• Ex-governors in counter move to float new mega party
Some serving and former governors from the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) appear set for a major confrontation ahead of the 2023 polls, authoritative political sources revealed on Saturday.
On one side are the incumbent governors who, party sources said, are tightening their grip on the APC and the PDP with a view to determining who gets what, including the presidential tickets of the two parties.
On the other side are the ex-governors who feel marginalized but are determined to remain relevant in the scheme of things.
Sources said the ex-governors are already holding consultations on forming a hybrid mega party from the two leading parties.
The ex-governors are reaching out to some serving governors to secure their buy-in for the planned party.
Although details of the budding party are still being worked out, investigation by The Nation revealed that APC and PDP governors have gone far in seizing the souls of the parties.
While the APC governors, a few ministers and some stakeholders have succeeded in the first stage of their plot by putting in place the Buni Caretaker Committee, the PDP governors are said to be watching their steps.
More of the plan of the APC governors is expected to unfold before or during the National Convention of the party in June, sources said.
According to findings, the arrowheads of the governors’ plan have been meeting intermittently in Abuja on the direction they intend to take the party in 2023.
There were fears last night that the new shape of APC may “lay less emphasis on pre-merger parties.”
It was learnt that some of the governors believe the “conditions precedent for the 2014 merger are no longer obtainable.”
It was gathered that the affected governors are lobbying stakeholders to “dispense with the 2014 coalition because new elements, including those from the opposition PDP, are massively defecting to APC.”
Some of the APC governors are allegedly not bothered that “the reforms being put in place may lead to the sidelining of the founding fathers of the party.”
A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “From the look of things, APC governors are calling the shots and they are pushing ongoing reforms to take control of the party.
“They are being backed by some powerful ministers and a few ex-governors who felt shortchanged in the primaries for the 2019 elections.
“In fact, some governors, who were initially suspicious of the reforms in the party have seen the handwriting on the walls and have started retracing their steps to join forces with those who sacked Comrade Adams Oshiomhole led NWC.
“Some of these governors now backing reforms also have their second term ambition at risk if they are not part of the moves to seize the party.
“So far, from the scheming of the APC governors, the June National Convention may alter the pre-merger agreement which led to the formation of APC.
“The governors may largely influence the choice of the new NWC of the APC.”
Another source said: “I think what is playing out is that the governors’ bloc in APC is trying to be stronger and more powerful than the party. It is a replica of what obtained when PDP was in power.
“They have the war chest and they will control the delegates to the National Convention. What they need is to dictate the pace in APC.”
Other sources said some of the “founding fathers of APC and critical stakeholders are” watching development in the party with an eagle eye.”
“Since President Muhammadu Buhari, some governors and ministers were part of the merger talks, they are waiting for whether or not the pact will still subsist,” one of the sources said.
Continuing, the source said: “APC has a unique model which the governors cannot alter overnight under the guise of reforms.
“The Caretaker Committee, led by Governor Mai Mala Buni, has given assurance of fairness and sustainable reforms in the party. We are eager to see the outcome of its ongoing repositioning of APC.”
It was learnt that a similar scenario is playing out in PDP.
A few PDP governors are suspicious of the reforms in the party being pushed by Governors Nyesom Wike, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and a few others.
Part of the reforms is to sack the National Working Committee (NWC) led by Prince Uche Secondus.
It was gathered that the jostle for the presidential ticket of PDP is making some governors to ask for the “reorganisation” of the party.
It was learnt that some influential ex-governors, past political office holders and founding fathers of PDP have vowed to checkmate Wike and others.
A member of the National Caucus of the party said: “I think our major challenge in PDP is the desperation of some governors to hijack the party. Some of these governors were nowhere in 1998 when the party was formed.
“They don’t talk of the ideals of the party. They don’t care about the future of the party. All they are after is taking over the party structure for selfish purposes.
“Our founding fathers have realised this and they will resist it. At worst, those governors will leave PDP for us and seek shelter elsewhere.
Investigation confirmed that “new developments in APC and PDP” accounted for the search for a “hybrid” party.
Although ex-Governor Rochas Okorocha dropped hint of a new party at a function in Port Harcourt, it was learnt he only let out ongoing consultations by some governors, ex-governors and political leaders.
“I think a new party may emerge from the coalition of forces in APC and PDP,” said a source familiar with the development.
“A lot of covert talks/permutations are ongoing. This year is crucial and I think by the last quarter of the year, the nation may witness new dimensions,” a former governor said.
Some other political sources said the group plotting the birth of a new party comprises former governors, former House of Representatives Speakers, serving and former National Assembly members as well as a number of other prominent politicians from the two leading parties.
The group is already reaching out to some other political groups, including the Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM), Congress of Registered Political Parties (CRPP), Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Middle Belt Forum and some civil society organisations across the country. One source said: “At a recent meeting in Abuja, it was agreed that the door of the group should be opened to more aggrieved persons from the APC and the PDP who have been signifying interest in joining the coalition.”
One of the promoters of the new group, whose primary objective is to break the alleged monopoly being enjoyed by the APC and PDP, said in Lagos, yesterday, that a former governor from the Southeast, a former senator who also governed a state in the Northwest, two former Speakers of the House of representatives from the north as well as two current principal officers of the National Assembly, are among the prime movers of the ongoing move for a new platform ahead of 2023.
Speaking to The Nation on the development, a chieftain of the NIM, otherwise known as the Third Force, confirmed the development.
He said the Third Force was recently invited to a meeting in Abuja by promoters of what he described as a ‘brand new political coalition, different from the APC and the PDP.”
He said leaders of the movement, who attended the meeting, were yet to brief the whole house on the discussions.
“But I can confirm to you that there is a move to bring the opposition in Nigeria together ahead of 2023,” he said.
“This time, the move is not from one party or group, but from different people and groups dissatisfied with the bullying we are being subjected to by both the APC and the PDP.”