Nigeria: Three PDP Govs Negotiate With APC As Others Reassure Party

20 November 2020

Abuja — The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may shed more gubernatorial weight if ongoing negotiations between three of its governors and the ruling All Progressives Congress succeed.

Ebonyi State Governor, Mr. Dave Umahi, had on Tuesday opened the impending floodgate of defections when he deserted the PDP and pitched his tent with the APC complaining that the main opposition party had treated his South-east home zone shabbily.

THISDAY gathered last night that three PDP governors are deep in discussions with the APC and might jump ship shortly.

The governors in transition, according to multiple sources close to the discussions, are Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Prof. Ben Ayade (Cross River) and Senator Bala Mohammed (Bauchi).

It is not clear why the governors want to leave their party that had given them abundant opportunities to be politically relevant, a PDP source in the know of the move told THISDAY last night.

However, governors of the party yesterday gave assurances of their loyalty and commitment to support and strengthen it after a meeting of its National Executive Committee (NEC) in Abuja.

Chairman of the PDP Governors' Forum and Sokoto State Governor, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, spoke on behalf of his colleagues at the 90th NEC meeting in Abuja.

The governors' pledge followed the defection of Umahi.

The National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, who presided over the meeting, seized the opportunity to warn that there would be no transparent general election in 2023 without amendment to the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.

Tambuwal said the PDP governors are more than united as could be seen in the fact all the governors attended the meeting.

He said: "All 15 of us are here present. We are individually committed to good governance in our various states in order to make our party strong.

"This is a clear statement that we are united and working towards strengthening our party for the future."

The Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Senator Walid Jibrin, told the gathering that the PDP remains strong in Ebonyi State despite the exit of Umahi.

He faulted reasons adduced by Umahi for leaving for the APC but said it was a thing of joy that the PDP structure in the state remains intact.

Jibrin expressed delight that the party's National Working Committee (NWC) took proactive steps to ensure that Umahi did not take undue advantage of the PDP structure in the state.

Also speaking on behalf of the PDP caucus in the National Assembly, the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinanya Abaribe, assured the party leadership that the caucus is prepared to fight against anti-media legislation "with every drop of our blood."

He said: "The attempt to gag each and every one of us by the government talking about the media, I can assure you that we shall fight with the last drop of our drop and that attempted legislation will not see the light of the day.

"We are also going to ensure that in the Electoral Act that we are tampering with now, we will be putting all the safeguards and ensure that our vote will always count.

"We also want to use this opportunity to appeal to the national party that as we work towards the 2023 elections, party discipline will be most important to us.

"Our members need to always be sure that they can depend on the national party for protection in and wherever they are."

Secondus, however, said there would be no transparent general election in 2023 without amending the Electoral Act.

He added that Nigeria is now on autopilot due to the incapacity of the present administration that has piled up over N31 trillion debts.

He described the defection of Umahi to the APC as a personal voyage, adding that the party cannot be intimidated or blackmailed.

Secondus, in his address to the NEC meeting, urged members of the party in the National Assembly to work hard to ensure a new Electoral Act is passed before the 2023 general election.

He said: "Know it as a fact that transparent election under the watch of APC is not feasible with the current Electoral Act. We are liaising with our very reliable members in the National Assembly to ensure that a fraud-free law is put in place ahead of 2023.

"Within our family also, we are putting all hands on deck to ensure we enter the next election stronger as one united and harmonious family and to achieve this I solicit the full and undiluted cooperation of NEC.

"On your behalf also, we are continuing in our extensive consultations with critical stakeholders to ensure that no stone is left unturned for our return to Aso Rock."

According to Secondus, "While borrowing in economics is not bad, it depends on what the borrowed resources are being channelled for. With the unprecedented corruption in the system under APC watch, it would be difficult to see this borrowed funds properly deployed.

"Amidst the frightening insecurity in the country accompanied by mass killings that has set fears on the people, what you get from the government is multiple tariffs- electricity, VAT, fuel hike and more, with its operatives indulging in lies and propaganda.

"NEC may, therefore, wish to join other voices in charging the APC federal government to #Stop borrowing, #Stop mortgaging our future, #Account for borrowed Funds #Stop the Persecution of #EndSARS Youth Protesters, #Respect Nigeria Youths, #Give Nigeria Youths a Voice, and # No to censoring of Social media."

On the defection of Umahi, he said the governor was on a personal voyage and that the party would not bandy words with him.

He explained that the PDP has taken steps to safeguard the party structures in the state.

"The real season that informed this decision will soon be exposed," he said.

Secondus expressed PDP's opposition to the federal government's bid to regulate social media.

Umahi Left PDP over 2019 Vice Presidential Ticket, Says Wike

In a related development, Rivers State Governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike, has said that Umahi was not happy with the PDP because he was denied the opportunity to run as vice presidential candidate in the 2019 election.

He advised Umahi not to allow his quest to become president to destroy the South-east politically.

Speaking in a live television interview, Wike said while no one would deny Umahi the right to pursue his political aspiration, which is the primary reason for his defection to the APC, he should be mindful of the political future of the South-east.

He said Umahi had shown himself as an ungrateful man for saying that he left PDP to protest the injustice the party meted out to the South-east since 1999.

Wike stated that one reason Umahi was unhappy with PDP was because former Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, was chosen as the running mate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in 2019.

He said: "When we had the 2018 convention that produced our presidential candidate then, the Wazirin Adamawa, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, he consulted widely and came up with Peter Obi to be his deputy. Umahi was livid because he wanted to produce or he wanted to be vice president. You don't choose who would be the vice-presidential candidate of anybody. Umahi was livid.

What disturbs me - why do you think that if anything comes to South-east must be you? Why do you think so?"

He said Umahi could not talk of injustice when he practised injustice against the South-east zone by installing his two younger brothers as the zonal vice chairman of PDP and the deputy state chairman of the party.

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