By Clifford Ndujihe & Gbenga Oke
Following his threat to leave the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP over the party hierarchy’s refusal to observe the power sharing and rotation arrangement in its constitution, the All Nigerian Peoples Party, ANPP, has declared its readiness to welcome former Head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida into its fold.
There have been speculations that Babangida was planning to defect to the ANPP to pursue his presidential ambition.
Babangida is one of the four PDP presidential aspirants from the North, who embraced a consensus arrangement to stop President Goodluck Jonathan from picking the PDP’s presidential ticket and to ensure that power returns to the North in 2011.
President Jonathan is from the South-South geo-political zone, which has never produced the president or head of state until early this year when Jonathan emerged following President Umaru Yar’Adua’s demise.
In a full page advertorial on Wednesday, a peeved Babangida decried selective observance of the PDP constitution and urged the hierarchy to respect the party’s constitutional provision on power or rotation or he would quit the party.
No comments yet – Onu
Contacted on Babangida’s inroad into the ANPP, the National Chairman, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu declined comments as of now and directed Vanguard to other leaders of the party.
ANPP notable leaders who commented on the issue yesterday included Chief George Mughalu and Presidential aspirant, Chief Harry Akande.
Level-playing ground for all
Said Moghalu: “Presently, we have three presidential aspirants on the platform of ANPP including the Governor of Kano State, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, Chief Harry Akande and Alhaji Bashir Tofa, but if Ibrahim Babangida wants to join the party, our doors are open and he is welcome just like any other person.
“If he decides to join ANPP, he will join in line with the party laws and we will treat him according to the motto of our great party which dictates justice. You can be assured that no candidate will be favoured as the party leadership intends to provide a level playing ground for every contestant.”
IBB’s entry ‘ll make primaries more competitive– Akande
Akande, one of the contenders for the ANPP presidential ticket, however, stated that he was not moved by IBB’s proposed defection and presidential bid on the ANPP’s platform.
“If IBB decides to come into the ANPP, he is welcome. We, thye other contenders ars not in anyway moved by his coming into the party as we believe that his coming will make the competition within the ANPP fold competitive in the days ahead of the presidential primaries in the party.”