By Dirisu Yakubu
The crises in the camp of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), if not resolved, may pave way for the opposition to worm its way into the heart of the electorate. As the 2019 general elections inch closer by the day, Nigerians are waiting to see what becomes of the alliances being mooted by some political groups in the land.
In the books of some political bookmakers, the 2019 Presidential election is a two-horse race between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the biggest opposition political party in the country, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Not surprisingly, the two behemoths have, in the past couple of months, traded vitriolic attacks with accusations and counter-accusations on why the Nigerian state is moving at a snail speed on the journey to a truly great nation.
For the President Muhammadu Buhari government, the biggest reason for Nigeria’s inability to realize her potential is largely informed by the 16 years leadership the nation experienced during the stewardship of the PDP; a claim that has been dismissed in a legion of press releases by the Prince Uche Secondus-led PDP, which has consistently labelled the ruling party clueless and incompetent to boot.
However, a new twist capable of changing this narrative occurred recently with the defection of three founding members of the PDP into the Social Democratic Party (SDP)-Professors Jerry Gana, Tunde Adeniran and Ahmed Rufai Alkali.
The trio may neither boast of huge electoral mileage nor possess a deep vault of cash but their vast political connections cannot be dismissed by a wave of the hand. Already, Adeniran and Gana are said to have reached out to other politicians in the last couple of weeks with the sole aim of having them join the SDP train.
In a chat with Vanguard on the matter, Adeniran said the SDP has become the political platform of genuine democracy lovers, noting that with an ideology and political philosophy so unique from those of other political parties, the SDP is set to make a numerical profit of its core values. In a chat with Vanguard, Adeniran said: “We expect more people to join the SDP from other political parties and various platforms in view of its determination to be guided by some fundamental principles, policies and people-oriented programmes.
We also expect an influx based on its ideological orientations. As for 2019, we are consolidating on these values to give us a footing for necessary planning and preparations. We are poised to alter the political equation.”
Findings by this medium reveal that some aggrieved members of the PDP would be left with no option but to align forces with the SDP, if their grievances against the Uche Secondus-led National Working Committee of the PDP, are not addressed. Already, talks are ongoing between the party and the Coalition of Nigeria Movement (CNM) for a possible alliance ahead of the 2019 polls.
A party source who pleaded anonymity told this medium that the SDP will take advantage of the rift between the PDP and its aggrieved members to woo the later ahead of the polls, adding that “SDP is set to benefit from the troubles in some parties.” According to him, “The SDP is already reaching out to these people and preliminary talks have been very fruitful. Apart from those who got angry at the conduct of the PDP convention, there are those who were sidelined long before the exercise. What about those who exhausted their energy and resources for the All Progressives Congress (APC) and are now stranded politically? We are reaching out to them too. We want to bring them back to the home of democracy where no one is too rich to make others hearers and not doers,” in the running of the party.
He also hinted at a plan to woo a PDP Presidential aspirant, who is set to miss out of the sole ticket not because he is not popular enough but “Because those that call the shots have vowed not to allow him contest the highest elective office on the PDP platform.”
Asked to reveal the identity of this Presidential aspirant, he responded this way: “It is not for me to reveal his identity but if you are conversant with the happenings in the political terrain, you will know what I am talking about.
This man has paid his dues but they think his candidacy will diminish the chances of their party. For us, having him here will be good for us even though he will be expected to play by the rules should he decide to join the SDP,” he added.
Arguably, the biggest threat to the chances of the APC and the PDP in the 2019 elections is the in-roads already being made into the South-West geo-political zone by the combined efforts of the CNM and the SDP. National Chairman of the SDP and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae has consistently impressed it on his political associates that neither the PDP nor the APC is committed to the development of the zone, despite the presence of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in the APC government.
It is partly as a result of this, Vanguard gathered that the party is currently thinking of fielding Professor Jerry Gana as its 2019 Presidential candidate alongside a Vice Presidential candidate of South-West extraction.
With the possible exception of Lagos, the States of Osun, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo and Oyo States are up for grabs with the opposition set to test its might against the ruling APC especially in the Presidential election.
As it were, the intrigues and divisions in the camp of the big parties may pave way for a new platform to announce itself on the big stage in 2019, given the difficulty being experienced by the latter in reconciling aggrieved parties in their ranks.