The newly unveiled Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA), is speculated to be an alternative platform for Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led PDP, if the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff faction wins the forthcoming Supreme Court ruling over the leadership crisis of the party. KINGSLEY OPURUM takes a look at how the new party plans to cause a major upset for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the PDP in 2019 general elections and other sundry issues.
The emergence of a new political platform ahead of 2019 was predicted shortly after the leadership crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) started. And when the cracks arising from the power tussle in the All Progressives Congress (APC) began to manifest, the prediction appeared more real.
Before, a plethora of political associations applied for registration to be political parties, with some of them boasting to be the desired alternative platform.
However, the personalities behind the recent unveiling of the Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA) appears to give a different aura to the new party. The buzz behind it’s formal two days before it was formally recognized by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), accentuated its potential to engage the political space.
Meanwhile, the Sen Ahmed Makarfi-led camp of the PDP is alleged to be behind the new party. Having weighed its option ahead of the Supreme Court judgement over the leadership crisis rocking the PDP, per adventure, it goes in favour of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff faction, the Markarfi-led faction is alleged to have floated APDA as an alternative platform that will sustain its political relevance and keep it afloat in the country’s political space.
Beyond the crisis in the PDP as the chief reason for alternate platform, the birth of APDA is also said to have been largely informed by what the party terms the failure of the ruling party to deliver change as promised, believing that practically everything has fallen out of place since the APC assumed power in 2015.
A reliable source said that with the “technical suppression of the opposition by the ruling government and its deliberate orchestration of power tussle in the main opposition party for obvious reasons, the need to sidestep the traps has become imperative, which led to the formation of APDA.”
According to the source, “the new political party had studied the existing two political parties, their manifestoes and constitutions, and has designed a better programme for the people of Nigeria in terms of resounding policy for good governance, which will give APDA a head start in 2019 general elections.”
However, Makarfi-led PDP has denied being the brains behind the newly formed party, saying that it does not have any alliance with the new political association.
A few hours after the unveiling of the party, the Makarfi Caretaker Committee of PDP issued a brief statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, which said; “In the last few hours, we have received numerous calls from our Party members, concerned citizens and well wishers on our association or otherwise with the Advance Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA) which was unveiled today at Abuja.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we reiterate once again that we are not in any way associated with the new party in any form or guise. The APDA is neither an offshoot of the PDP nor its alter ego as some are speculating.
“This statement is made purely to set the records straight and to avoid unnecessary innuendos, speculations and ambiguity that may threaten the continued unity and solidarity of our party members.
“We thank millions of well-meaning Nigerians for their concern and commitment to the defense of our nascent democracy. In the end, this democracy cannot survive without a strong and vibrant opposition.”
But what fuelled speculations from various quarters that Makarfi faction is behind the formation of APDA was due to the number of PDP chieftains who attended the unveiling of the party name and logo in Abuja.
Among top politicians present at the event was founder of Daar Communications and a member of PDP, Raymond Dokpesi,
Long wait for Apex Court’s judgement
There is a strong apprehension. The upcoming Supreme Court ruling may favour Sheriff’s faction. He had already won at the Appeal Court. Against this backdrop, a competent source said that the Makarfi-led PDP mulled floating
a new party as an option B to fall back on in the event of failure in the apex court.
This speculation may not be far-fetched in view of some statements made by the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose and his Rivers State counterpart, Governor Nyesome Wike that they would never ever be a part of Sheriff-led PDP.
Recall that Wike and Fayose were among the people, who ensured the emergence of Sheriff as the Chairman of the party but along the line, fell out with the beleaguered PDP chairman.
Wike said; “I will not support anything that has to do with Sheriff. I know that he doesn’t mean well for the party.
“He’s a mole in the party. His antecedents tell you that there are people behind who are not members of the party, who do not want PDP to exist.
“I’m not new in this game. Even the characters around him, they don’t augur well for the party.
“That is one of the worst political decisions I’ve ever taken. In life, when you take a decision and you realise that you made a mistake. In that decision you made, there is nothing stopping you from saying, ‘I’ve made a mistake, I think we can correct it’.
