- At this critical time in Nigeria's history, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) believes it has an opportunity to make itself strong again
- It is currently meeting with other opposition parties in order to form a strong and unified body that can effectively tackle the APC in 2019
Part of the decisions reached by the Peoples Democratic Party faction led by former Governor Ahmed Makarfi is to do all possible to win the hearts of smaller political parties in Nigeria.
This would make the party, already heavily challenged, to become a major front against the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the 2019 general election.
A top source within the PDP told our correspondent that this move was part of the overall decision reached recently on how to make the party stronger and forge a major front against the ruling party.
Though not in the position to officially speak, the source said the move to attract the smaller party was not meant to destroy them but that it would based on mutual trust and understanding.
“It is going to be a give-and-take situation and agreement so that nobody feels cheated. We already have major problems to grapple with in the PDP.
“Therefore it would not be fair to just muzzle the smaller parties in. We are now reformed and refocused and all we need to do now is to sell our ideas to all those who can buy into them,” the source who spoke from Abuja said.
The PDP recently concluded a strategy review with members broken into groups which it called syndicates.
After the entire event, it set up a 35-member executive committee on strategy review and inter-party affairs to put finishing touches to the final report which was expected to be submitted to the National Caretaker Committee of the party on Tuesday, January 31, 2017.
Apart from this, the party has held a National Executive and expanded caucus meeting chaired by Makarfi.
“We have realized out mistakes and have decided to make amends. We have also realized that we need to latch on the failure of the APC administration to reach out to all our supporters and get them back into the family.
“We are also recognise the importance of Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state and we are happy he is championing our course and putting the government of President Buhari on its toes. Sincerely, it is an opportunity that we must catch with both hands,” the source told NAIJ.com.
It was learnt that at one of the sessions, the members of the party raised concerns that the south-east which used to be sympathetic to the PDP was falling into the hands of the APC.
The party's spokesperson, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, could not be reached at the time of this report.
Some heavy weights including former Senate President Ken Nnamani recently dumped the PDP and defected to the APC. There is also the fear that some governors could be contemplating moving to the ruling party thus dissipating the PDP.
In order to buy back the fading support from the zone, the party recently launched the ‘Operation Recapture South-east’ with Chief Austin Umahi, the national vice chairman of the party in the south-east, declaring: “We are launching an aggressive come back campaign in the zone starting with Anambra state which will be going to the polls this year. It is going to be a litmus test for all of us and we are going to beat every other political party in the election.”
Some of the parties the PDP plans to attract include the Accord, Action Alliance, Advanced Congress of Democrats, Citizens Popular Party, Labour Party, Peoples Party of Nigeria, Unity Party of Nigeria and possibly All Progressives Grand Alliance.
“Currently, we have met and are in talks with Alhaji Balarabe Musa’s PRP and we hope to continue to achieve better successes from here," the source said.
The meeting between the PRP and the PDP held at the Asa Pyramid Hotel in Kaduna on January 28, 2017 and had in attendance a delegation from both parties.
Those present for the PDP at the meeting include: Prof Jerry Gana, former Deputy Senate President Ibrahim Mantu, former Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, Ambassador Aminu Wali, Professor Tunde Adeniran, Ambassador Fedelia Njeze, Hajia Zainab Mains.
Others are Hajia Inna Chiroma, Mal Shehu Gabam, Hon Francis Arogu, Hon Hassan Hayat and Chief Raymond Dokpesi, founder of Daar Communications.
On the other hand, the delegation of the PRP was led by Alhaji Balarabe Musa and had others including: Richard Umaru, Engr Patrick Akindulu, Comdr Joachim Anyanwu, Babatunde Akosile, Abba Sule Namatazu, Engr Yahaya Daudu, Alh Ahmadu Gwamna, Mohammad Nura Abdullahi, Shamsuddeen Umar, Engr Moses Jiya, Alh Shehu isa Kaita and Poul Otu.
While confirming the meeting, Alhaji Musa said it was held for the purpose of “discussing national issues and how the PDP and PRP can strengthen credible and democratic opposition for the purpose of national unity, democracy and progress.”