The heat generated by the defection of five of the aggrieved G-7 Peoples Demo-cratic Party, PDP, governors to All Progressives Congress, APC, continued yesterday with one of the governors, Sule Lamido of Jigawa State, saying joining APC was not the solution to the crisis, and called for everyone to join hands in fighting impunity in the country.
Lamido, who did not defect to APC, spoke as the court re-instated National Secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola said his expulsion by the national leadership of PDP would not stand even as the party said, yesterday, that it was not losing sleep over the defection of the five governors and leaders of the Alhaji Kawu Baraje-led new PDP.
Meanwhile, Governor Murtala Nyako, who also decamped to APC, has asked his supporters to join the opposition party en mass, with PDP House of Representatives members saying they would wade into the crisis next week.
Lamido made the comments, yesterday, while receiving for-mer Head of State, General Ab-dusalami Abubakar (rtd), who was in Dutse for the commi-ssioning of Jigawa State Judicial Complex.
Lamido, Abdulsalami’s comments
Lamido told Abdulsalami, “the democracy you nurtured is today being cannibalised. The present crises bedeviling the party for quite some time now will not augur well for the nascent democracy.
“The PDP crisis is a problem not only for the party; it can equally consume the whole nation.”
Responding, Abubakar said it had become necessary for Nigerians to fight for peace as no meaningful development could be achieved without peace.
Directing his supporters in Adamawa State to register en masse with the APC yesterday, Nyako said the opposition has good intentions for the state and the nation at large.
The directives came as PDP flags were being removed from public institutions across the state.
Nyako gave the directives yesterday at a meeting of stake-holders of APC and the nPDP at the Government House, Yola.
The governor said that PDP had betrayed the people of Adamawa in spite of all they did in ensuring PDP victories at all levels in the last general elections.
He described the plight of the people of Adamawa under PDP as that of Israelites under Pharaoh, necessitating their mass exodus.
The governor debunked insinuations that he was working for his son’s political ambition, saying his son will not contest any election in 2015.
Nyako said: “My son will not contest any election in 2015. What we are doing is for peace, progress and unity of the state and the nation in general.
“The way PDP is operating in Adamawa is inimical to peace and unity of the state.
“APC offered better opportu-nity with level playing field for everyone. There is no new comer or old member in APC, so go and mobilise your people to join the popular movement.”
PDP Reps to mediate
Apparently disturbed by the development, PDP Reps, yesterday, agreed in a meeting to interface with President Goodluck Jonathan on the way forward, next week.
In a closed-door meeting held at the Reps’ wing of the National Assembly complex, they expressed disappointment in the manner the crisis was being handled and agreed that all the members would meet with Mr. President and bare their minds.
The meeting, which was chaired by the Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, resolved to work as one large family and look issues dispassionately.
A front line member, who attended the meeting told Vanguard that “we have decided to work together as one.”
Asked whether it was both the PDP and nPDP Reps that met, he said, “Yes. We all met and there was no division of any sort. We met as one body.
“We are going to see Mr. President and tell him how we feel and how we intend to serve our fatherland without involving our members in whatever is happening outside the House.”
Another source said: “Those who are parading themselves as our representatives at the Presidential Villa are not selfless people. We have agreed to deal with Mr. President collectively.
…rule out House
Meanwhile, the House said yesterday that despite the defection of five nPDP govern-ors, nothing will change in its leadership as no member has so far communicated to the leader-ship of his intention to move.
Deputy spokesman of the House, Mr. Victor Ogene (APGA, Anambra), said until such a time when members formally declare their intention, the House remains the way it is.
He said Section 68 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, provides that members can only defect to another political party in group base on merger agreement, but that what was happening in PDP cannot be defined as such.
He said: “In politics, things like this happen. But as a House, we remain one. Section 68 (1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, says people cannot cross carpet in group except in merger situation.
“But defection has to do with individual member. So if they’re defecting, the proper thing must be done by activating that section of the constitution.
“As at now, we are not aware of any member defecting to another party. Remember, going by our rule, until a party has 181 members, you can’t talk of having the majority.”
Also yesterday, Oyinlola said that his expulsion from the party as recommended to the party’s NWC by Alhaji Umaru Dikko-led Disciplinary Committee would not stand.
In a statement by his Principal Secretary, Femi Adelegan, Oyinlola, who noted that democracy was on trial, said: “The recommendations of the committee will not stand, as nobody can build something on nothing; and falsehood on truth.
“The committee does not exist because its composition was not ratified by the National Executive Committee of PDP, which is statutorily empowered to approve the composition of the body.
“They really worked with great speed in their feverish ambition of getting rid of Oyinlola before the hearing of his suit at an Abuja Federal High Court, challenging the validity of illegalities.
“No sane or decent person would be surprised at the recommendations of the illegally constituted Disciplinary Committee, which from the outset shouldered a heavy burden of legitimacy, integrity, lack of respect for fair play, principles of natural justice and the Rule of Law.”
Cross carpeting of disloyal elements, not merger— PDP
The national leadership of PDP, yesterday, took a swipe at the five governors and some members who defected to the APC, saying it was not a merger, but an opportunistic cross carpeting of disloyal elements, reiterating that as a party it would not lose sleep over the action.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, PDP said a tree that is pruned blossoms the more.
It added that there was no way the fusion of Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje-led splinter group of PDP into APC could be described as merger because the group was never a party, adding that the Bamanga Tukur-led NWC stands as the only PDP known to law.
Metuh said: “Our attention has been drawn to press reports and statements from some persons passing off the cross carpeting of a group of former PDP members to APC as a merger.
“This information is false and is intended to mislead the public. What happened was not a merger. You can only talk of a merger where there were two distinct parties.
“In this case, there is only one party, APC. The so-called nPDP was never a party. This was established on October 10, when a Lagos High Court gave judgment against then PDP and on October 11, when the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, wrote the nPDP to say that the Alhaji Bamanga Tukur-led PDP is the only recognised party by that name.”
A sad devt— Anenih
Meanwhile, Chairman of PDP Board of Trustees, BoT, Chief Tony Anenih, yesterday, described the move of the five governors as sad and urged members of the party not to be moved or disturbed by it.
Chief Anenih expressed satisfaction that the party leadership, President Jonathan, former president Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida, former National Chairmen, Barnabas Gemade and Ahmadu Ali as well as himself “invested enough energy, commitment, maturity and sincerity in the collective effort at reconciliation.
“I had expected the governors to stay on in the party, which has offered them a unique opportunity to serve their people.
“Surprisingly, they decided to abandon their home and platform to take up tenancy in an opposition party even when it was apparent that the effort of Mr. President for genuine reconciliation was enough for them to see good reason to show restraint and understanding. However, as adults, the final decision was and remains theirs.
“I would like to urge our party members and sympathizers not to be disturbed by the exit of some of our governors but to continue to mobilize grassroots support for our party, Mr. President, and his Transformation Agenda.”