The national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, yesterday admitted that the emergence of the All Progressive Congress (APC) indicates the arrival of a political party to be reckoned with in the country. The development, he said, signifies that Nigeria is drifting to a two-party state, adding that he was optimistic that only the PDP and APC may contest the 2015 general elections.
Tukur also explained that with the determination of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to form the APC, "it means that we are drifting towards a two-party system - the PDP and the APC".
On the election of Chief Anthony Anenih as the chairman of the party's Board of Trustees (BoT) and the emergence of Akwa Ibom State governor Godswill Akpabio as the chairman of the PDP Governors' Forum, Tukur said what it means is that the party is now repackaged and ready for the opposition political parties in the 2015 elections.
"With a repackaged PDP as you can now see, the implication is that it will enable us mobilise our members ahead of the 2015 general election and face elections and win. No doubt, with Chief Anthony Anenih as the chairman of our party's Board of Trustees (BoT), Governor Godswill Apkabio as the chairman of the PDP Governors' Forum and I as the national chairman, definitely, the sky is our limit.
"Most of the people in APC now are original members of the PDP and I can assure you that we have commenced talks to bring them back to where they originally belong, which is the PDP. They are coming back, because some of them have told me that their aspirations may not be met in the APC because of the burning ambitions of some individual members.
"They don't want a party that is being run like a cult. They are gradually commencing a return to the PDP, because the PDP is the only national party in Nigeria. Three of us (Tukur, Akpabio and Anenih) will put our heads together and make PDP move ahead and remain formidable to face the opposition party called the APC," Tukur said.
2015: Buhari, Tinubu Meet In Kaduna
The leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, yesterday visited the leader of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and former head of state, General Muhammadu Buhari, in Kaduna where the duo engaged in a series of discussions.
Although the discussion which lasted almost three hours was held behind closed doors, Tinubu briefed our correspondent shortly after their meeting ended and gave an insight into the purpose of his visit.
"I am here just to consult with the general on the new merger party, the APC that has come to be, and to look at the various options for a one-man-one-vote in the country," he said.
On the workability of the merger, Tinubu expressed optimism that the merger will not just work but will rescue the country from its present situation which, he said, is nothing to write home about. He said: "The merger will definitely work out this time round. I have been very consistent about it; it is only through strong determination and commitment and the sacrifice of the people; it is not only about us as individuals. You have a lot of speculations going on this time round: they have even chosen our presidential candidate for us and all of that, to determine all the sorts of things that we do. It is a banner headline in Nigerian Tribune, but that is the story of people who are already afraid and scared of the unity of purpose that is coming up in the country.
"In essence, we are all committed to democratic principles and values for this country, and a united body ready to rescue the nation with one mission, vision, and one single commitment to alleviate the problems of the masses.
"It is not about individual, it is not about General Buhari. If he wanted money from the government, he would always get it, but he stands for the truth and the masses and the redemption of our democratic value, justice and progress for all -- these are the things that we need to harness the opportunity that is here in this country, to get it moving and moving forward, not the manner it's been going in the past 16 years."
On the allegation that the new merging party (APC) is making plans to woo serving and past Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors into it, Tinubu said "if that is a strategy on our part, should I tell you?"
"The facts remain that we must talk to everybody and must woo them. If the PDP chairman, Bamanga Tukur, is interested, let him look through; we will invite him and talk to him. APC is a party to stay with, work with and to share the vision of eliminating corruption, ineptitude in governance and lack of employment for our people. "If you are threatened by lack of security, enter an APC; if you have migraine or persistent headache use APC," he said.
For his part, Buhari said he concurred with all that was said by Tinubu. He also dared the PDP to counter his statement when he said the PDP had merged with INEC, police, judiciary and the pension funds ahead of the 2015 general elections.
He said, "If it (PDP) and its chieftains are going to counter me they should. You can go and study the three judicial or Supreme Court judgements of 2003, 2007 and 2011 and get the hearings on NEPA, NNPC, pension scheme; whatever I said is factual."
'Judases' Will Be Sent Packing From PDP - Akpabio
Meanwhile, the newly elected chairman of the PDPGovernors' Forum, Chief Godswill Akpabio, has declared that the PDP would identify Judases working against the party's interest and send them packing.
Akpabio, who visited the PDP national secretariat in Abuja yesterday on a courtesy call, attributed the internal crisis in the party to implosion as a result of parochial interests and the huge size of the followership of the party.
He advised those who have been working against the interest of the party to retrace their steps as the fresh internal cleansing that would soon commence in the party would see then out of the party.
He said, "You know we are having challenges but the challenges -- for me... with what we have started now -- has always been a function of the PDP. What you saw was an explosion. What has happened to PDP is because of self-explosion.
"When there is an implosion, where there is treachery, where there are more Judases than you have disciples, we want to have good disciples. We know that even in Christendom when Jesus Christ had 12 disciples there was one Judas, but if the Judas were up to nine, then, Jesus could have been in trouble. The gospel would have been in trouble today.
"What the PDP is trying to do now is to cleanse its house, to try to identify the ones they called Judas and whisper it to them and say: go out, the train is moving and you cannot stand, otherwise we will crush you."
Accompanied by his Bayelsa State counterpart, Hon. Seriake Dickson, Akpabio debunked speculations that the PDP national leadership came up with the idea of its own Governors' Forum to whittle down the influence of the Nigeria Governors' Forum: "There was nothing like global warming and HIV about 40 years ago, so you don't need condoms like we do now. In the same vein, there was no PDP Governors' Forum 14 years ago, because there was no need; we were totally in charge. There was a time that PDP was having almost 27 governors and so if you have a Nigeria Governors' Forum with 27 members from PDP what do you need another forum for?"
Governor Akpabio further declared that the PDP is not moved by the merger of opposition political parties, stressing that PDP is the only party that has followership in every polling unit in the country, apart from the fact that it is not controlled by a single individual.
Responding, the national chairman, Dr. Bamanga Tukur, confirmed earlier speculations that PDP governors were challenged by the formation of the APC, but said that with the emergence of Akpabio he was at ease.
He said, "Now I can see very well because I know those at the leadership of PDP Governors' Forum are for us. I can tell President Goodluck Jonathan... if he was sleeping a few hours in the night because he does not know how the party is going, he can now go and have siesta."