By Ayo Fadimu
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo-backed Africa Democratic Congress (ADC) are in secret talk with leading figures of the new PDP caucus of the ruling party, investigation by Nigerian NewsDirect has revealed.
The new PDP are aggrieved members of the then ruling party who defected to the then newly formed APC. Together, they defeated the incumbent Goodluck Jonathan and made President Muhammadu Buhari to win the 2015 presidential election.
However, grievances over party patronage and sharing of spoils of war had brought acrimony into the fold of the ruling party. This has made the nPDP to complain of being sidelined by the leadership of the party and the presidency.
Investigation by Nigerian NewsDirect revealed that the leadership of nPDP led by Alhaji Kawu Baraje has opened discussion with PDP and ADC over the next line of action for the group.
One of the leaders of the group told Nigerian NewsDirect that the move becomes imperative as members of the group faces gloomy political future especially in 2019.
“All the leaders have been whittled down politically in their respective states and apart from Kwara, none of the leaders has any political base any longer” he said.
“For instance, Rabiu Kwankwaso who delivered almost two million votes to Buhari in 2015 is now persona non grata in Kano, he has lost the entire party structure to the man he installed, Ganduje, so also Dogara in Bauchi, and then Bukola Saraki is now being threatened with a robbery case, so you see that they have to make hay while sun still shines now” he added
Few days ago while listing their grievances of his group, Baraje said, “In the constitution of the Federal Executive Council, the New PDP bloc was generally sidelined as virtually no position was conceded to it.”
He also complained that there had been no significant patronage and or appointments of its members to executive positions in the boards and parastatals of government agencies. The group equally lamented that the harassment, intimidation and persecution of former nPDP leaders by the APC government remained an ongoing affair.
The highest political office holder in the group, the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, had been invited by the police to explain what he knows in the Offa bank robbery and the unholy relationship between him and a gang of suspected armed robbers which raided six banks in the ancient town and left in their wake no fewer than 33 persons dead including nine policemen.
Nigerian NewsDirect learnt that the two parties have tabled mouth watering options before the leaders of the group however;the State chapters of PDP are totally against the admission of both Saraki and Kwankwaso as they are not ready to share the structure of the party to them.
“The problem the group is having with their former parties is that of the confidence. What role will they play? and who will be in charge of the state party structure?”
The Kano State PDP is currently under the control of former Governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, who is also interested in contesting for presidency just like Kwankwaso. In Kwara, the PDP is being controlled by the governorship candidate of the party in 2015 election Muhammed Dele Belgore (SAN). The party had continually antagonized Saraki and there had been various protests in Kwara State against the admittance of Saraki back to the umbrella party.
ADC on the other hand, has promised to put the structure of the party in their respective states under their control. The party wants to embark on massive membership drive but the fear is how prepared is the new party few months to the general election.
An aide of Kwankwaso told Nigerian NewsDirect that his principal was yet to renounce his membership of APC but as a key political figure in the country, he had been receiving many offers from different political parties.
“His Excellency, Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso is still a member of APC despite being betrayed by those he helped into position of authority within the party. Our group (nPDP) is still in talk with the party leaders and we will brief you when the time comes” he said.
When asked if his principal had been approached by PDP, he responded “Its not just PDP but many others. You know he is a golden fish that has no hiding place’ he told our correspondent.
Efforts to get the reaction of the Spokesman of APC, Bolaji Abdullahi proved abortive as he failed to respond to text messages sent to him.
However, the Deputy National Chairman (North) of the APC, Senator Lawal Shuaibu, told newsmen that the grievances of the nPDP members would be addressed and assured that they would still remain in the party
Shuaibu said, “No, I don’t think any of our members is planning to leave us to join the PDP, certainly not the PDP, which is a damaged brand.
“I even heard that they (PDP) are trying to change their name to something else because they know Nigerians will never again trust them with power. As a nation, we have yet to recover from the damage that the successive PDP administrations did to our polity.”
On his part, the Spokesman of PDP Kola Ologbondiyan said the party has been transformed to embrace everybody and assured that the nPDP members of better treatment in the party.