THISDAY that he was not aware of any move by PDP governors to defect to the new party.
Confirming plans by Nyako’s supporters to join APC, the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Ahmed Sajoh, told some reporters in Abuja at the weekend that they were considering the option.
He said: “The governor has made it clear that he is not leaving PDP, but the matter in Adamawa is beyond comprehension as the national chairman of the PDP (Bamanga Tukur) decides what goes on in the party in the state without an iota of concession to the governor.
“This is a sad situation we have endured for some time now. But if it continues unchecked, of course, we (supporters of the governor) will not rule out the option of having a rethink to make our flanks open for discussion with the APC in order to protect our future as politicians.
“The matter is not Governor Nyako as a person; he has nothing to lose even if he decides to be indifferent, but he may not have control over others who feel they should seek refuge in the new party to protect their political interests.”
THISDAY further gathered that three weeks ago, some Nyako supporters sought to register with the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in readiness for their eventual absorption into the APC.
A North-west governor told THISDAY that though Nyako’s supporters have been making moves to join APC, other governors have warned against such a hasty decision as consultations were still ongoing.
He said: “For now, the best thing to do is to engage in wider consultations rather than just jumping into a new party. There are many ways to kill a rat; if the PDP believes that without some governors it could go it alone, then when election comes, we shall see.
“That has been the position of the rest governors but it is only the Adamawa governor who is insisting that his colleagues of like-minds should dump the PDP now before 2015.
“I can tell you categorically that none of the governors is willing to join the APC. They were reached by the party in that regard but you know these governors are not kids; they are old war horses and politics is a game of interests.”
Asked to confirm if the PDP governors are making moves to cross over to APC, Mohammed said: “If the PDP governors are lobbying to join APC, I am not aware of that; but there is freedom of association, if they want to join APC, they are free.
“All I can tell you is that the APC as a party, with the kind of mobilisation going on and the acceptability nationwide, we are not reaching out to any PDP governor. But if the PDP governors want to join APC, they are welcome. But I am not aware that they are doing so.”
Despite their differences, the five northern governors were said to have met with Danjuma Saturday, which was the sixth in a series of meetings with prominent Nigerians and the president on the state of the PDP.
According to a source, who was privy to the meeting, “The governors said they were on a mission to rescue the country's democracy and bring about the building of national consensus in the country.”
It was gathered that Danjuma, who is being courted by the newly registered APC, was in a dilemma as to what choice or advice to give, as he was one of the stabilising factors behind Jonathan's presidency.
He was however said to be worried over what another source described as the lacklustre performance of the president.