By: Mohammed Ismail, Abu Nmodu
Key leaders of the new Peoples Democratic Party and the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday met in Yola, Adamawa State, to fine-tune strategies to wrest power from the mainstream PDP in the 2015 general elections.
At the meeting held at the Banquet Hall of the Government House, Yola, the APC and “new PDP” leaders led by former head of state Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, former governor of Lagos State Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and APC national chairman Chief Bisi Akande declared that the time had come for Nigerians to end the injustice and misrule of the PDP.
The trio said that they were in the state to encourage Governor Murtala Nyako to defect to the APC to salvage the country from the “rudderless leadership of the PDP”.
“Nigerians are tired of the injustice and impunity being perpetrated by the PDP which informed our visit to invite you into our fold,” they said.
Akande told Nyako that APC is founded on rule of law where the rights of all Nigerians will be safeguarded to the letter.
‘’I can assure you that, in APC, internal democracy will be enshrined. Please let’s not make a mistake. The time for a viable change is now. Our discussion with other governors is very fruitful ahead of the proposed merger,’’ Akande said.
Buhari re-echoed Akande’s position, saying that their mission to Yola was to persuade Nyako to join the APC for the betterment of the country.
“All what we are trying to do is to get this country out of the current mess. In our bid to do that, Adamawa State must join us to deliver this country; that is why we are here. We need peace and prosperity in this country,” he said.
In his response, Nyako said that he is still a PDP member but would always identify with like minds for the progress of Nigeria. “What we are doing today is not politics but showing concern for our future,” he said. “The fact that Buhari is here physically with other stalwarts of the party is a sign of hope; that leaders from various divides are meeting here gives Nigerians the hope that we are uniting for the good of the country.”
Nyako, who declared that the PDP is very sick, added: “If APC means making Nigeria a key player in Africa, or saving or securing it, I don’t mind being in any political party.”
Nyako, also an aggrieved member of the G-7 governors opposing the Bamanga Tukur-led National Working Committee (NWC), said the PDP is on the verge of death because the leaders in Abuja had given it a terrifying under-cut. “No one should expect me to follow a dead party into the grave,” he said.
The APC national vice-chairman in the north-east, Alhaji Umar Duhu, said that the talk was at the instance of the party.
“We are not expecting only seven but 11 governors and, with this development, the opposition will now have 22 governors and probably take over the leadership of the National Assembly even before the 2015 election.’’
Stay in ruling party, Obasanjo begs G-7 govs
Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has however cautioned the aggrieved G-7 governors against leaving the PDP for the APC.
The leadership of APC is wooing governors Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, Sule Lamido of Jigawa, Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara and Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto, Amaechi, Nyako and Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State to join the opposition party.
Some chieftains of the party that are with them include former vice president Atiku Abubakar, former Osun State governor and national secretary of the new PDP Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, former Kebbi State governor Adamu Aliero, Senator Adamu Abdullahi, deputy chairman of new PDP Jaja Wawa, and its chairman, Kawu Baraje.
Obasanjo asked the aggrieved governors not to remain in the PDP and fight from within because the party had given them the privilege to become whatever they are in politics.
According to a political ally of Obasanjo, the former president is not happy with the development in the PDP and wants the feud to be resolved amicably as soon as practicable.
“Baba Obasanjo has been talking to some of these governors who are very close to him against leaving the PDP for either the APC or the PDM. He has been cautioning them against teaming up with APC in fighting PDP. According to him, their plan to decamp would show them as ingrate to the party that has made them what they are and defecting to opposition amounts to killing the party that has been so good to them,” Obasanjo’s associate said.
The source stated that Obasanjo is also encouraging President Jonathan against daring the aggrieved PDP chieftains “because in politics, everyone matters”.
Corroborating this, Obasanjo’s top aide disclosed that his principal would rather prefer the feud resolved amicably with no victor, no loser approach because going to the opposition would not help them to correct what they are fighting but weaken it.
We believe in reconciliation - Oyedokun
Meanwhile, a member of the PDP Disciplinary Committee, Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun, has reiterated the position of his party to reconcile and not deepen the crisis. He said the committee was not briefed on the on-going internal squabbles because the party strongly believes in the on-going reconciliation process.
He told LEADERSHIP Weekend that the committee is also interested in healing the wounds with a view to bringing in those who are on their way out of the party by rebuilding it.
“We want to bring in sanity into the party and we want all party members to come together to rebuild it by inculcating discipline. We are not interested in imposing stiff sanction on anyone unless there is a need to do that. Where punishment or sanction is needed, we don’t want it to be punitive but corrective;we want to recommend to the party the need to address the crisis within the party from the root, which is indiscipline,” Oyedokun said.
According to him, once all and sundry embrace discipline, then there would be sanity and this is preventive rather than curative. He said there is a need for political education and enlightenment of members on how to follow procedure to resolve grievances instead of going to court.
He said the committee wants every member to be committed to the rule and order. Oyedokun explained that members should be made to behave according to the dictate of the party’s constitution.
No party should expect harvest from PDP crisis – Aliyu
Also yesterday, Governor Aliyu warned that no political party should expect to harvest from the crisis in PDP. He urged politicians to learn how to honour agreements and promises.
Aliyu spoke at the commissioning of the PDP local government secretariat in Bida. The governor said that leaders of other political parties should make their parties better rather than cashing on the crisis in the PDP to harvest members.
“Those who are hoping to harvest should wait. They should go and make sure that they make their party a better one and allow us to make our party strong. Those who for any reason feel dissatisfied are free to move to anywhere they want,” Aliyu said, apparently referring to the reported wooing of the G-7 governors to APC.
He said: “I’ve learnt to keep a promise and keep to an agreement. In our last meeting, both the G-7 governors and the president agreed to a ceasefire. We are negotiating and the whole purpose at the end of the day is to make PDP a better party, make it a winning party to ensure that our success does not become our failure.”
Aliyu also said that some members of the PDP in the state who are not following his course were romancing with the opposition because the party leaders have refused to go the way they wanted them to go.
He said: “I have been told that some PDP members in Niger State are beginning to romance with APGA. They say that if the state PDP does not do what they say or want, then they will go to APGA because APGA is friendlier to some people in Abuja.
”You want to go to APGA, go. Go to any party you want. God is still with us and will continue to favour us. We do not fear anything. Anyone that wants to hold a pact or meeting, let him hold, we will not be afraid. What will be will be, so remain committed to the terms of agreement and promises in order to deserve respect from the people you govern.”