2019: PDP, APC chieftains seek alternative platforms
There are indications that most chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have given up on the party even before the Supreme Court delivers judgement on the party’s leadership crisis.
Similarly, some chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are also seeking alternative platforms ahead of the 2019 general elections and have, like their PDP counterparts, pitched their tents with the newly registered political parties.
The Supreme Court had, on May 22, reserved judgement on the matter between the Ali Modu Sheriff and Ahmed Makarfi factions over control of the PDP, but most chieftains of the Makarfi faction have opted for alternative platforms in order not to be caught napping.
The move by the party chieftains have cleared the initial haze over those behind the parties recently registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the arrowheads are openly identifying with the respective parties. Others have pitched their tents with existing parties, including the ruling APC.
The new parties: Action Democratic Party (ADP), Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA), Young Progressive Party (YPP), New Generation Party of Nigeria (NGP) and All Democratic Peoples Movement (ADPM), were penultimate Friday, presented with their certificates of registration by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
The ADP, had all along worn the tag of a mega party and was associated with some un-named aggrieved members of the ruling APC and the PDP. The party’s promoters are said to have their eyes on the 2019 presidency, but the feeling is that the present arrangement in both parties will not allow them actualise their ambitions.
“The arrowheads of the new party are unlikely to realise their ambitions in 2019 if they remain in both parties because the political equation will work against them. That is why they are coming together to form a mega party that will give the APC and PDP a run for their money,” a source told New Telegraph.
The source, who is a chieftain of the ruling APC, added: “You know that even APC as a political party does not hold the political space up to 50 per cent. Many party members don’t know where the pendulum would swing in 2019, given President Muhammadu Buhari’s health.
“If Buhari does not contest in 2019, which is likely and would not be able to hold the party together for its primaries and convention, there would be crisis in the APC and that would make some persons to leave and seek their political fortunes in one of the newly registered political parties. You will recall that the media recently reported the APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, as saying that APC can be voted out in 2019.”
While no known APC member has openly associated with the ADP, some notable chieftains of the PDP have so far identified with the new party. They include former party officials and political office holders.
Top on the list are pioneer PDP National Secretary, Chief Rex Onyeabor; former Chief Whip of the Senate, Rowland Owie; Senator Joseph Waku; former governor of Plateau State, Fidelis Tapgun and former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Bagudu Hirse.
Others are former Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Solomon Ewuga; immediate past Director General of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Mike Omeri; Senators Usman Jibrin and Haliru Kaima; former Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Nojeem Awodele and Hon. Amusa Amanga.
Engr. Sani Yagbayi is the protem national chairman of the party.
While the ADP promoters have described it as a mega party, a chieftain of the APC, however, told one of New Telegraph correspondents that he is yet to understand why the platform is christened a mega party.
He said: “When APC was formed, we know how it came about. There were the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and faction of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), some PDP governors later joined, and later some senators and House of Representatives members. Apart from some PDP members, I am yet to see notable politicians from APC joining the party. Maybe they might still join.”
He expressed doubt over the possibility of any of those already identified with the party winning election in their constituencies, saying: “Since 1999, have any of these people you mentioned won any election?”
But, a member of the ADP, who did not want to be mentioned, however, said the real backers of the party would be unveiled now that it has been registered.
He disclosed that besides those who have openly identified with the new party, there are others on the sidelines, waiting for the Supreme Court’s judgement on the PDP leadership.
According to him, one of such people is the father of a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, who, according to him, is among those behind the party.
For APDA, investigations revealed that some chieftains of the PDP, including members of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), are the major promoters.
A notable chieftain of the party, who have so far identified with the party, is media mogul, Chief Raymond Dokpesi. The party also has a former National Chairman of Labour Party (LP), Barr. Dan Nwanyanwu, as one of its major promoters. It was also gathered that a member of the PDP BoT has a hand in APDA’s registration.
“Though we are still hopeful we will win at the Supreme Court, but if Sheriff wins, most of us will join APDA except members of BoT because of the property of the PDP,” a source within the party told New Telegraph correspondent.
The source added that some notable politicians from the APC also have hands in the new party.
He categorically said the Makarfi-led PDP faction would have used the July 22 local government election in Lagos State to test APDA’s strength, but for the delay in the party’s registration.
This, he explained, informed the agreement between the Makarfi-led faction in the state under the leadership of former PDP National Chairman (South), Chief Olabode George, with the Labour Party to field candidates for the Lagos council poll.
“Just as in Delta State, where Accord Party gave us its platform, in Lagos, we are working with Labour Party for the council poll and be sure that we will shock the ruling APC,” the source said.
Meanwhile, the APC has denied that its members are part of the new parties. National Secretary of the party, Mallam Mai Mala Buni, who spoke with New Telegraph distanced members the ruling party from the newly registered parties.
Buni, in response to a Short Message Service (SMS) sent to his phone on whether APC chieftains are part of the promoters of the new parties, said: “It is not true.”