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Sunday, 4 August 2013

APC Registration: PDP Rethinks 2015 Permutation

071012F1.Alex-Ekwueme.jpg - 071012F1.Alex-Ekwueme.jpg

The Northern governors meeting with  former Vice President, Dr Alex Ekwueme
  •  Banks on S'South, S'East, N'Central • Kwankwaso, Nyako, Wamakko meet Ekwueme
By Chuks Okocha
The registration of All Progressives Congress may have altered the political calculation of the Peoples Democratic Party ahead of the 2015 presidential election, forcing the ruling party and the Presidency to rethink their strategy and chances.
The Independent National Electoral Commission announced on Wednesday that it had registered APC as a political party following its fulfilment of the statutory requirements.
THISDAY gathers that as a direct consequence of APC’s registration, PDP is re-evaluating its chances within the zones and considering new plans to tackle emerging challenges in its strongholds and weak spots.
Also as part of arrangements towards the 2015 election, the governors of Kano, Sokoto, Jigawa, and Adamawa states met with former Vice President Alex Ekwueme in Abuja.
According to a source who spoke with THISDAY, the re-evaluations by PDP became necessary in view of the “one leg in, one leg out” posture of some PDP governors, especially, from the North-west and North-east since the coming of APC. The source, a chieftain in PDP who preferred anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the issue, said both the Presidency and the ruling party were banking on the South-south, South-east, and North central for victory in 2015.
Other sources within PDP and the Presidency said that with the look of things, the stronghold of APC would likely be the South-west states of Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti and Oyo, while Ondo State may likely back the second term aspiration of President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 general election. They said by their calculation, PDP would at least score the mandatory 25 percent of votes in the South-west states and get more than 60 percent of votes in Ondo State.
In the same vein, the sources maintained, PDP would be at home in all the South-south states, including Edo State. This is based on the relationship between Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole and Jonathan.
THISDAY learnt that a cordial relationship between the president and the Edo State governor accounted for Oshiomhole’s victory at the last governorship election in the state. There will be no governorship election in Edo State in 2015 – the state will go to the polls to elect a new governor in 2016.
The permutations within PDP and the Presidency include a belief that the party would win in Akwa Ibom, Delta, Cross River, Bayelsa, Edo, and Rivers states with more than 80 percent of the votes cast in each of the states. They also believe the party will coast home in all the South-east states of Enugu, Abia, Imo, Anambra, and Ebonyi.
A source in the Presidency said, “We will carry the day in Anambra and Imo states, despite the fact that it is under the governorship control of APGA. Majority of the voting electorate are in the PDP. The party in Anambra has a majority in the House of Assembly and two out of three senators are members of the PDP. The state governor, Peter Obi, cannot conduct the local government election in the state because of the fear that the PDP will win all the seats.
“Apart from this, Governor Peter Obi is very sympathetic to the PDP. He is a member of the PDP at night and also a member of the President Jonathan economic team. So the state is for the PDP anytime.
“The party is in perfect control in the states of Enugu, Ebonyi, Abia and even Imo. We are aware that Rochas Okorocha became governor because of the crisis in the state, where some members of the PDP worked for his governorship.  The Imo State governor is playing a game. He wants to contest as a presidential candidate. As we talk, his party is in crisis of leadership between Peter Obi, who is seen as a PDP sympathiser, and Governor Okorocha. All these are to the advantage of the PDP both in the governorship and the presidential election.”
THISDAY gathered that if the Anambra State PDP stakeholders fail to agree among themselves on who would be the party’s governorship candidate in the November 16 governorship election in the state, the party and the Presidency may join forces with Obi’s APGA to win the state and later the governor would defect to PDP. The Anambra governorship election is seen as an important test case for PDP ahead of the 2015 presidential campaign.
The source said the North-west was where PDP expected to encounter some problems, but not to the extent that the ruling party will not get the minimum 25 of votes in each of the states.
“PDP will get more than 30 percent in Jigawa State, if Sule Lamido defects to the APC, but if he remains in the party, the state remains a PDP state. The same will happen in Kaduna State. The vice president, Namadi Sambo, will deliver his state for the PDP and President Jonathan.
“We may encounter some problems in Adamawa and Taraba, but other states like Bauchi, Gombe, Borno and Yobe will vote the PDP, or at least, the party will get more than 50 percent,” the source said.
PDP is also expected to win easily in the North-central states of Benue, Plateau, Kogi, and Kwara, according to the source. Its only problem in the zone would be in Niger and Nasarawa states.  Nasarawa State is under the control of Congress for Progressive Change, but the majority of the state House of Assembly members are from PDP.
“Like Jigawa State, if the Niger State governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, stays in PDP, the state will vote for the PDP, but if he dumps the PDP and joins the APC, PDP will get more than 30 percent in the state.  The governors of Kwara, Kogi, and Plateau states will ensure that PDP carries the day,” the source said, concluding that by and large, PDP will still carry the day, but “all these plans depend on President Jonathan contesting for a second term.”
Meanwhile, as part of their consultation with prominent elders and political leaders across the country, the governors of Kano, Sokoto, Jigawa, and Adamawa states, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Aliyu Wamakko, Sule Lamido, and Murtala Nyako, respectively, Saturday met with Ekwueme at his Abuja residence.
The governor of Niger State was absent because he was said to have travelled to Mecca for the lesser hajj.
THISDAY learnt that the four governors first met to harmonise their position before the meeting with Ekwueme.
The meeting with the former vice president followed hard on the heels of similar meetings between the five governors and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former military leaders Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar, former President Shehu shagari, and Jonathan. The five governors were also scheduled to meet former military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon Saturday. They were similarly expected to meet the former Minister of Defence, General Theophilus Danjuma.
The outcome of the meeting with Ekwueme was not immediately known, but it was gathered that the parley was in connection with the crisis in PDP and the alleged marginalisation of some of the governors in the scheme of things within the party.
THISDAY also gathered that the governors discussed the crisis in Rivers State and other issues affecting the country.
Ekwueme’s response was not known.
A larger meeting of the PDP governors with Jonathan is scheduled for August 12.

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