The All Progressives Congress has expressed its preparedness to receive the Peoples Democratic Party governors sympathetic to the embattled Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, into its fold following the governors’ threats to leave the PDP.
The spokesmen for three of the four parties in the merger, who spoke to SUNDAY PUNCH, were optimistic that the governors and other PDP members would defect to APC as the crisis in the ruling party deepens.
The National Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Lai Mohammed, said it was only natural for politicians leaving the PDP to join the APC.
He, however, clarified that the merger neither initiated nor fuelled the crisis in the ruling party.
He said, “The four parties that formed APC–ACN, Congress for Progressive Change, All Nigeria Peoples Party, and All Progressives Grand Alliance – are not the architect of PDP’s problems. In fact, the crisis PDP is facing today predates the coming together of these four parties. But we will be the greatest beneficiaries of the disintegration of PDP.
“On our own, we have not set out to destabilise the PDP, what is happening now was bound to happen and our merger coming at this time is providing an alternative for disgruntled governors, who are unhappy with the way they have been treated in PDP.”
Mohammed said though none of the governors had officially begun discussion with APC, they would be welcomed if they wanted to join the merger.
“To the best of my knowledge, I’m not aware of any of them officially discussing with APC, but what I know is that some of them have openly declared that the coming of our merger is timely, because their scattered umbrella can no longer hold them. So, we have become the alternative for these governors,” he said.
Also, the National Publicity Secretary, of the CPC, Rotimi Fashakin, said the doors of APC were open to aggrieved PDP members.
He said, “Not just the governors, all those who have suffered oppression and the travesty of justice that is common in the PDP are welcome to join APC. It’s a political party, if they show interest, they will be welcomed.”
Similarly, the National Publicity Secretary of the ANPP, Emma Eneukwu, said the APC would woo the PDP governors, in order to swell its ranks.
“Politics is all about people and getting a state governor over is not a small thing. Even though I’m not aware of any ongoing discussions with the governors, I believe there could be some underground moves, but not to my knowledge yet. It is possible,” he said.
The governors reportedly resent the strong-arm tactics employed by President Goodluck and his men in their bid to take over the party machinery.
Defending the formation of the PDP Governors’ Forum, the Political Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, Ahmed Gulak, had said the forum under the leadership of Amaechi was being run like a trade union.
The Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Godswill Akpabio, had vowed that “Judases” in the party would be probed.