There are indications that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) may enter into alliance with some of the opposition political parties ahead of the 2019 general elections. A member of the APC’s National Working Committee (NWC), who disclosed this to New Telegraph, in an exclusive chat yesterday, also revealed that the party is set to welcome some chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) into its fold. Those expected to dump the opposition for the ruling party, according to the source, who pleaded for anonymity, include governors and members of the National Assembly.
The source, who is the arrowhead of the discussion with the PDP stalwarts, told New Telegraph that several meetings have been held with influential members of the opposition PDP. He said the ruling APC has set machinery in place to have working arrangement with other fringe parties and ethnic groups ahead of the 2019 general elections. But, PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, who dismissed the claim, told our correspondent that it will be the other way round as his party is already in talks with some members of the APC, who are desirous of leaving the ruling party.
The APC source, who was reacting to PDP’s plot of a coalition with other opposition parties ahead of the 2019 elections, said:
“We are going to have a better coalition and watch out, half of PDP will soon join the APC. I am not talking about weeks; it will be in a matter of days.”
He added that though it is possible that one or two members of the ruling party may likely leave before the elections, the APC will receive major players in the PDP into its fold.
His words: “It is quite possible that some APC members will move to the PDP because there is always movement, but we are going to get major players in the PDP in the APC.” On what the attraction is for the PDP members, who he said will join the ruling party, the source said: “Interest; that is what politics is all about.
What is there for me; not individual interest, but major communal, ethnic and geopolitical interest?” New Telegraph, however, gathered from other sources in both parties that the APC leadership is wooing members of the opposition with promises of return tickets in the 2019 general elections. It was also learnt that apart from the alliance talks between the APC and the opposition parties, the ruling party is also trying to reach out to regional socio- political groups such as apex Igbo body, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and pan Yoruba group, Afenifere. But, when contacted on the defection claim, National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said though he doesn’t have such information, he wouldn’t be surprised to see an influx of PDP chieftains into the APC soon.
“I don’t have such information, I must say, but I won’t be surprised if there is such movement because those involved would be looking at the interest of their respective constituencies. “Again, it is not a new thing that PDP members will be joining our party, but anybody who is ready to join the APC must be ready to play by the rules,” Abdullahi said. Asked whether the leadership of the APC would be ready to grant waiver to the expected newcomers, especially the governors and legislators to enable them contest the forthcoming elections, the APC spokesman said the party would be guided by its constitution.
His words: “The question on whether the wouldbe defectors will be granted waivers is not something that would be given as a pre-condition before they join the party as whatever we do in APC is guided by our constitution. “You will recall that even recently, when waiver was granted to members of the executive to contest for positions at the forthcoming national convention, the decision was based on the party’s constitution.
“And, if you look at Article 13 of the APC constitution, it says that the NWC can grant waiver to anyone, who is not qualified to contest election under the party’s constitution. So, we will welcome whoever is interested to join our party, but they must play by the rules.”
But, PDP’s spokesman, Ologbondiyan, who insisted that the APC is the one at the verge of losing its members, said his party is already in talks with several members of the ruling party, who want to partner with the opposition to send the APC packing in 2019. “It is the other way round as we have a number of APC members talking to PDP and they include governors and lawmakers at both the federal and state levels. They want a party that is built on justice and equity and they are desirous to partner with the PDP to vote out the APC in 2019. “I must add that we are not afraid that one or two members of the PDP may leave, but for any member of the party who leaves for the APC, PDP will have 10 members of the ruling party in return,” he told New Telegraph.