- The All Progressives Congress (APC) is making serious efforts towards gaining more grounds for the 2019 general elections
- The ruling party is targeting the South-east and South-south regions
- The APC performed woefully in the two zones in the 2015 general elections
A report by New Telegraph indicates that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is making serious efforts towards gaining more grounds for the 2019 general elections.
According to the report, the ruling party is targeting to woo governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South-east and South-south regions.
The APC performed woefully in the two zones in the 2015 general elections, losing most of the areas, except Imo state.
Anambra state governor, Chief Willie Obiano of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) is also not spared by the APC lobbyists.
The APC is reportedly dangling carrots of automatic re-election to some first term governors in the two zones with the exception of the Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike, who the APC see as a renegade.
Those reportedly being approached are Obiano; Ebonyi state governor, Chief David Umahi; Abia state governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu; Cross River state governor, Professor Ben Ayade and his Akwa Ibom counterpart, Mr Udom Emmanuel.
Accordingly, some top shots of the APC in the two regions have been reaching out to the governors, with a view to convincing them to join the ruling party.
“The lingering PDP crisis is a fertile ground and a good excuse for anybody to defect and abandon the party now.
“Of course, you know that factionalisation is one of the grounds allowed by the constitution for defection.So, it is a good excuse for anybody to use and leave PDP for now,” said a PDP leader and former minister.
The APC leaders are said to be putting the Anambra governor under serious pressure as the governorship election in the state comes up next year.
The governor's party - APGA is having pockets of crisis, which is threatening its unity going into the election.
“If he accepts to cross over to the APC, he will pick the ticket automatically,” said an APC chieftain from the South-east.
A source close to the governor said that the fear of the governor’s camp is that the APC federal might pose problems for the governor.
The source said: “You can see how the APC took Edo and Ondo states. You can also see how the APC treated Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state in the rerun election.
“Those are test runs for what the APC is planning for us this year and in 2019. If the governor does not play his game well,you know the APC will attempt to take him out.That is the fear.”
But, the special adviser to the governor on media, legislative matters and strategy, Prince Oliver Okpala, said that the governor would return for a second term on the platform of APGA.
On his part, the chief press secretary to Governor Umahi, Mr Emma Anya, insisted that his principal would remain in the PDP.
Anya said: “That story has been flying around for some time. It is not today that we started hearing it. But the governor has been saying that he remains in the PDP and would not move to the APC.”
Christian Ita, chief press secretary to Governor Ayade, also said his boss will not leave the PDP.
“Ayade has stated it several times that he remains in PDP. The only thing is that my governor has a good working relationship with the president. For him, after election, it is governance.
“So, Governor Ayade is busy with governance now. When it is time for politics, he will play it,” Ita said.
Governor Ikpeazu’s spokesman, Enyinnaya Appollos, said: “nobody approached the governor to join APC and the governor is not leaving PDP.”
An APC chieftain said: “The two zones are proving difficult for our party, but we remain optimistic that we can break into the two zones in 2019.
“We have some big men from the zone in our party now. That leaves us with an option to work hard and achieve our desire in the two zones.”
A former minority leader at the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) legislative council, Sunday Biko has joined the APC.
Biko joined the ruling party alongside the PDP ward chairman, Yakubu Ismaila, secretary Ayuba Sunday and 240 other people.