The leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has met with the 22 aggrieved Akwa Ibom Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governorship aspirants, persuading them to join the APC, PREMIUM TIMES has been informed.
APC chieftains, including former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, and the Rivers State Governor and Director-General of Buhari Campaign Organisation, Rotimi Amaechi, met with the aspirants, otherwise known as G-22, on Monday, members of the group and APC sources confirmed.
The APC governorship candidate from Akwa Ibom State, Umana Umana, also held talks with the group at its temporary office in Maitama, Abuja.
A member of the group told PREMIUM TIMES in confidence that the APC leaders have been mounting pressure to get them to defect to the party.
“The APC leaders have been meeting with us here in Abuja and trying to woo us to join them ahead of the February elections,” the source said.
“Already, we have met with Bola Tinubu, Governor Rotimi Amaechi and the APC candidate back home, Mr. Umana Okon Umana.”
Asked whether the group has finally decided to dump the PDP for the APC, the source said they were still holding consultations with the concerned leaders and elders from Akwa Ibom state and would reach a decision on Tuesday.
The 22 politicians had on Thursday threatened to dump the PDP if their grievances are not addressed by Saturday.
They accuse the PDP and the Akwa Ibom state governor, Godswill Akpabio, of hijacking the party’s governorship primaries of December 2014, to favour Mr. Akpabio’s anointed candidate, Udom Emmanuel.
Members of the group said the list of delegates used for the election was doctored and not known to the party.
At a meeting with the Akwa Ibom State caucus in the Senate, the leader of the group and former deputy governor of the state, Nsima Ekere, had accused Mr. Akpabio of making himself the unofficial campaign manager of the opposition political parties through his actions.
“There was no accreditation of candidates in line with the party guidelines for the primaries,” Mr. Ekere said.
“The list of delegates used for the National and State Assembly elections were different from that of the governorship. A lot of statutory delegates were substituted with the names of those who were not accredited, but were ready to collect N1million from the governor and vote his candidate.”
Mr. Ekere had also urged President Goodluck Jonathan to urgently intervene in the crisis in Akwa Ibom, as any attempt to ignore the group’s demand for equity, justice and fairness might cost him and PDP the victory during the forthcoming elections in the state.
The former deputy governor said his group is afraid that the PDP would lose Akwa Ibom State if a credible candidate that is acceptable by the people is not allowed to represent the party come February.
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