Nigeria News
Fear of defection forced PDP to postpone primaries – Investigation


National Chairman, Peoples Democratic  Party, Alhaji Ahmadu Adamu Mu'azu

Fear of defection among its aggrieved members had been identified as the major reason that forced the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party to reschedule its primaries across the country,   investigations by THE PUNCH have revealed.

The decision, it was learnt, was arrived at, at meetings the party had after the many requests by the members of the party in the National Assembly asking that they be given automatic tickets to return to their seats.

It was gathered that the party and the Presidency felt that if the lawmakers and others were not favoured during the primaries, they could easily defect to the opposition party, the All Progressives Congress.

It will be recalled that the PDP had on September 17, fixed December 6 as the date for its national convention when its presidential candidate was to emerge.

On the same date, the party fixed November 29 for the conduct of its governorship primaries across the country.

It also said that the primaries for the National Assembly would hold on November 22.

The dates were proposed at a meeting the national leadership of the party had with President Goodluck Jonathan same day and were also adopted at the party’s National Executive Committee meeting on September 18.

The PDP and the Presidency were said to have been jolted with the shift of the APC governorship primaries from November 15 to December 3, which is a week after the November 29 originally fixed by the APC for its governorship primaries.

A member of the National Working Committee of the party, who spoke with our correspondent on Sunday on the condition of anonymity, said the party decided to alter its primaries in order to make sure that dissatisfied members of the party would not have opportunity to defect to the APC.

He said that the amendment of the APC constitution which now allows new entrants into the party to vie for any elective office was also considered by the PDP and the Presidency as a way to woo its aggrieved members by the opposition

It will be recalled that the APC at its extra ordinary convention last week amended the party’s constitution to allow new members to vie for any elective office.

It was at this event that the Speaker of the House Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, was seen for the first time attending a public event of the party.

He is said to be among those who will benefit from this gesture.

Tambuwal is eyeing the office of the governor of his home state, Sokoto.

The NWC member said, “It is not only them (the APC) that knows how to think. We are also monitoring event in the opposition party and the polity.

“Now that we have amended our timetable, let’s see those who will rush there and say they want to run on the platform of the APC. Because by the time we will be holding the primaries, the APC too would have closed its doors.”

The National Organising Secretary of the PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Mustapha, had on Saturday evening in a statement, announced that the PDP governorship primaries would now come up on December 8, which is five days after the APC must have elected its own candidates.

Mustapha also said that the party had fixed primaries for its aspirants to the House of Representatives for December 5 and primaries for senatorial candidates two days later.

The APC on the other hand fixed November 24 for its candidates going into the House of Representatives and November 29 for its senatorial aspirants.

Whereas the APC has also fixed November 15 for its candidates in the state House of Assembly to emerge, the PDP has also fixed November 29 for its own exercise.

Efforts to speak with the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, on the issue failed as calls made to his telephone indicated that it was switched off.

However, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the party was happy that the PDP was forced to think because of the opposition party.

Mohammed said that the party would meet and re-strategise because of the action taken by the ruling party.

He said, “We are happy that the PDP is being forced to think because of us. They have seen that we are a real threat to them. That notwithstanding, we will meet and re-strategise. This is politics. We know what to do.”

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