The New Peoples Democratic Party said on Wednesday that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the All Progressives Congress.
When and where the MOU was signed as well as its content were not made public by the National Publicity Secretary of the New PDP, Chukwemeka Eze, in a text message he sent to one of our correspondents.
The PUNCH however learnt in Abuja that both sides agreed that the five PDP governors who defected to the APC on Tuesday, would control the structures of the party(APC) in their states.
The five governors, also known as rebel governors, are Muritala Nyako(Adamawa), Rabiu Kwakwanso (Kano), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), and Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto).
It was also gathered that the rebel governors and leaders of the New PDP would play active roles in the emergence of the APC presidential candidate in 2015.
Both parties, investigations revealed, also decided that the New PDP members would be actively involved in the APC convention.
A source in the APC said that both sides agreed that the party would face some challenges in Sokoto and Kano states.
In Sokoto, an APC chieftain, Attahiru Bafarawa, is an arch rival of Wamakko.
Both sides were said to have agreed that a committee of elders should be set up to reconcile them.
In Kano, a former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, would reconcile an ex- governor of the state, Ibrahim Shekarau and his successor, Kwakwanso.
Our source said, “We have agreed that the New PDP governors would control the APC structures in their states. For Kano and Sokoto, we will reconcile the governors and their predecessors.”
When contacted, Eze said the meeting at the Kano Governor’s residence in Abuja on Tuesday, was a sign that the New PDP and the APC had agreed to merge.
Eze had earlier said on Wednesday that the APC and New PDP would on Tuesday next week sign the MOU , which would contain their power-sharing arrangement.
But he later corrected himself in a text message to one of our correspondents, saying he had been directed to inform the media that the agreement had been signed.
He said, “Please, I have just been corrected by our National Chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Baraje that the MOU has been signed and that the merger has been effected. So, my former statement should be ignored.”
Eze also said that members of the New PDP would attend a peace meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday.
It was gathered that some of the aggrieved governors were not keen on being present at the Sunday meeting.
While the leadership of the New PDP said it had asked the rebel governors to honour the invitation, some of them (governors) said they would not attend .
But Eze said the New PDP leadership had encouraged its members to attend.
According to him, by virtue of the fact that aggrieved members of the PDP are Nigerians and Jonathan, the President, they will honour his invitation to the meeting.
He said, “We have respect for the office of the President (it is not about Jonathan as an individual).
“We have asked our governors to attend the meeting with the President, if he invites them.
“That we have an understanding with the APC at the moment does not mean that Jonathan is our enemy.
“He is still our father. He is still our President. It is not a meeting that anybody will stay away from, and we will attend.
“By Sunday, we are to meet with Mr. President. We will listen to him and by Monday, we will be holding a meeting.”
The governors, however, differed on the issue.
The Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu, who had on Tuesday insisted on remaining in the PDP, expressed willingness to attend the meeting. But his counterparts in Kano, Adamawa, Sokoto and Rivers were non-committal.
When contacted, the spokesman for Aliyu, Mr. Danladi Ndayabo, simply said, “Yes, His Excellency will be in attendance.”
His colleague in Kano, Baba Dantiye sent a text message which reads, “I will check his dairy and revert.”
But Nyako, who spoke through his Director of Press and Public Affairs, said, “Has the President honoured the previous meeting he called? That question (will Nyako attend the meeting) is more appropriate for the President.”
On his part, Amaechi said he would not be a part of the meeting.
The governor, in a text message to one of our correspondents, said, “no”!.
Also, the Chief of Staff Government House, Port Harcourt, Chief Tony Okocha, told The PUNCH that he (Amaechi) travelled out of the country.
Okocha said the governor would be speaking at the Committee of the House of Commons in England on peace and security in the Niger Delta .
“The governor is not in town. He travelled out of the country. Though I have not seen the invitation, based on the reason I have given, the governor will not be able to attend the meeting with the President.”
The Sokoto State governor, Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko, is still outside the country and may not return before the meeting.
However, the Presidency said despite the defection of the five aggrieved governors, Jonathan was still favourably disposed to meeting them.
The Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Mr. Ahmed Gulak, said this in an interview with one of our correspondents .
Gulak said as the leader of the country, Jonathan was open to all Nigerians irrespective of their political leanings.
The presidential aide said, “Despite the fact that they have announced their decisions to join the APC, the President can still meet with them whenever they request it.
“Even if the APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, writes the President, seeking to meet him on politics and national issues, Dr. Jonathan will oblige him and listen to him.
“Since they have shown their desire to still meet the President, he will meet with them.
“You know that even the meeting that was supposed to hold last Sunday was initiated by them. They wrote the President, seeking resumption of the peace talks that were suspended ahead of Muslim and Christian pilgrimages.”
Gulak did not however say whether the President would reconsider his stand on some of the conditions given by the governors in view of the latest development.