The leadership crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) involving the Senator Ahmed Makarfi camp and that of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff is responsible for the gale of defection that is currently blowing across the party, LEADERSHIP checks have revealed.
It was gathered that stakeholders, including founding members of the party, are disturbed over the mass defection of prominent party leaders and their close associates from the party to the governing All Progressives Congress (APC).
Close sources at the national headquarters of the party in Abuja hinted this paper that there is palpable tension within the circles of the major opposition party, as prominent members and chieftains in both camps of the party keep defecting in large numbers to the APC ahead of the 2019 general elections.
“As I talk to u now, there is widespread anxiety among leaders of the party in both camps over the unending crisis in the party which has led to the mass defection of influential members from the PDP to the ruling APC that we have been witnessing almost on a daily basis. Key members of the party are worried that if nothing is done about the growing spate of defection from the party to the APC in the country, the party’s hope of regaining power in the centre at the 2019 polls may turn out to be a mirage”, one of the sources in Wadata house told our correspondent yesterday.
Last weekend, former governor of Enugu State, Sullivan Chime, was said to have dumped the PDP for the APC, just as a PDP governorship aspirant in Gombe State in the 2011 gubernatorial election, Alhaji Farouk Bamusa also decamped to the governing APC with thousands of his supporters.
Also last week, former governor of Zamfara State, Aliyu Shinkafi, defected to the APC with a legion of associates and supporters.
Shinkafi’s defection retinue was reportedly heavily loaded as those who moved with him to APC were said to have include his former chief of staff, Alhaji Musa Zubairu Nassarawa Mailayi, his deputy governorship candidate during the 2015 election, Alhaji Malami Aliyu Yandoto and his former Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Mamman Bawa.
Others who followed Shinkafi to the governing party include PDP chairmen in all the 14 local government areas of the state, 14 former council chairmen, all his ex- commissioners, friends and other political associates.
Minority Leader, Deputy Minority Whip Dump PDP In Nasarawa
Minority leader and deputy minority whip of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Alhaji Ibrahim Alkali and Mohammed Muluku yesterday dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
They said the crisis rocking PDP at the national level was the major reason for their defection to APC, just as the Speaker of the state assembly, Alhaji Ibrahim Balarabe-Abdullahi, read their defection letter on the floor of the House in Lafia.
The speaker who congratulated the defectors for taking the right decision at the right time assured them of the support of other members of the party at all times.
Balarabe-Abdullahi said, “Alhaji Ibrahim Alkali (PDP-Lafia North) and Mr. Mohammed Muluku (PDP-Nassarawa Eggon East), today we welcome you to our great party, the APC, and you are now our party members and I want to assure you of equal rights within the party.
“We will continue to partner each other in order to move the party, the state and the country forward for the benefit of our people”.
He also assured the people of the state of the state house of assembly’s readiness to continue to enact laws that will have direct bearing on the lives of the people, even as he solicited support to enable them succeed.
The Speaker lauded the leadership style of Governor Tanko Al-Makura, which he said is impacting positively on the lives of the people of the state, saying it should be sustained.
Describing the crisis rocking PDP at the national level as the major reason for their defection to APC, Alkali said, “The crisis rocking our party at the national level between Sen. Makarfi and Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff is the reason why I dumped PDP and defected to APC after due consultations with my constituents”.
On his part, Muluku said, “After due consultation with my party stakeholders, the people of my constituency and other people in the state, I deemed it necessary to dump PDP for APC so as to contribute my quota to the development of the state and Nigeria at large”.
They duo, however appreciated the PDP for giving them the opportunity to contest and win elections under the party’s platform.
Only recently, the deputy speaker of the state assembly, Hon. Godiya Akwashiki, also defected from PDP to APC with hordes of his supporters. Yesterday’s development has left the PDP with only three members in a 24-member State House of Assembly.
Dickson Lacks Mandate To Demand Our Resignation – Makarfi
Meanwhile, the leadership crisis rocking the PDP took a deeper crisis dimension yesterday as the Sen Ahmed Makarfi led national caretaker committee, (NCC) rebuked the Bayelsa State governor and chairman of the party’s reconciliation committee, Seriake Dickson, for asking them to resign.
The Makarfi-led NCC, while noting that Dickson has become a partial peace broker, said it was shocked that the governor could ask for their resignation even after admitting that they were a creation of the national convention.
A statement by the NCC spokesman, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, said Dickson would have to convince 80 per cent of the members on the merits of his point of view, adding that the NCC was merely the agent of the party.
Dickson had last week reportedly called for the resignation of the National Caretaker Committee as a way out of the present impasse in the party.
Responding however, Adeyeye said, “The statement coming from one of our most respected governors is to say the least shocking and embarrassing. We are worried that Gov Dickson has seriously undermined the work of his committee by taking sides with Sheriff.
“The National Caretaker Committee did not appoint itself. It is a creation of the National Convention of the party at which Gov Dickson as a prominent leader of the party was present. As the Governor admitted in his statement the NCC was put in place and enjoys the support of over 80 percent of members of the party.
“That being the case, the proper thing to do if Gov Dickson wants the NCC to be disbanded is to persuade and convince the 80 percent of the members on the merits of his point of view. The NCC is merely the agent of the party. The principals are the organs of the party and the 80 percent of members that he alluded to. The NCC has no choice than to obey the command of its principals.
“It is therefore most unfair to cast aspersions on members of the NCC. Gov Dickson should know where to direct his efforts. He should convince our principals who are the organs of the party on the need for the NCC to resign.”