The new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) has suffered setback as one of its major sponsors, Niger State governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu, says he is pulling out because he was no longer comfortable with the group.
A source close to the governor told our correspondent yesterday that his principal opted to pull out of the group quietly to avoid raising dust. He said Governor Aliyu is backing down to save his political career and ease his bid to anoint a successor with the least opposition from the party.
"His Excellency is not comfortable with the direction the new PDP is taking especially in his state where any tiny slip would deprive him of the control of the party's political machinery. He would be required to set up a new party structure and leave the formidable structure the PDP already has in place for others to use," the source said.
Governor Aliyu, he said, became worried over the way in no time his predecessor Abulkadir Kure and Prof. Jerry Gana placed themselves in strategic positions to take over the PDP structure in the state.
The governor's volte face, it was learnt, was also as a result of pressure from friends and political associates who have been asking him to return to the PDP, promising to ensure that the President supports him in the choice of a successor.
The source said since Governor Aliyu joined the group of seven governors to form the nPDP, he had received three powerful emissaries from the Presidency and the PDP, all pleading with him to disown the group and return to the Bamanga Tukur led PDP.
The source hinted that one of the delegations was led by the PDP Board of Trustees chairman, Tony Anenih; another by High Chief Raymond Dokpesi and yet another by Ben Bruce.
"They all pleaded with him to return to the PDP saying as a doctorate degree holder, he should view things differently from his other colleagues in the new PDP," the source said.
For some time the Niger State governor has been withdrawing from the activities of the G-7 governors and was conspicuously absent at the meeting of the governors on Sunday though he was in the country.
When contacted Press Secretary to the Niger governor Danladi Ndayebo, failed to confirm or deny the story, but said whatever problem that exists within the new PDP is an internal one and that efforts are being made towards reconciling all members.
Chairman of the new PDP, Alhaji Kawu Baraje did not pick his call when our correspondent tried to reach him and did not reply a text message sent to him seeking his comment on the development.
National publicity secretary of the new PDP Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, also could not be reached as his lines were not available. National publicity secretary of the PDP Chief Olisa Metuh could also not be reached for his comment as his lines were also not available.
The new PDP was formed by seven serving PDP governors who came to be referred to as the G-7. They are the Kano State governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Jigawa State governor Sule Lamido, Adamawa State Governor Murtala Nyako, Sokoto State Governor Aliyu Wamakko, Kwara State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi and Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu.
The group's problem with the PDP came to the open when the seven governors and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar staged a walk-out at the August 31 special convention of the party in Abuja in which many members of the party's National Working Committee (NWC) that resigned were re-elected into office.
Gov. Aliyu had been part of the meeting of the G-7 with President Goodluck Jonathan and other leaders of the party who had tabled a number of demands before the President as a precondition for reconciliation with the party's leadership.
None of the demands which include the removal of the national chairman Bamanga Tukur is seen to have been made as the meetings have not been conclusive. The last one was put off due to demands by the nPDP leadership for a postponement to allow its members perform the Muslim annual Hajj.