Following the ongoing crisis in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), two more governors have started defection talks with the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The governors might use the defection to curtail threats from APC in their states.
The APC leadership was said to be discussing some terms with the affected governors.
One of the terms is the control of party structure in order to secure a guarantee for their second term in office.
According to a source, who is involved in the preliminary talks, one of the governors is from the South while the other is a high profile governor from the Northwest, who is rumoured to have presidential ambition but now appears to have had a change of heart and views a second term as governor as a more attainable target, using the APC platform.
Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, hinted on Thursday that three PDP governors, namely those of Bauchi (Bala Mohammed), Enugu (Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi) and Oyo (Seyi Makinde) were planning to defect to the APC.
He made the declaration while he was being presented to President Muhammadu Buhari by the APC Caretaker Chairman Governor Mai Mala Buni, in Abuja.
However, Governor Ugwuanyi has since refuted the insinuation by Fani-Kayode that he was contemplating defection from PDP to APC.
Reacting to the insinuation while addressing journalists in Enugu yesterday, the Chairman of Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA), Dr Josef Onoh, described Fani-Kayode’s comment as “a figment of his imagination”, adding that Governor Ugwuanyi had no plan to leave the PDP.
Our source said the uncertainty in PDP ahead of preparations for 2023 poll was also making some Senators and members of the House of Representatives to look for alternative platforms.
The source said: “If the negotiation goes well as designed, two more PDP governors, some Senators and members of the House of Representatives will soon join the All Progressives Congress. The way the APC is coordinating and penetrating PDP, the party may end up as a carcass.
“The two governors include one from the North-East and another from the South. I don’t want to mention the second governor’s geopolitical zone in order not to jeopardise the ongoing talks.
“A respected governor is one of those trying to woo the two governors. I think the APC deal is timely for the two governors to checkmate the party’s opposition to PDP in their states.
“This is why the PDP governors have made the control of the party’s structure a condition for defecting to APC. They want to guarantee their second term ticket.”
There were indications that some Senators and members of the House of Representatives may join the two governors if the defection pact sails through.
A senator from one of the affected states said: “I have got wind of the ongoing talks. If my governor thinks that is the best, I will follow him. We work as a team.”
Meanwhile, there were conflicting signals on where PDP is headed on its zoning formula for 2023 elections.
The party’s zoning committee is being led by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State.
The report of the committee will determine the shape of the National Convention of PDP in October and its presidential ticket for 2023 poll.
But while the committee has set out to work, it was learnt that some Northern PDP leaders have been pushing for the retention of the party’s ticket in their region.
They claimed that the 2023 poll is winnable for PDP with a strong Northern candidate.
They said it will be better to erode the 12 million voting strength of the APC in the North than to fail again at the next poll.
But some Southern governors and PDP leaders believe power should shift to the South in 2023.
They aligned themselves with the position of the Southern governors on Thursday in Enugu.
A third force in the party wants all slots thrown open, especially the presidential slot, to allow the best to emerge.
A member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of PDP said: “Zoning is a major headache for the party. We have three tendencies in the party. The North is seeking the slot after eight years in power; the South is desperate for power shift; and we have a section of PDP, which is asking us to throw open all offices.
“We are all looking forward to Governor Ugwuanyi committee which some of us see as an afterthought to douse tension in the party. PDP is in custody of a report by Governor Bala Mohammed and we ought to build only on the panel’s recommendations.”
Findings confirmed that the confusion in the party accounted for alleged hide and seek game by some of its governors and leaders.
It was gathered that while Governor Nyesom Wike has been linked with a presidential aspiration, he is also said to be interested in the VP slot as a Plan B.
Others, who are allegedly interested in the office of the Vice President in 2023 include ex-Governor Peter Obi, ex-Deputy President of the Senate Senator Ike Ekweremadu and some PDP governors who will complete second term in office by the next general election.
“The lobby for VP ticket is more pronounced and profound among PDP governors and leaders from the South than any part of the country.
“Some of us are wondering whether or not these leaders are committed to power shift to the South in 2023,” a former governor said.
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