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Friday, 2 August 2013

Quit PDP, become irrelevant

PDP LogoBy Lawrence Olaoye, Abuja and Umaru Dankano, Yola
Following Wednesday’s registration of the mega opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), the Presidency yesterday warned governors on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) threatening to leave the party that quitting would amount to a political suicide and a journey to political irrelevance. This is coming as the APC’s National Vice-Chairman, North-east, Alhaji Umar Duhu disclosed that 23 governors have declared their intentions to join the new party with over 300,000 already registered as members in Adamawa state alone. But fielding questions from newsmen on the threat by some of the aggrieved PDP governors to decamp en masse to the APC, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe said: “It’s becoming obvious to dissidents within the PDP that there is nowhere else to go. That is why you hear everybody saying we are not leaving the PDP.
“What you are seeing is clear cut announcements by those who are ….I don’t want to call them dissidents, but those who are not very happy with the way situations in the party are. They are telling the world, they are telling people who cared to listen that, yes, our party may have its problems, may have its faults, may have its inadequacies, but there is no alternative than to be inside.
“None of these governors as you can see for yourself is prepared to move. What they are trying to do is to move around and ensure that they are heard and at least maybe some of their demands are met. But nobody is going anywhere, because PDP is still the real party to beat,” Okupe further boasted. According to him, the five revolting PDP governors currently embarking on ‘consultations’ across the country on the State of the Nation have a hidden agenda.
He stressed that the reason for their consultation was purely on the politics of 2015 and not the Rivers crisis they were making people to believe. Those on the ‘consultations’ tour across the country include Governors Murtala Nyako, Mua’zu Babangida Aliyu, Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko and Sule Lamido of Adamawa, Niger, Kano, Sokoto and Jigawa states respectively.
The presidential aide pointed out that Rivers state is calm and its governor, Rotimi Amaechi, would not have been ‘junketing’ around the world if his state was in crisis as claimed by the five northern PDP governors. He alleged that their excuse was “a political camouflage”.
Okupe said: “There is no unrest in Rivers state, nobody is burning any house in Rivers state, commuters, traders and business men are going about their businesses in Rivers state, the governor is junketing abroad or rather having a good time”.
Asked whether the Presidency was worried by the registration of the APC ahead of the 2015 general elections, the physician-turned-politician said the ruling party and the presidency were happy about the development.
According to Okupe, the registration of the mega opposition party only showed that President Jonathan is tolerant and liberal minded.
On whether the country would not slide into a two-party state, he said the APC would not last long before it fizzles out. “I don’t think Nigeria is drifting towards a two-party system; I don’t think so.
“Do not really take this as a very serious opposition. There will still be other parties; there will still be other tendencies. I don’t think we are at that stage of two parties or even moving close to two-party system”, he added.
In the meantime, Duhu yesterday expressed optimism that the APC will sweep the polls across the country during the 2015 general elections.
The APC national vice-chairman said “millions of Nigerians from all over the country are delighted over the successful registration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).”
He added that the registration of the party by the electoral body was not the end, “but fresh beginning of the end of misrule and cluelessness of the PDP.”
Duhu disclosed that some aggrieved governors within the ruling PDP have began to hold talks with the leadership of the new opposition party.
“Definitely, they are in talks with us because they are not satisfied with what President Goodluck Jonathan is doing and he (the president) last weekend had an opportunity to call them into a meeting and they told him pointblank that he is drifting. So, based on that they now say the best way, is to have a platform that has integrity.”
“So, as it is today, several governors are talking with us, and apart from those that visited Jonathan and other former presidents, and from the number I am having now, at least we are having about 23 governors that confirmed their desires to join us in APC. So, when we have 23 governors, PDP will be left with only 13; so it’s clearly a pointer that PDP has already lost 2015 election”, he said.
The APC chieftain said besides the former members of the defunct ACN, ANPP, CPC, DPP and factions of APGA, over 300,000 new members have so far been registered in the newly registered APC in Adamawa state.
The former ANPP chairman in Adamawa also called on Nigerians to resist manipulations of the electoral process either through whipping up religious or sectional sentiments or by the use of money.
According to him , “the 2015 elections would be a litmus test for the opposition and all progressive Nigerians.”
But, in swift reaction to Duhu’s statemnts, the PDP factional
Secretary in Adamawa, Barr. A.T. Shehu said the party will not be rattled by the registration just as he maintained that the registration of the APC was good for the nation’s democracy.
He said:”I can assure you that our party, PDP, maintains its pre-eminent position and enjoys the widest popularity and acceptance in Nigeria.’

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