Posted by Onyekachi Eze, Wale Elegbede | 21 May 2018 | 3,563 times
Barring any last-minute change in plan, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) might field a joint presidential candidate with the Olu Falae- led Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the African Democratic Congress (ADC) against President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) recently fused into ADC.
It was also learnt that the PDP is ready to hand over its structures in some states to some governors who are likely to defect from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the opposition party.
New Telegraph gathered that the political parties involved in the likely pact are opposed to a merger, but they are ready to dissolve their structures for a unified presidential candidate. “Talks are on over the possibility of a joint platform in 2019 among the PDP, ADC, SDP and other political movements.
This arrangement is akin to what happened in 1999 when the Alliance for Democracy (AD) and the defunct All Peoples Party (APP) fielded a joint candidate in Chief Olu Falae without losing their identities. Falae eventually got over 11 million votes. “What they want to do is quite strategic.
The ADC is likely to be the face of the presidential alliance because of the party’s standing on the ballot, it is just ahead of the ruling APC,” a source told New Telegraph. A source privy to the discussions going on between the three political parties revealed that the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State will be a dress rehearsal of the working agreement among the parties.
The source could not, however, say if the agreement will include the change of name which other political parties give as a condition to joining the PDP. ADC said it is not fielding candidate for Ekiti election, and promptly disowned Ayodele David- Adesua who was reported to have emerged as the candidate of the party after a primary election. ADC National Publicity Secretary, Chief Anayo Arinze, told New Telegraph that the party is not participating in the governorship poll and did not hold any party primaries.
Arinze had earlier said in a statement that the decision to withdraw from the Ekiti governorship was to allow “time for refinement and proper introduction to the Nigeria people.” Surprisingly, SDP elected a relatively known banker, Mr. Akinloye Ayegbusi, as its candidate over a serving House of Representatives member, Olamide Oni and a former deputy governor of the state, Chief Adebisi Omoyeni.
“This tells you that both SDP and ADC are ready to work with our candidate in Ekiti, and we are going to work together in 2019. “We are discussing with other political parties, not just the SDP and ADC, but other Nigerians who have unanimously agreed to rescue Nigeria from APC,” the source revealed. PDP had, two weeks ago, inaugurated a contact and integration committee headed by former Cross River governor, Senator Liyle Imoke, with two weeks to submit its report.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in an interview over the weekend, said the terms of reference of the committee include, “to engage, discuss, talk to people who are desirous of teaming up with us, of whatever form, whether as engagement, whether as alliances, whether as merger, whatever they want. We will listen to them against their own terms of working together.”
On whether the committee’s work also includes accepting the change of the name of the party, Ologbondiyan added: “The PDP is open to all discussions across the board. It is the responsibilities of this contact committee to meet the National Working Committee (NWC) that this is what the people who want to join us are demanding.” The Imoke committee is expected to submit its report on May 23, but Ologbondiyan said the committee had requested for two weeks’ extension. The two weeks’ extension, it was gathered, might not be unconnected with the ongoing congresses of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) with its ripple effect. APC will be holding its National Convention on June 2.
The PDP source is optimistic that “PDP will be a majority party in National Assembly before the end of June.” He disclosed that the party had already conceded the structure in the states to some governors and principal officers of the National Assembly who might be joining the party.
“Like in Kwara State, if (Senator Bukola) Saraki and the governor are coming back, do you expect them to queue behind the existing structure there?” he asked. Despite repudiating the PDP on several occasions, it was gathered that Obasanjo is holding discussions with the leadership of the party.
ADC National Chairman, Ralph Nwosu, admitted in a press interview that “Baba is holding discussions with the PDP.” When asked what option of presidential candidates are before the mooted alliance, a source said that the major actors in the talk may have settled for the former Kano State Governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau.
“The alliance may have zeroed on Shekarau for obvious reasons. He is popular in Kano and the North- West, he is intelligent and suave, he has a record of defeating a sitting governor in Kano and above all, he is above board with a clean bill of corruption record.
“If the drivers of the alliance could induce Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso into their plan, then the much-hyped Kano vote for Buhari will be largely deflated,” he said. But a source told New Telegraph that the central government is poised to press charges against Shekarau by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the 2015 campaign funds of the PDP. (New Telegraph)
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