The first signs that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party feels threatened by the merger of the major opposition parties have started to emerge with Vice President Namadi Sambo making clandestine moves to scuttle it.
The vice president on Monday approached former Borno State governor Ali Modu Sheriff to map out plans on how to get state party chairmen of the ANPP to denounce the merger of the four opposition parties and pull out of it.
While the vice president and Sheriff met in Abuja,this was not the first meeting they held in their efforts to kill the All Progressive Congress, the joint platform adopted by the opposition parties. We were unable to confirm if Sheriff had accepted the offer. But the office of the vice president has denied that any such meeting took place. A media aide to Sambo, Umar Sani “I read it on twitter and I laughed. I showed it to the vice president and he laughed. How can he stop a merger? The merger is moving on. All we can do is get more supporters.”
Sani however made no categorical statement suggesting that the vice president and Sheriff did not meet. He said, “I did not ask on other issues. All I asked the vice president was whether he met with Sheriff to scuttle the merger and he said no.” Nonetheless, the governors of the merging parties, who established zonal contact and mobilisation committees yesterday, also unfolded the new party’s priority areas that have as base the aim to rescue Nigeria from decay.
The governors declared the new grouping as “Social Democrats”. Also, the governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, debunked speculations over his seeming lukewarm attitude towards the merger plans. He declared, at the end of over five hours’ meeting at the Lagos State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja, that he was all for it, since it is appropriate at this point to have a credible alternative platform for Nigerians. This was even as Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State insisted that his party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), is in the merger despite some minor internal problems. However, a clandestine plot was allegedly championed by Vice President Sambo not only to undermine the successful launch of the APC, but also to discourage any cohesive merger of the political parties.
Sources disclosed last night that Sambo had allegedly been holding secret consultations that could culminate in dissuading top members of the ANPP, including the state chairmen, from being part of the merger arrangement. “The idea is to encourage the members of the party to protest and issue statements disowning a section of the leadership of the party, who are at the forefront of the alignment.
An aide of the former governor of Kano State, Sule Yau Sule, confirmed the plot to LEADERSHIP, though he distanced his boss from it. He said: “Yes, we are aware of the plot to scuttle the merger, but it will not succeed because Nigerians including even a large segment of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are in support of the realignment. We know that the government will deploy the apparatus of government to scuttle the merger. They will not succeed; Nigerians are already dissatisfied with the way PDP is governing. So they will not succeed by the grace of God.” Speaking through Governor Al-Makura, the governors declared that the committee would mobilise support for the party across political, social, religious, ethnic and professional interest groups in the country.