STALWARTS of the Peoples Democratic Party and those of the yet-to-be-registered All Progressives Congress again were at each other’s throats on Wednesday with the PDP saying the APC was “being run like a cult.”
National Chairman of the PDP, Bamangar Tukur, told journalists at an interactive session in Abuja on Wednesday, “Most of the people in APC now are original members of the PDP and I can assure you that we have commenced talks to bring them back to where they originally belonged, which is the PDP.
“They are coming back, because some of them have told me that their aspirations may not be met in the APC because of the burning ambitions of some individual members. They don’t want a party that is being run like a cult,”
A spokesman for one of the parties promoting the APC, Rotimi Fashakin, of the Congress for Progressive Change, however called the PDP “an empire of lies.”
“The PDP is an empire of lies; an organisation filled with deceit of the people. “When people leave the PDP it is difficult to go back. If a former Vice-President left the PDP and since his return it has been a struggle to win even his ward, you know which party is run like a cult. Is it APC that is yet to be a party or the PDP?” Fashakin asked.
Tukur however said that the country was gradually moving towards a two-party arrangement with the APC coming into being out of the merger of Action Congress of Nigeria, All Nigeria Peoples Party, and a faction of the All Progressive Grand Alliance.
He also defended the second term ambition of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015, saying he had every right to contest on the platform of the PDP.
“It (the President’s ambition) is in order in politics. Jonathan is the President under our party and what is wrong if he decides to run? The others have the same opportunity to promote their candidate, if they have,” Tukur said.
Jonathan’s qualification to contest in 2015, in view of an alleged pact with the PDP governors to serve only one term, has generated controversy recently.
Meanwhile, the Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu, who raised the issue of the alleged one-term pact, on Wednesday, said there was a plot to silence him by pasting posters in Abuja with his own portrait asking for votes to become President in 2015.
He said, in a statement by his spokesman, Danladi Ndayebo, that the plot was to pit him against the leadership of the PDP which he said had placed an embargo on campaign for now.
Curiously, 2015 campaign posters of Jonathan resurfaced in the Federal Capital Territory early in the week. The Presidency had accused the President’s detractors as sponsors of similar campaign posters that flooded Abuja during the Christmas/New Year season.
But Tukur has denied that the Presidency floated the PDP Governors’ Forum to weaken the Nigerian Governors’ Forum in order to facilitate Jonathan’s 2015 ambition.
He said, “The Governors’ Forum isn’t the platform for electing candidates; we have our own system.
“We may not share the same position on the formation of PDP Governors’ Forum. Our intention, as a party is that we want our governors to come together. I see the NGF as very important.”
Tukur also insisted that the President and the party were not behind the alleged move to remove the Chairman of NGF, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi.
“No, we aren’t behind it. They (the governors) have an arrangement of two- year tenure for their chairman. So, neither the party leadership, nor Mr. President is against Amaechi or whoever they elect as their leader for the NGF.”
He said those criticising the NGF, claiming that it was a threat to democracy, were free to do so, but that he did not share such opinion.
Tukur also revealed that his party had opened discussing with PDP former members, who are now in the APC.
Though he refused to name those being wooed to return, he said he was sure that they would abandon the yet-to-be registered political party and return to the PDP.
He said that recalling ex-PDP members in the APC was a strategy being employed to weaken the opposition in the 2015 poll.