*We ‘re not averse to any ‘big fish’ joining us — Lai Mohammed
BY EMMANUEL AZIKEN, POLITICAL EDITOR
The All Progressive Congress, APC, is pressing on with its campaign to woo the seven rebel governors in the breakaway faction of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, with the offer of complete control of APC structures in their states, Vanguard has learnt.
The offer nonetheless, the G7 governors were yesterday still holding out for possible changes in the PDP, asserting that defection to the APC or any other party remained an option that would be fully explored at the appropriate time.
The offer to the rebel governors was formally made by Umar Duhu, National Vice-Chairman of the APC, North-East, during an unprecedented Sallah visit by top party officials to Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, one of the rebel governors.
Sources present at the meeting in Yola told Vanguard that the APC officials told governor Nyako that it was the policy of the APC to offer any governor that defects to the party the complete structure of the new opposition party.
Meanwhile, acting National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the party would not be averse to any big fish, including any or all of the seven rebel governors joining the new opposition party.
The offer of the party structures which was formally tabled to the governors during the Sallah visit, it was learnt, was symbolized by the offer of kola to the governor on Wednesday.
“It is our party policy that any governor that joins us from the opposition would be given the party structure in his state,” the APC officials were quoted as telling Nyako.
By offering the structure of the party to the governors, the governors would automatically produce the executive officials of the party in the states. It was further learnt that the APC may have deferred the appointment of interim executives in the affected states based on the consideration.
“In Hausa culture, we have a practice that if somebody presents you with kolanut and if you accept it, you have automatically accepted the person, so it is not a matter of if, but of when,” an associate of the governor told Vanguard yesterday.
Reacting to the development yesterday, the National Publicity Secretary of the nPDP, Chief Chukwuemeka Eze told Vanguard that defection to the APC was an option now being forced on the nPDP governors.
“Let us face the facts. The fact is that it is our desire to take PDP back to the vision of the founding fathers, but what is our situation where we fail? Do we as politicians continue with the impunity that is being perpetuated by a cabal in PDP where two or three persons gather and say sack this person, suspend this person, revoke this land, seal up this secretariat, is that how to practice democracy,” he asked?
“So, if we have other options of which APC is one of the options nothing stops us from exploring those opportunities but at the moment the governor of Adamawa State is a Nigerian and he has every liberty to associate or being visited by anybody but that does not mean in any way that our group has sat and agreed that we are moving.
“At the moment we are in PDP and we will be in PDP to salvage our party. It is where we deem it to be impossible and there is no other alternative than to look for another platform to execute our programmes for Nigerians,” he told Vanguard.
Reacting to the development, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mohammed said the party was not averse to any big fish joining the party. According to him, even though Duhu did not have the formal mandate to bring in the rebel PDP governors, he did not see anything wrong in the efforts of the national vice-chairman.
“If the national vice chairman of our party went to invite Nyako to join APC it is very much in order. I mean it is part of mobilisation, it is part, I don’t see anything amiss there and I don’t see how that it is out of sync with the thinking of the national leadership of the party.
“Mobilisiation is an essential part of politicking, if for whatever reason we use the opportunity of a Sallah visit to formally invite him, I don’t see anything wrong in it. I am not aware that the party would be averse to anybody bringing any big fish into the party whether or not he has the mandate is irrelevant at this point.
”Are you going to paralyse a person if he is able to land a whole governor into your party? Even if he doesn’t have the mandate at the end of the day if he succeeds it is a plus for the party,” Mohammed said.