The All Progressives Congress (APC) has been on a recruiting spree of new members while the opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been at the receiving end, as most of its members have been trooping to APC.
The party under Governor Mai Mala-Buni-led Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of APC, had reinvigorated the party’s wooing machinery, broadening the party’s political dragnet and winning over influential new members.
Some of the key defectors to APC are: governors David Umahi of Ebonyi, Prof Ben Ayade of Cross River, Ahmed Matawalle of Zamfara, states respectively. Others are: former speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; former PDP national chairman, Senator Gemade; Senator Grace Bent and former minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode.
Talks of former president Goodluck Jonathan moving to APC have been rife. Despite several denials by the former president’s media team that he has no such intentions, the rumour has refused to die.
Reflecting on defections recorded earlier, Buni notes, “Our efforts in wooing members of other political parties into APC, has recorded remarkable and unprecedented successes.”
“Another major milestone we have recorded as a party is the membership registration and revalidation exercise, which has given every member of our party a true sense of belonging,” he said.
As the party’s ranks swell, the question of whether or not new members would be afforded automatic tickets to vie for any position became topical when APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) Secretary, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, during an interview on Jonathan’s purported plans to join the party, was misinterpreted to mean he would get an automatic ticket to contest on the party’s platform.
This is more so that the rumours surrounding Jonathan’s defection are in light of a purported arrangement to have him fly the party’s ticket in 2023. But clarifying the situation, Akpanudoedehe said APC has not granted an automatic ticket to Jonathan.
He explains the waiver granted new defectors, does not exclude them from undergoing nomination processes of contesting for positions in the party and as its flag bearers in general elections.
The APC national secretary, in a statement said defection into the party by any person does not confer the status of an automatic candidate of the party on such individuals.
Akpanudoedehe, who was reacting to a misrepresentation of his views on the waiver granted new entrants and defectors by the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) at its December 8, 2020 meeting in a television programme, said all party members, irrespective of the status of the person, must go through the party’s nomination process as outlined in the constitution.
Also reacting, a party chieftain, Ibrahim Aminu, said “There are procedures properly spelt out in the party’s constitution on how tickets are obtained. So, it’s as clear as daylight. But waivers can be given to become full members of the party. So that, for me, is not an issue at all,” he said.