Posted by Chibuzo Ukaibe, Abuja | 3 June 2018 | 5,785 times
Indications emerged yesterday that members of the new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP), a power bloc within the All Progressives Congress (APC), are insisting on retaining their political structures in their states as part of negotiations for their return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). This is coming just few days to the submission of a report by PDP’s contact and mobilisation committee, which was mandated to interface with other political parties, civil society organisations and groups as part of measures to form a broad-based coalition ahead of the 2019 general election.
The Liyel Imoke-led committee had been granted a two-week extension, which ends this week after it, had pleaded for more time in addition to its initial two weeks deadline for the submission of its report. A party source who confirmed the interface between the PDP and nPDP members who are desirous of defecting said part of the conditions tabled by the APC members is a guarantee that they will be given political structures in their states.
He added that those who are already occupying elective offices are pushing to be given automatic tickets, even as he hinted that more APC members in the Assembly might defect this week. The source who did not want his name in print said the PDP leadership is not opposed to the demand, even though they are conscious of not making mistakes.
“But one thing you should know is that our party is more experienced at conflict resolution that may arise from such infusion. Don’t forget that the overriding desire is to edge out this administration”, he noted.
On the proposal to change the name of the party, he said, “The issue remains contentious but when it comes up again, I am sure we will take a decision that will be in the interest of not just the party but Nigeria.
“We are conscious of the meetings between nPDP and the presidency, which are basically to plead with them to stay back. So, we are monitoring the goings-on and I can tell you that they no longer feel at home in the APC. That is much I can tell you.”
Meanwhile, PDP’s alliance talks with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the African Democratic Congress (ADC) ahead of 2019 presidential election is yet to cross preliminary stages. Chieftains of both the SDP and the ADC who disclosed to this to LEADERSHIP Sunday said that formal talks between the hierarchies of their parties are yet to result in scheming to root out the ruling party during the general election.
But the national secretary of the SDP, Shehu Gabam, confirmed that they have entered into talks with the PDP and other parties, noting that deliberations are still at the preliminary stages. He stated that issues surrounding the election proper have not been deliberated yet. He said, “There are preliminary discussions on how we can work together to strengthen the institution of democracy and ensure that abuse of humans rights and fundamental freedom of the people and the persecution of people on the pages of newspapers without following due process are stopped. “The separation of power is being respected and draconian power such as invading the National Assembly is not acceptable in a democratic process. Of course we are working towards seeing that we have a free and fair elections in 2019. So, preliminary discussions have started and we will work as one body to ensure that these basic tenets of democracy are not eroded”.
On whether the discussions are progressive, he said, “It is progressive because it is nationalistic in output. It is not parochial. It is not about an individual. It is nationalistic to strengthen the institutions of democracy and process that are involved. It is about respecting the sanctity of human beings. “We have not talked about fundamental issues of elections like who will occupy which position or the other. We have not gotten to that yet. We are still talking about making our democracy more formidable.”
Gabam however clarified on the issue of hijack raised by their party national chairman, Dr Olu Falae, last week. He said, “I am not aware of any attempt to hijack our party. Our NEC meeting is basically one item, to approve the newly revised constitution of the party, the new manifesto and logo of the party. We did it and INEC witnessed it. “The commission witnessed the entire exercise and it was accepted by all members of NEC. So, we have a new constitution and logo to be ratified by the convention but INEC has approved it and it is now a working document”.
Corroborating Gabam’s position, a chieftain of the party, Prof Tunde Adeniran, noted that SDP is still discussing with PDP and other parties but nothing concrete has been arrived at yet. “We are meeting different parties discussing the situation in the country and the way forward, particularly how to bring about peace and stability and progress”, he stated.
While admitting that they are in talks, which could lead to an alliance in 2019, Adeniran noted that not all PDP members are champions of impunity and imposition. He said, “We are discussing with all of them because our candidate for the presidential election will need the support of everybody, that is why we have chosen to also be networking and consulting with other political parties.
“There are prospects of working with all parties to get the country back on track and end insecurity, recklessness and the way lives and property are being destroyed. We have to stop that nonsense. That is why we will work with all organisations that believe in the unity of this country and the protection of live and property.
On the hijack of the party, he said, “Nobody can hijack the party because it is oriented towards the welfare of the nation. There could be some people that are interested in the strategy used in some other parties that is imposition and impunity and all that but the SDP is not ready for that. Its structure will not encourage that.” On their part, the African Democratic Congress (ADC) said while there is open channel of communication between it and the PDP, it has only been at individual and not collective level. National publicity secretary of the ADC, Chief Anayo Arinze, said, “I will not say that the National Working Committee of ADC met with the Liyel Imoke-led committee, but there have been other consultations going on. So, I don’t want to be quoted that the Liyel Imoke committee met with ADC. I won’t be quoted on that. But I am very much aware that there has been a lot of consultations going on.”
He said ADC remains willing to work with any party that is willing to sack the APC in 2019. “We are in a coalition talks with political parties. There are others like PDP, SDP, APGA and others that we are talking with to come on board. You will not say the NWCs held meetings on a particular day but our various leaders have been talking across board. The discussions are not concluded but there is a lot of progress in all the discussions.”
The party spokesman further confirmed to LEADERSHIP Sunday that the national chairman of ADC, Chief Ralphs Nwosu, has offered to step aside as part of his sacrifice to ensure the party wins in 2019. Refuting claims that Nwosu was mandated to step aside as part of the alliance deal with the former President Olusegun Obasanjo-led coalition, he explained that the national chairman will only resign through a constitutional process. He said, “The national chairman willing declared that if it entails him stepping aside for ADC to win election he will do that, nobody table it to him as a condition. “He raised it in the course of our discussion that he will yield his seat for someone who is stronger than he is ahead of the 2019 elections.” (Leadership)
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