Despite several entreaties and bargains to ensure their membership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), two state governors elected on the opposition party’s platform are bent on quitting the party for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the next four weeks, New Telegraph can report. It was learnt that the two governors, who had been approached and appeased by the leadership of the party through the National Working Committee (NWC) and their colleague governors, have started fresh talks with the APC leadership to perfect their movements.
It was learnt that the two governors – one, a second term governor from the South-South, and the other, a first term governor from the North, are working to effect their defections on or before May 29, which is their sixth and second anniversary in office respectively. Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State defected from the party to the APC last November. PDP, however, added Edo State to its kitty following the defection of Godwin Obaseki.
Currently, the APC has 19 states, while PDP controls 16 states. But in a bid to halt the exodus from the party, the PDP launched several efforts to prevent their members, especially the remaining 16 governors, from leaving the party under any guises.
The party’s National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, led other members of the National Working Committee ((NWC) of the party to some of the concerned governors. Recently, PDP governors, led by their Chairman and Governor of Sokoto State, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, were in Gusau, the Zamfara State capital, to persuade Governor of Zamfara State, Mr. Bello Matawalle, not to defect to the APC. Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike had, after the defection of Umahi, disclosed that another governor,, elected on the platform of the party is set to leave for the APC, adding that, “I can tell you there is one PDP governor that will leave. He is not leaving because of anything, but he will come up with an excuse.” Our correspondent gathered that the South-South governor had already briefed some of his aides on the defection and they have declared it as ‘total explosion’ for the party in the state as members of the legislature in the state are expected to follow suit.
A member of the party, who disclosed the plans under the condition of anonymity, said the defection of the South-South governor was long overdue because he had been pondering over it, but some leaders in the party had been prevailing on him to hold on.
“The governor has weighed his options and he is set to move with his cabinet and members of the legislature, including those in Abuja. He is totally fed up with the way things are run in the party and he has his eyes on federal positions after his tenure. For him, the idea is, the earlier the better.
He hasn’t enjoyed the inclusiveness he wanted in the ranks of the PDP and he feels he deserves more.” Speaking on the imminent move of the northern governor, the source said: “The pressure and fear of a second term victory are at the heart of his exit from the PDP. He needs more than the PDP to secure a second term in his state and that is where APC comes in handy. But it’s possible that he may return to the PDP after the 2023 election.” Aside from the secondterm calculations, it was also learnt that the governor is being projected to checkmate a power game in his state.
But speaking with New Telegraph, National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said the party is not aware of any defection move of any of its governors, adding that the party’s leadership met and secured the promise of some rumoured governors that they won’t leave the party. Asked about the outcome of the meeting of the NWC members with Governor Matawalle over his purported exit from the party, he said: “They met with the Zamfara Governor and he assured that he won’t go anywhere.”
On whether the party is aware of the pending exit of two governors from the PDP, he said, “We are not aware until they decide. We don’t believe that any governor that is worth the membership of the PDP will leave the party.” Last week, the APC Progressives Governors’ Forum, sent a high-powered delegation to Governor Matawalle to commiserate with him and the people of the state over the recent fire outbreak in Tudun Wada Gusau Market. The delegation, led by the Forum Chairman and Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, comprised the Governor of Yobe State and the Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Mai-Mala Buni, and Governor Muhammad Badaru-Abubakar of Jigawa State. The forum donated the sum of N50 million to the state government.
Recall that the rising number of defections from the party in the last few months has expectedly raised concerns over its fortunes ahead of the 2023 elections. Meanwhile, the governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has said that the opposition party is not in crisis, adding that the “PDP is in good a shape” Speaking yesterday on a Channels TV programme, Politics Today, the governor said he is not in support of the move by a member of the party to drag the National Working Committee (NWC) members of the party to anti-graft bodies. He noted that the party has mechanisms of resolving issues in the states, adding that a member’s petition cannot presuppose that the party is in crisis.