17 February 2013

Nigeria: Nine PDP Governors in Talks With APC

Abuja — Nine serving governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have indicated their interest to join a yet-to-be registered All Progressive Congress (APC), a former governor of Zamfara State, Senator Ahmed Sani Yarima has told Sunday Trust.

This is coming just as the APC that derives its membership from four political parties, including Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), has raised a legal team on its plan to register with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by June this year.

Speaking with Sunday Trust in Kaduna yesterday, Senator Yarima, a chieftain of the ANPP, said the PDP governors who want to join APC are from the North and South.

He also said that more than half of the governors are currently serving their second tenure in office.

"It's not only governors that have shown interest. They include National Assembly members. Many of them have indicated interest to join us in APC. So far, I have information that between seven and nine PDP governors have contacted our leaders and even some contacted me.

Contd. on page 3"They even include National Assembly members, serving Senators, former senators, serving and former House of Representatives members. Many of them have told us that they will join. This APC will surprise the nation by the grace of God," he added.

Another source in the APC told Sunday Trust that three of the governors are from the North-West, two from the North Central and that the rest are from the South East and South-South.

"The end of PDP has finally come because many of their top members have indicated interest to join our train. They don't want their names to be mentioned now because the PDP can victimise them. But if I tell you who the governors are, you will be surprised," the source who preferred anonymity said.

Senator Yarima, who described the national leader of the CPC General Buhari as the most qualified candidate for presidency, said there is understanding in the APC that power should return to the North. "When these political parties come together, we decide that everybody should drop his ambition. But, it is clearly understood that we all realise that power should come back to the North-that is the understanding of everybody. But you see the most important issue in the North today is not who becomes what. First of all, we must have unity.

"If you have unity, which is what we are trying to achieve in APC, all Northerners of right thinking who want progress of the North should come to APC. And among us, we look at individual credentials and see who is the best among us. For example, as I am talking to you, if you ask me, I believe General Muhammadu Buhari is the best candidate.

"So if he is interested in running, there is no way I can come out to run. His credentials are very clear. He was Head of State. He fought corruption. As I told you earlier, what we need is somebody that can fight corruption-who will ensure good governance, transparency and accountability and Buhari has all these criteria. I believe he is more qualified than me. But if Buhari is not running, that is a different question," he said.

Speaking in the same vein with Sunday Trust, Mr Osita Okechukwu, a member of Merger Committee of the APC, added that a team of finest legal minds are working on the party's registration with INEC.

"On the date or when the APC will be registered, no one can be categorical. But the truth of the matter is that APC was born on February 6, 2013 at Chief Tom Ikimi's House in Maitama.

"The sub-committee on INEC is made up of some of the finest legal minds and there is no doubt that they will meet up with the provisions of Section 84 of the 2010 Electoral Act, the constitution and other relevant laws. Accordingly, APC will be registered on or before June 2013 by God's grace," Okechukwu said.

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