“Frankly, I have never regretted any decision I’ve taken than this decision. Politically, we have seen his conduct. It has shown that he does not mean well for the party. It will be difficult for me to work with him. That is clear. I don’t have that confidence that he can lead the party.”
Fayose said in his statement, “I do respect what the law says but you cannot force a chairman I don’t want on me.
“For me, we will rather wait for the court to decide the future of this party, when the court says it is Makarfi, we follow him, when the court says Sheriff, we say bye bye – Personally, I will not attend any meeting with Sherriff again.”
Also last month, a statement from the leadership of the Ahmed Makarfi faction of PDP directed state chapters of the party decide on which alternative platforms in seeking elective offices. A case in point was in Delta were PDP members filed under Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) to contest elections. The reasoning was to avoid the fielding of double candidates which largely caused PDP the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo State.
From all indications, the survival of the soul of PDP is hanging in the balance, as it is solely dependent on the long awaiting outcome of the Supreme Court judgment. The looming mass defection in the wake of the forthcoming apex court judgment over PDP leadership crisis may relegate PDP to a political wilderness, as only Sheriff and his loyalists will be left to run the party.
Statistically, Makarfi’s faction has more members and political heavyweights than Sheriff’s faction, which means that the defection of Makarfi faction from PDP has the tendency of further decimating what s left of the country’s main opposition party.
On the other hand, some pundits believe that PDP’s survival can be made practically possible if the judgement swings in favour of Makarfi faction, or if the both factions can come to a reconciliation table and resolve their differences amicably, a scenario that is quite unlikely at this point.
But for now, the strategic arrangement is reportedly for APDA to serve as an alternative platform that will subsequently supplant PDP.
However, the Akwa Ibom state governor, Udom Emmanuel however believes that the registration of new political parties will in no way affect the membership and fortunes of PDP.
Gov Emmanuel, who said this in Uyo expressed optimism that irrespective of the outcome of the Supreme Court ruling on the leadership crisis rocking the party, all disputes would be resolved amicably and the party would emerge stronger.
The APC appears to be putting up a calm disposition over the emergence of the party. This is not withstanding that the leadership of the ruling party is struggling to calm frayed nerves within the party. The tussle among the component units that formed the party, namely, defunct, ACN, CPC, new PDP, ANPP and part of APGA, have yet to full blend almost five years after their coming together.
Watchers believe that the APDA would hope to cash in on the discordant tunes coming from within the party as seen from the Senate leadership on the one hand and some power brokers in the party.
Sources have disclosed that promoters of APDA have prioritized the merger arrangement and have begun the process of executing the trajectory of a mega party in order to upset the apple cart for the governing APC and PDP in 2019 elections.
The parties that have reportedly begun talks with the newly formed APDA are the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Labour Party, the Advanced Democratic Party (ADP) etc.
Can APDA Cause A Major Upset In 2019
Former National Chairman of Labour Party, Chief Dan Nwanyanwu, explained at the unveiling of APDA’s Interim National Executive Committee (NEC) that the party was a convergence of patriotic citizens who were committed to the indivisibility and corporate existence of Nigeria.
He also said that the party’s members were determined to enrich true federalism, social inclusion, national cohesion and public trust in governance.
He said, “The party I am unveiling today on behalf of us is ideologically roofed.
“It seeks to address all the fundamental issues that will keep Nigerians united, with every citizen having a sense of equality, justice, protection, belonging and fair play.
“We are determined to present to Nigerians a political party that will be highly disciplined, provide the level-playing field to all its members and remove every trace of godfatherism.
“APDA stands for social democracy with efficient and sustainable public sector services delivered as its primary focus”.
He alleged that many of the established political parties in the country were recycling old leaders, repeating old rhetoric and reabsorbing the same old and moribund way of doing things.
He assured that when registered, APDA would give priority to women, youths and the disabled.
“The party is yours; the future is yours and that future is today, not tomorrow. This has been guaranteed by our constitution.”
Reacting to that, a political analyst said if the newly formed party can put its house in order and play its card well, then Nigerians are in for a major upset in 2019, believing that the performance of the APC has given Nigerians every reason to yearn for a change of government or an alternative party.