Some of the faces at the merger includes Ogbonaya Onu, nPDP chairman, Kawu Baraje, Senator Bukola Saraki, Governor Rotimi Amaechi, former Lagos Governor, Bola Tinubu, chair of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande
It has emerged that under the agreement reached between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and members of the faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), any member of the National Assembly and state assemblies from the ruling party who wishes to cross over to the APC will be given an automatic ticket to re-contest the 2015 elections, if he so desire. Also, the agreement between the APC and the PDP faction showed that the five PDP governors that have joined the APC will be given the powers to control their state structures.
The same offer was also made to other PDP state governors wishing to defect to the APC in the future, while all members of the ruling party who cross over to the APC will be free and eligible to contest for office as members of the executive committees of the opposition party at all levels.
Five of the seven aggrieved governors of the ruling party – Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), and Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) – along with other members of the splinter group, had declared their intention to leave the PDP for the APC on Tuesday.
Their decision was the culmination of talks between both sides and the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that spelt out the terms for members of the PDP to join APC.
A senior APC source, who spoke to THISDAY on the details of the MoU, said the terms gave the PDP governors who chose to join APC the right to control their state structures and also guaranteed automatic tickets to members of the federal and state assemblies to contest the 2015 elections.
“Also, with the registration of members of the APC coming up in December and the national convention and state congresses coming up in December and January next year, all the lawmakers wishing to contest will be given automatic tickets, unless they opt out.
“Even in Katsina State, former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, accepted to allow Governor Ibrahim Shema to control the state structure of the APC, if he agrees to cross over to the APC.
“You know this is an open invitation to the PDP state governor, because there is no way the PDP can win Katsina State again,” the APC source said.
But in a bid to rationalise the decision by five of its former aggrieved governors, along with other members of the ruling party to join APC, the PDP yesterday insisted that there was no merger between the faction of the party, stating that what happened was carpeting crossing by its disloyal members.
In a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, PDP said: “What happened was not a merger. You can only talk of a merger where there were two distinct parties. In this case there is only one party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). The so-called New PDP was never a party.
“This was established on October 10, 2013 when a Lagos High Court gave judgment against the New PDP and on October 11, 2013 when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) wrote the New PDP to say that the Alhaji Bamanga Turkur-led Peoples Democratic Party was the only recognised party by that name.
“From the above, it is quite clear that there hasn’t been a merger but an opportunistic carpet crossing by disloyal elements into the All Progressives Party.”
Metuh commended President Goodluck Jonathan for advocating and adopting dialogue in the face of anti-party activities by some members of the party, saying: “The fact that the President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, agreed to dialogue with this group was because of his magnanimity and large heart as a leader.
“He demonstrated time and time again that he is the epitome of humility and a father to all members of the PDP and indeed all Nigerians who are willing to go the extra mile in engendering reconciliation. It does not mean that this was a group recognised by law”.
According to Metuh, “The repudiation of the action of these fringe elements by some who had associated with them betrays the fact that this was a rushed action motivated by blind ambition and vain glory.
“And lest anyone thinks that the Peoples Democratic Party is diminished because of the departure of people who were in reality fifth columnists, we would like to draw attention to the fact that a tree that has been pruned of its underperforming branches grows better and blossoms with new life. This is the case in biology as well as in politics.
“As for the All Progressives Congress, we congratulate them on their new entrants, but we would also like to recommend to them the wise words of Chinua Achebe from his seminal work ‘Things Fall Apart’. Achebe said: ‘A man who brings home ant-infested faggots should not complain if he is visited by lizards’.
“The Peoples Democratic Party is losing no sleep over this carpet crossing because disloyalty is a habit and it’s only a matter of time before men who are disloyal to their mother would become disloyal to their step mother.”
In a related incident, the Adamawa State governor yesterday disclosed that after due consultations with his supporters, they had unanimously agreed to jettison the ruling PDP for APC.
Nyako, who was speaking during a stakeholders’ meeting of his supporters convened at the Government House, Yola, said by implication, he is now the new leader of the APC in the state.
Nyako said in accordance with the agreement reached with the leadership of APC, he automatically has become the leader of the party by virtue of his position as the incumbent governor of the state.
He said series of meetings and consultations with his political associates were held on Tuesday and he was advised by his supporters to take over the leadership of APC in the state.
Nyako advised his political associates and supporters to register with the APC, particularly those desirous of contesting the 2015 general election under the platform of the party.
The governor also debunked insinuations that his first son, Abdulaziz Nyako, will be contesting in the next election in the state under the APC, stressing that none of his sons would contest any election in 2015.
Meanwhile, despite the decision by one of the aggrieved governors of the PDP, Sule Lamido of Jigawa State not to defect, he has likened the PDP national chairman to the polio virus that has eaten deeply into the fabric of the ruling party and by extension into the veins of all Nigerians.
Lamido was speaking yesterday when he received the former Head of State, General Abdulsami Abubakar, who called on him in his office.
According to the governor, PDP is in a shambles as a result of the focusless leadership style of Tukur who has no idea of how to move the party forward.
He said even his colleagues who had recently moved to APC did so out of frustration.
“Most of them had worked for the advancement of the PDP in their states but instead of the party to show appreciation, it ended up sending people packing unceremoniously,” he said.
Lamido extolled the virtues of Abubakar, describing him as a democrat to the core especially for his role in handing over power to a democratically elected government.
Responding, Abubakar said Nigeria is at crossroads and would need the prayers of all to survive.
The military head of state warned that Nigeria would not survive in an atmosphere dominated by rancour and violence.
He urged all Nigerians to dissipate their energy on peace, because democracy would not thrive without peaceful coexistence among the people.