The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Prince Uche Secondus, has alleged that the leadership of the All Progressives Congress is giving false promises to some members of the opposition party to enable them to defect to the ruling party.
He also said the rumours, making the rounds that some highly-placed members of the opposition party were planning to defect were handiwork of the ruling party, insisting that such speculations were being orchestrated with the hope of destabilising the main opposition party.
He told one of our correspondents in an interview that there had been many moves by the ruling party to woo members of the PDP into its fold, saying the purpose of the APC was to snatch the PDP members but later refuse to give them any meaningful role in the party in future.
His comments came amid rumours making the rounds that the APC was using the Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, who is also the Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee and Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, to get across to some influential PDP members.
Buni and Bello are said to be targeting the Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Uguwanyi; Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawale; Governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade and the Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed.
A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told one of our correspondents that “Uguwanyi has been targeted ( by the APC) but he is proving stubborn. Our aim is to ensure that we have at least three South-East States out of the five ahead of the 2023 elections. If we cannot get Ugwuanyi, we will ensure that we win the Anambra governorship election which comes up later in the year.”
It was also gathered that the leadership of the APC in Zamfara State was already favourably disposed to acceptance of Matawale, adding that this was why a former governor of the State, Senator Ahmed Yerima, publicly accepted that the Governor would defect.
An APC source said the Governor of Bauchi State might join the APC, insisting that Mohammed had already begun taking what he called pro-APC positions on several matters.
“Bala Mohammed is also seeking a second term. His recent statements on herdsmen and his refusal to blame the Federal Government are due to his relationship with the Presidency. We have made frantic efforts to keep him in the party but it seems he may have made up his mind,” the APC source said.
Mohammed not thinking of defection – Aide
The Senior Special Assistant on Media to the Governor, Muktar Gidado, told one of our correspondents on the telephone that his boss “is still a member of the PDP and he is not thinking of defecting.”
He said, “I don’t know of anything like the Governor is under pressure to defect to the APC. If there’s anything like that, I don’t know.”
Secondus wondered why the APC would be coming to the members of the PDP at night but condemning them during the day.
He said , “The APC is giving false hopes to the people just the way it lied to Nigerians to gain power. Recall all the false promises made by the members of the ruling party in its desperation to gain power? Which of them have they fulfilled today?
“They promised to secure the nation and its people, promised to reduce the cost of governance, promised to bring down inflation, promised employment for our youth, promised almost heaven and heart. Now, is the nation better than it was in 2015?
“That is the same way the APC has been going round the country, visiting our members who they had demonised in the past, begging them and promising to hand over party structure in their States to them among other promises which they will never keep.
“The APC is also interested in just snatching our members, make them to raise the broom and then put them in abeyance when the time comes. In any case, what is attractive in the APC now? Is it its inability to conduct a national convention or have a peaceful registration exercise that has been condemned by some of its founding fathers? Honestly, there is nothing attractive there.”
Saraki-led PDP panel to meet NWC, others next week
In the meantime, the Senator Bukola Saraki-led PDP Reconciliation and Strategy Committee is scheduled to meet the party’s National Working Committee and other Stakeholders next week.
A member of the party’s leadership familiar with preparations for the meetings spoke Sunday PUNCH, in confidence in Abuja on Saturday.
The source said, “Barring any last minute change, the committee will meet with the National Working Committee among other groups of stakeholders to address internal issues.
“The NWC like any other organ of the party is populated by human beings and once in a while people disagree.
“It may be mild it may be serious but there is always the need for party members to exploit every avenue to talk to one another.
“It is in continuation of this that the committee will be meeting our leaders next week.
“We must admit, there are conflicting interests both within and outside the party and each interest will want to have an edge as the 2023 general elections approach. It is the management of these interests that is politics.”
When contacted, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan said the committee has the mandate to meet with all stakeholders. They have their time table and schedule of activities. When it is time for them to meet with the NWC they will inform us and we will meet.”