Nigeria News

NIGERIA: Group of 7 PDP Governors Move to Float ‘Third Force’

Peoples Democratic Party governors who voted for the re-election of Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi in the last Nigeria Governors' Forum election may be considering floating a new party, to emerge as a Third Force to the ruling PDP and opposition coalition party, All Progressives Congress.

  The group, comprising seven governors, has already commenced talks with the three governors of the All Nigeria Peoples Party with a view to aligning to form the new party, THISDAY has learnt.

Amaechi and Sokoto State Governor Aliyu Wammako have been suspended by PDP for reasons not unconnected with the NGF election and their position on it.

Besides Amaechi and Wammako, others said to be involved in the proposed new party are Governors Sule Lamido of Jigawa State, Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State, Babangida Aliyu of Niger State and Usman Dakingari of Kebbi State.

The governors, who are perceived to be opposed to President Goodluck Jonat-han’s assumed second term ambition, want a party where they would form the nucleus of its organisational structure and be founders ahead of the 2015 general election.

As part of their game plan, the governors are also considering talks with the national leader of the Accord Party and former Oyo State Governor, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, and another former governor of the state, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, in a bid to make an in-road into the South-west.

Ladoja and his hitherto estranged deputy, Alao-Akala, have reunited in a rare political rapprochement aimed at stopping Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi's re-election.

ANPP is one of the parties trying to merge with Congress for Progressive Change, Action Congress of Nigeria, and a faction of All Progressives Grand Alliance to form the All Progressives Congress.

The PDP governors’ move is said to be hinged on their alleged distrust of some leaders of the emerging opposition coalition and the fact that they may not be fully integrated into the new party's structure.

THISDAY gathered that the decision to open talks with the three ANPP governors may not be unconnected with the complaint of the ANPP that the opposition merger partners are showing more preference for CPC, which governs only one state (Nasarawa), than ANPP that is in control of Borno, Yobe and Zamfara states.

The sense of distrust being felt by the PDP governors towards some leaders of APC, it is gathered, also follows the treatment meted out to Nuhu Ribadu, who was the presidential candidate of ACN at the last general election in 2011.

The former Lagos State governor and national leader of ACN, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and ACN were alleged to have dumped Ribadu for Jonathan at the last minute.

The PDP governors are also worried about the perceived autocratic tendencies of the CPC leader, General Muhammadu Buhari, his military background, and his hard stance on issues.

One of the apprehensive PDP governors told THISDAY, “The option in this regard for the aggrieved PDP governors, senators and members of the House of the Representatives is to move to another party or form a new one.

“If our fears are not addressed both in the PDP and the merging APC, we are going to leave to a new party where we will present a credible candidate that both PDP and APC lack.”

The governors aim to ensure that three strong political parties, comprising PDP, APC, and the one they are considering, contest the 2015 general elections.

They are trying to build up political relationships across the country, but especially the South-west, through Ladoja and Alao-Akala as well as associates of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

According to the source, who spoke with THISDAY, the said PDP governors, who are mainly from the three geopolitical zones of the North, already have the approval of the former president.

Obasanjo too is believed to be rallying his political associates to meet with the governors for the concretisation of plans for the new party.

But for his trips to the United States and Canada, the former president would have been holding the consultations for the planned new party by now, but his associates are said to be doing this on his behalf.

A northern governor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, narrated some of the permutations ahead of the 2015 election, thus, “You don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Some of us have expressed our fears and we expect that such fears are addressed.  But in the meantime, we are still exploring other options to ensure that democracy is fully established within the rights of association and assembly.”

A source within ANPP said some of the party’s stakeholders were aware of move to form a third force. He said, “This is all about politics. We in the ANPP believe that we ought to be ranked higher than the CPC that has only one state of Nasarawa. So what we are doing is to explore options and not that we are working against the merger.

“We have made our views known and it is expected that such complaints would be addressed in time.”
THISDAY understood that the protem officials of APC were aware of the ANPP’s complaints, as this was believed to be one of the reasons why the coalescing parties could not go to the Independent National Electoral Commission last Friday.

Meanwhile, leader of the Northern Professionals, Dr. Mohammed Junaid, has dismissed the six-year single tenure being proposed in the ongoing constitution amendment for governors and the President as deceitful.

He said the proposal was the Presidency’s agenda that was pushed by a former Chief Justice of Nigeria that he did not name.
“It is an agenda by the Presidency which used him (former CJN) to smuggle in such condemnable clause. But it will fail because it is intended to deceive the North and, unfortunately, some so-called northern elders cannot read between the lines; they don’t know it is a decoy to make the North wait longer than necessary.

“It is rather sad that some northern elders have made themselves available to push through this bait that the Presidency has set to deceive us, but we will fight tooth and nail to frustrate their plans because they are not working in our interest but in their personal interests to water their political ambitions,” Junaid alleged.

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