by: Yusuf Alli
•Rainbow coalition imminent as PDM may collaborate with APCThere is disquiet in the Presidency and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) following what some associates of the President term “consolidation by the opposition” towards 2015 poll.
•Atiku under PDP watch
•Atiku under PDP watch
To the associates, the newly registered Peoples Democratic Movement may collaborate with the main opposition coalition, All Progressives Congress, to unseat President Goodluck Jonathan. The development is said to be causing unease for the President.
Our correspondent learnt that the permutations of Jonathan’s strategists on 2015 poll are no longer adding up due to the birth of APC, emergence of PDM, recalcitrance of five PDP governors, the likely split of PDP as a result of internal stress and the crisis in Rivers State where about 2.3 million votes are at stake.
A reliable source, who does not want his name in print, said: “We are aware that the opposition is consolidating in different forms. Initially, APC is being tackled but it seems the mega party, as the promoters call it, is just an eye opener of what the opposition is up to.
“The emergence of PDM is a new challenge, it is no doubt adding to the political headache posed by the APC. It is apparent that the opposition is firing from different flanks in readiness for a coalition. One will not be surprised if another strong party from the opposition emerges tomorrow.
“The presidency and the PDP have started weighing options; trust that we will devise means of curtailing the opposition”
Another source said: “The President has done everything to secure at least five out of the six states in the South-South and four out of the five states in the South-East to neutralise the huge votes the opposition is likely to get in the North-West.
“If there will be any setback, it will be in Rivers. The battle in Rivers State is crucial to the Presidency because about 2.3million votes are at stake. Loss of Rivers State to the opposition could wipe away the votes from other five states in the South-South.
“Even the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) had always had its victory determined by the old Rivers State.”
Although the President is banking on votes from the six states in North-Central, he is unsure of support from Niger, Kwara, and Nasarawa States. While he can take the situation for granted in Plateau and Kogi, it is slippery in Benue State with strong opposition coming from APC. Many believed that the Action Congress of Nigeria, one of the parties in APC, was robbed in 2011 in the state and with other opposition parties now in APC, Benue will be a battleground state.
A PDP chieftain said yesterday: “The President knows that the threat from the opposition is real. And the consolidation of the opposition through the PDM is causing tension in the PDP.”
He said the PDP is particularly worried by the political development because forces behind the PDM had played a crucial role in the formation of PDP.
He said PDP leaders believe that ex-Vice-President Atiku Abubakar had a hand in the formation of PDM, despite his denial of being the brain behind it.
To checkmate PDM, some stalwarts of PDP and forces in the Presidency, it was learnt, are pushing for deregistration of Atiku from the ruling party. The PDP, it was further learnt, will do everything possible to find out if Atiku is the financier of PDM.At an appraisal meeting at the weekend, some PDP leaders were said to have declared that there is no difference between Atiku and his associates who formed the PDM.
It was alleged that Atiku merely came up with Plan B through his associates to avoid being humiliated in PDP as was the case in 2011 when he was stranded after he was defeated by President Goodluck Jonathan in the presidential primary.
It was learnt that some PDP chieftains and forces in the Presidency rated the formation of PDM as an attempt to divide PDP by Atiku and his associates.
Some party leaders felt it would be dangerous to continue to have Atiku in PDP when his heart is in PDM.
A renowned member who spoke in confidence said: “There is no doubt that PDM came as a result of a plot to divide PDP. Some aggrieved members of the party are behind the new party.
“PDP leaders are unhappy that some leaders will be pretending to be in the party and at the same time, they will undermine it. The emergence of PDM has thrown a challenge to PDP to look for these dissidents or rebels in its midst because if they continue like this, they will be spying the ruling party for PDM.
“So, the involvement of some PDP members in the formation of PDP is being looked into. Such members or leaders might face disciplinary action if necessary.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “I think some of our leaders are of strong opinion that Atiku allegedly had a hand in PDM. They alleged that Atiku had done a similar thing in 2007 when he found solace in Action Congress (AC) to contest the presidential poll.
“The ex-VP had denied the allegation but the PDP is investigating a few things on how PDM emerged. But there is no way PDP will harbour members of another party in its midst. This will be tactically dangerous. We are looking into many options to keep the PDP intact from intruders.”
But the PDM yesterday unfolded its mission and vowed to tackle the security crisis facing the nation.
It also said it has placed priority on national unity, economic reforms, the rule of law, public accountability, human rights, democracy and the legitimacy of dissent.
The PDM has unveiled its mission statement in a release in Abuja by its National Secretariat.
The party it in its Mission Statement said: “In the last decade, Nigeria has witnessed an unprecedented decline in its social, economic and political fortunes.
“The recent lingering political and security crisis has magnified the cleavages in the nation’s multi-ethnic society and pushed our national psyche into a state of confusion, uncertainty and helplessness.
“ The nation is now faced with a rapidly deteriorating situation of human deprivation and economic stagnation which is threatening the nation with an ultimate structural collapse.
“This needs not be the plight of Nigeria and the Nigerian people because our nation is endowed with a large, quality population, abundant natural resources and a unique geo-economic location.”
It promised to reposition the country and restore its lost glory.