Ruling party says it remains unperturbed by APC/nPDP merger.
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said it was not perturbed by the merger of its breakaway faction, “New PDP” and the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, saying it would rid the party of detractors and distractions.
The party, however, said the meeting between President Goodluck Jonathan and the seven aggrieved governors would still hold at the Presidential Villa on Sunday.
The meeting was earlier billed for last Sunday.
The party said in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, on Tuesday that though it recognized the right of freedom of association for all Nigerians, by the open declaration for the APC by the members of the New PDP, they had unveiled their true intent which most Nigerians had suspected.
The New PDP, or nPDP, also called the Kawu Baraje faction, and the APC announced their merger in Abuja on Tuesday after a meeting that lasted about three hours at the Kano State Governor’s Lodge, Abuja.
The two groups said they agreed to merge “in order to rescue our fledgling democracy and the nation.”
Seven governors elected on the platform of the PDP belonged to the splinter group. They are Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Musa Kwankwaso (Kano), Chubuike Amaechi (Rivers), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Babangida Aliyu (Niger).
Only Mr. Aliyu has so far formally dissociated himself from the merger, insisting that he remained a member of the PDP.
The PDP said the factional members had chosen to abandon a broad based national platform like the PDP to embrace a narrow group of ethnic and religious bigots whose main intention was to unleash a state of anarchy on Nigeria.
“We wish to state categorically that the PDP remains unperturbed as we are now rid of detractors and distractions. We urge all our members nationwide to remain focused and close ranks, now that agents of distraction have finally left our ranks,” it added.
The PDP reminded its members that there were no factions whatsoever in the party, stressing that in the eyes of the law, the party remained one and an indivisible entity under the leadership of Bamanga Tukur, its national chairman.
The party commended the decision of some of the aggrieved governors to dissociate themselves from the merger, adding “We assure all Nigerians that the PDP will continue to grow from strength to strength and will definitely emerge stronger from this event.”
It also stated that that the peace process initiated by President Goodluck Jonathan was still on course just as it expressed gratitude to the president for “his his patience, humility and spirit of accommodation.”
The party also assured its supporters that its doors remained open to address all grievances, but warned that it would not condone any acts of internal subversion from any quarters.
“The beauty of Democracy is that in a political party system, some members are bound to leave while others come in,” the PDP stated.
Reacting earlier to the merger, the National Secretary of the PDP, Wale Oladipo said the merger of the party’s splinter group and the APC would soon collapse.
He, however, expressed joy that it would now govern the country without the factional members sabotaging its efforts.
Mr. Oladipo told journalists in Abuja that by the time the party was given another mandate in 2015, those governors and others who left for the APC would beg to return.
He said, “I am assuring you that come May 29, 2015, when the good people of this country would have given us authority again to continue in the transformation agenda till 2019, many of these people will come knocking again. And like the democrats that we are, we will welcome them with open hands.”
The PDP National Secretary, who said the National Chairman of the party, Bamanga Tukur, would make an elaborate statement on the development, stated that the leadership of the ruling party had always suspected that the rebel governors were up to something when they instigated the raging crisis in it.
He, however expressed relief at the development, saying the `party could now sit down without enemies from within sabotaging its efforts on how to continue to give qualitative service to Nigerians.”
According to him, the PDP would not lose much with the exit of the G7 governors, noting that the party could remember the states where President Goodluck Jonathan was not voted for during the 2011 presidential election even though the party’s governors were ruling those states.
“So, if such a person decides to move away your situation would not be worse than before,” Mr. Oladipo said.
“I believe that the PDP as a whole can now focus on our genuine members, on committed leaders and move ahead and fight the battle of 2015 if and when our president decides to signify his intention to run.
“As long as this president is desirous of running and Nigerians want him to run, and I know they want him to run, I can assure you that the incidence of today will not in any way affect his chances.”
Mr. Oladipo said with the development, multi-party system was taking its root in the country, adding that it was the PDP that provided the environment.
“This is just a manifestation of the very fertile environment that we as a party have brought into the Nigeria political environment,” he said.
“Multi-party democracy is now entrenched in our nation and everyone is free to take advantage of this and move to any political party where they believe their political interest would best be served.’’
The national secretary also said that the APC members were still exercising their freedom of association that the ruling party’s government entrenched in the country in the past 14 years.
Stating that tolerance was the bedrock of democracy and the PDP had allowed the opposition to operate freely, Mr. Oladipo, however said the party was still in doubt “if in any of the states governed by these rebels a group of local chairmen can ever be allowed to come together and start negotiating with opposition.”
He congratulated President Goodluck Jonathan for ensuring that basic political freedom was guaranteed to all Nigerians irrespective of their stature in life.
Mr. Oladipo, who admitted that the last four months had been challenging for the party, noted that in spite of the challenges, Mr. Jonathan had effectively weathered the storm.
He said, “He has weathered the storm admirably, he has negotiated with these people even many within the party felt that they already have an opinion of where they wanted to go and it was so obvious.
“The president had graciously given them a very long rope to pull.”
Mr. Oladipo, who hails from Osun State in the South Western zone of the country, expressed happiness that the rebellion in the PDP did not find a foothold in the zone.
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