More facts have emerge into what the governing All Progressives Congress is offering members of opposition political parties to attract them into joining its fold.
Sunday PUNCH gathered that the governing party was offering a level playing field, as well as a waiver for all registered members, especially first-term Governors who may have concerns about their standing in the party, should they ditch their current political parties.
But the Peoples Democratic Party dismissed claims that the party’s Governors were in talks with the APC.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said, “Our Governors are intact, they are committed to the ideals of a great Nigeria as expressly enunciated in our party manifesto. By now, it is only those in the APC who pretend not to know that Nigerians are tired of being lied to.”
However, it was learnt that some of the outgoing Governors who will be serving out their terms in 2023, as well as those who will be seeking re-election, are seeking assurances that moving into the APC would not lead to political oblivion.
A high-ranking APC official familiar with the discussions spoke to Sunday PUNCH on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
The source said, “The game of politics involves giving and taking. If you are asking someone or some people to leave their political party to join you, you must have seen some value you believe they can add to your political party. Such people too being politicians will be interested in which opportunities exist for them to explore when they join you.
“No politician of value will want to lose relevance. There were those who started this political journey in 1999 and they are still relevant today. Some just appeared for four years and, today, nobody hears about them anymore. For most of such people, it is not by choice.”
In response to a question on how many Governors, whether serving or former, the APC was wooing into its fold, the source said, “You don’t go into the market place to start telling the crowd, ‘My wife is pregnant and we are expecting twins, ’when the pregnancy is only a few weeks old. This is Africa. We are talking and the outcome will soon become open for all to see.”
Governors elected on the platform of the PDP who are eligible to seek a second term by 2023 include Adamu Fintiri (Adamawa), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Bello Matawalle (Zamfara), Douye Diri (Bayelsa), Godwin Obaseki (Edo) and Seyi Makinde (Oyo).
Those serving out their second terms include Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuayi (Enugu), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), and Nyesom Wike (Rivers), among others.
It was gathered that some PDP Governors were grumbling over what they termed the overbearing influence of their Rivers State counterpart, Wike, in the administration of the party and would want to consider other options to secure their political future.
When contacted, the Secretary of the Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee of the APC, Senator John Akpan Udoedehe, told Sunday PUNCH in a telephone interview that the party’s doors were open to all Nigerians.
He explained that the ongoing membership registration/revalidation exercise embarked upon by the party has shed unprecedented light into the popularity rating of the party nationwide.
When asked if the party was wooing sitting Governors of the PDP, the APC national secretary said, “We’ve given a waiver to everybody to come and join our party. Those who come to join us will enjoy the same rights and privileges as if you were a founding member. I don’t know what you mean by ‘woo.’
“We actually underestimated the kind of interest our party will generate nationwide. The number of forms we’ve given out across the country is almost exhausted. We didn’t envisage this huge number. It has been massive.
When contacted, Ologbondiyan said Nigerians were tired of propaganda and “can’t wait for 2023 to put the APC where it truly belongs – the opposition.”
He added, “It is shameful that the rudderless APC still thinks it can beguile Nigerians like it did in 2015. We have said it time and time again, Nigerians prefer the PDP years to the suffering which the APC has foisted on our beloved country men and women.