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2019: Defections meant to strengthen us – PDP

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…Government officials in talks with Contact Committee
…Presidential Candidate to be decided by party delegates

By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA-The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has dismissed insinuations in some quarters that the recent wave of defections into the party may sow seeds of discord within its ranks, nothing that the PDP has further been strengthen with the return of some highly profile defectors last week.

The party further claimed that talks have continued not only with prominent members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) but also with serving cabinet members of the President Muhammadu Buhari government who are only waiting “for the right time to do the needful.”

In an exclusive chat with Sunday Vanguard yesterday, the largest opposition party also allayed possible fears of friction within its ranks following last week defection of Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Governor Aminu Tambuwal, the latter believed to be nursing a Presidential ambition.

Clarifying the party’s position yesterday, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan told our correspondent that party’s delegate to the Presidential primary election, would determine the emergence of the candidate, insisting that the PDP has no preferred candidate among those that have declared their interest and those yet to do so.

“We told Nigerians sometimes ago that members of the APC were on their way to joining us in the PDP and that is now happening. This will only make us stronger because politics is a game of numbers.

“Let me also add that some of them are talking with our Contact and Integration Committee and these are not just members of the ruling party but lawmakers in both the Senate and House of Representatives. Our rebranded platform is now attractive to leaders across board including some serving cabinet members of the APC-led government.

“On the issue of possible rift over the President ticket, the party has always stated that it has no preferred candidate either among those who have declared their intents or those likely to join the race.

“Unlike the APC, the PDP is a democratic party in name and actions. We have charged them (aspirants) to talk to Nigerians and avail them of their plans for the people. At the end, the delegates will decide who emerges as our flag bearer in the 2019 Presidential election,” he stated.

Last week, Governors Samuel Ortom and Aminu Tambuwal of Benue and Sokoto states respectively rejoined the PDP alongside a good number of their respective States House of Assembly members but Ologbondiyan stressed that more states are about to do same.

“It is not only the states you mentioned (Benue and Sokoto) that are the issue here. Members of assemblies of other states would soon come on board in the rescue Nigeria Project.

” Everywhere you turn, the story is the same. Nigerians are crying; they are dying of frustration and hunger. So, what is happening today (defections) is not about the PDP, it is about Nigeria,” he added.

The return of Governor Tambuwal to PDP has continued to generate diverse reactions with many suggesting that the party’s Presidential ticket is his to pick. Although, yet to make a public statement on his post 2019 future, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives is believed to be the anointed choice of top power brokers in the country, including prominent traditional and religious leaders.

However, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP led by Prince Uche Secondus insists the power to pick the Presidential candidate is beyond it or any other organ of the party. Imposition and Impunity, Secondus has warned virtually every week, would no longer be associated with the PDP.

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