PDP crisis: VP Namadi Sambo’s job threatened by mass defection

by Akintomiwa Agbaje


As preparations for the 2015 elections gather momentum, the mass exodus of members from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) threatenn the job of Vice President, Namadi Sambo.

This is as a result of moves made by the president’s men to enlist the support of two former governors, Attahiru Bafarawa (Sokoto) and Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano) to join the PDP.

According to a Leadership report:

Their calculation is that if either of the former governors run on the PDP platform as President Jonathan’s running mate in 2015, the All Progressives Congress (APC) could be cut to size.

But the former governors who are founding fathers of the APC are circumspect in their reactions to the move allegedly spearheaded by a top PDP member. This is even as both the ruling PDP and the presidency made frugal comments as regards the purported move to oust Sambo.

Regardless of the seeming ambivalence, a top presidency source told LEADERSHIP Sunday that a team of party leaders had been mandated to discuss with Bafarawa and Shekarau on the propriety of joining the PDP.

“We have reached the stage that no one would want to play the dangerous game of ignorance; as it is now, we are ready to play the game the way the opposition wants it and there is no going back on this.

“If for the sake of political power, traditional foes could align forces and think they can upstage us in 2015, then, the time for real politics has come because we will not wait for them, neither are we going to allow them beat us to the game.

All they want in APC is political power without any focus and we need to avoid a situation in Nigeria whereby power mongers will take over government just for the sake of it,” he said.

The presidency official further said: “The same way they think there are PDP members they can woo to their side, I can tell you that we have better ways to have some of their most honourable men in the so-called opposition to work with us in order to deliver Nigeria for Nigerians in 2015.

“As I am talking to you now, we are in an advanced stage of bringing on board some of the opposition’s best democrats to strengthen our party; I don’t think this is out of place because just like the opposition sees some of our men as credible enough to bring on board, we have also identified some in the opposition too good to belong to the APC to come on board so that we can forge ahead in the quest for national unity.

No one in APC can say he or she is more of a Nigerian than someone like Bafarawa or Shekarau, for instance, and we cannot wait any further in the face of these shameful defections that have rocked our party in the last month or so.”

Asked if the enlistment of Bafarawa and Shekarau would not pose a threat to the vice president, the source said: “What is paramount is that the PDP returns in 2015; no individual ambition is higher than that of the party; if the party does not win in 2015, can we have Jonathan or Sambo?

It all depends on what you may want to insinuate, but I can tell you that whatever is required to strengthen the north-west, we shall not hesitate to do it.”

Reacting to the development, President Jonathan’s political adviser Ali Ahmed Gulak said the matter was a purely a party affair. “You can refer your enquiries to the national secretariat of the PDP for further details. I can’t make any comment on this,” Gulak said.

Also, PDP’s national publicity secretary Mr Oliseh Metu neither confirmed nor denied the development. “All I can say is that like some persons are moving out of the PDP, there are many more who are interested in coming on board to forge national oneness and direction.

The PDP as a party does not shut its doors against anyone because it is the only party to beat; it is the only party that can foster national cohesion and interest with the Nigerian spirit at heart, unlike those with the tendencies to divide our people along primordial lines.

In the quest for national unity in the PDP, all are appreciated and adored irrespective of religion, ethnic background and creed; we need all to bring about the Nigerian dream,” he said.

The men at the centre of it were also economical with words in their reactions. Mallam Shekarau, who contested the presidential election on the platform of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in 2011, said he remained a relevant stakeholder but has no intention to join the PDP. He spoke through his media aide, Sule Ya’u Sule.

“I know these stories are coming as a result of the courtesy call by the leadership of the PDP in Kano to the former governor; you should know that Mallam Shekarau remains a credible and relevant stakeholder in the politics of Kano State and beyond.

“He is open to all and does not discriminate at all. For the avoidance of doubt, what transpired between the PDP leadership and the former governor was that the party, like the PDM, National Assembly members and the rest, paid a courtesy call on him,” he said.

Bafarawa’s response was not too different from Shekarau’s. He said though he remained a member of the APC his doors are not shut to any politician.

“I am hearing this from you for the first time; though as a politician, it is not wise to shut doors at political discussions, this particular one I am unaware because I have been in Sokoto for almost two weeks and I only got to Abuja yesterday (Friday); no one discussed anything like that with me.

“Like I said earlier, it is news to me; you will have to tell me details of your information but, all the same, I remain a founding leader of the APC, even though my doors are open to all. I don’t shut my doors to any in matters of politics,” he said.
Our defection a bitter lesson for PDP – Kwankwaso

Meanwhile, governor of Kano State Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso has said the defection of the G-5 governors to the APC had taught the PDP a bitter lesson, as it has forced the party to learn the morals of respecting people.

The governor told newsmen at the Yola International Airport in Adamawa State shortly before his departure from the state after attending a wedding ceremony that the PDP does not accord respect to anybody regardless of the position he is occupying but “our exit has now made the party engage in deep retrospection and even attempt to woo us back into its fold”.

“Before our exit from the PDP, nobody was thinking of wooing anybody in this country; therefore, you can see that we have succeeded in at least putting them into their senses,” he said.  “APC is so good. I am happy that I am now in a party that respects everybody big, small or medium. Anybody in APC is today being respected, unlike the PDP where no individual, no group, no state not even a region is important to them.”

Kwankwaso also said he adopted the symbolic red cap in honour of the late Mallam Aminu Kano. For Nigeria to get it right, he said, politicians must adopt the political style of Aminu Kano who played the game without bitterness.

“You see this mode of dressing — red for the cap, white in the middle, and black for the shoe or green if you like — is the sort of dress that we inherited from the late Mallam Aminu Kano of blessed memory.”

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