The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may shed more gubernatorial weight if ongoing negotiations between three of its governors and the ruling All Progressives Congress succeed.
Ebonyi State Governor, Mr. Dave Umahi, had on Tuesday opened the impending floodgate of defections when he deserted the PDP and pitched his tent with the APC complaining that the main opposition party had treated his South-east home zone shabbily.
THISDAY gathered last night that three PDP governors are deep in discussions with the APC and might jump ship shortly.
The governors in transition, according to multiple sources close to the discussions, are
1. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu),
2. Prof. Ben Ayade (Cross River) and
3. Senator Bala Mohammed (Bauchi).
It is not clear why the governors want to leave their party that had given them abundant opportunities to be politically relevant, a PDP source in the know of the move told THISDAY last night.
However, governors of the party yesterday gave assurances of their loyalty and commitment to support and strengthen it after a meeting of its National Executive Committee (NEC) in Abuja.
Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum and Sokoto State Governor, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, spoke on behalf of his colleagues at the 90th NEC meeting in Abuja.
The governors’ pledge followed the defection of Umahi.
The National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, who presided over the meeting, seized the opportunity to warn that there would be no transparent general election in 2023 without amendment to the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
Tambuwal said the PDP governors are more than united as could be seen in the fact all the governors attended the meeting.
He said: “All 15 of us are here present. We are individually committed to good governance in our various states in order to make our party strong.
“This is a clear statement that we are united and working towards strengthening our party for the future.”
The Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Senator Walid Jibrin, told the gathering that the PDP remains strong in Ebonyi State despite the exit of Umahi.
He faulted reasons adduced by Umahi for leaving for the APC but said it was a thing of joy that the PDP structure in the state remains intact.
Jibrin expressed delight that the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) took proactive steps to ensure that Umahi did not take undue advantage of the PDP structure in the state.
Also speaking on behalf of the PDP caucus in the National Assembly, the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinanya Abaribe, assured the party leadership that the caucus is prepared to fight against anti-media legislation “with every drop of our blood.”
He said: “The attempt to gag each and every one of us by the government talking about the media, I can assure you that we shall fight with the last drop of our drop and that attempted legislation will not see the light of the day.
“We are also going to ensure that in the Electoral Act that we are tampering with now, we will be putting all the safeguards and ensure that our vote will always count.
“We also want to use this opportunity to appeal to the national party that as we work towards the 2023 elections, party discipline will be most important to us.
“Our members need to always be sure that they can depend on the national party for protection in and wherever they are.”
Secondus, however, said there would be no transparent general election in 2023 without amending the Electoral Act.
He added that Nigeria is now on autopilot due to the incapacity of the present administration that has piled up over N31 trillion debts.
He described the defection of Umahi to the APC as a personal voyage, adding that the party cannot be intimidated or blackmailed.
Secondus, in his address to the NEC meeting, urged members of the party in the National Assembly to work hard to ensure a new Electoral Act is passed before the 2023 general election.