Exclusive: Four Southern Governors Perfect Moves To Dump Pdp For Apc
BEVERLY HILLS, January 30, (THEWILL) – The gale of defections buffeting the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is about to get worse as four governors elected on the platform of the party have made overtures to defect to the ruling All Progressives Party, APC.
THEWILL learnt from authoritative sources in the APC that the governors include: Governors Emmanuel Udom, Dave Umahi, Ifeanyi Okowa and Olusegun Mimiko of Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Delta and Ondo states respectively.
The quartet except Mimiko, whose tenure ends next month, are still serving out their first term and can seek re-election in 2019. Their moves may not be unconnected with the ambition to secure their continuation in office for a second term.
THEWILL gathered that the plan by the governors remains on the front burner despite a recent warning by Chairman of the PDP National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi that members leaving for the APC would soon begin to regret their actions.
Speaking at a late night meeting of the PDP Governors' Forum and the National Assembly caucus held at the private residence of the Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose in Abuja, Makarfi argued that the PDP was not divided and that it would soon bounce back to reckoning.
“May I use this opportunity to tell those who are running helter-skelter for one reason or the other and saying that they are cross-carpeting, that there is no division in the PDP. It is unfortunate but they will pay a political price for making such decision,” said the former Kaduna governor.
All is definitely not well between Udom and his predecessor and political benefactor, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who is presently the minority leader at the senate, THEWILL can authoritatively report.
The cold war between Udom and Akpabio has been brewing for a while since the former started making subtle moves to assert himself in the state as a political force which culminated in last year's dissolution of the state cabinet which was largely dominated by Akpabio's nominees.
Authoritative sources at the ruling party told our correspondent that Udom has in the past few weeks met covertly at least twice with a very high ranking executive of the APC, where his defection to the party was the main agenda. It is not clear when Udom will formally break ranks with Akpabio and eventually defect but “the first step in his bid has seen the Senator representing his senatorial district, Akwa Ibom South, Senator Nelson Effiong defect to the APC, citing the internal crisis in the party”.
Reacting immediately, the PDP leader in the Senate and former Akwa Ibom governor, Senator Akpabio argued that Effiong should automatically lose his seat since he became a senator through the PDP platform. He maintained that the PDP will challenge the defection in court.
That the Ebonyi governor will defect to the APC is certain, the only question is when that will happen.
Recall that Umahi had openly said he would support the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari, stating that the President has already won the support of PDP controlled Ebonyi state, in case he plans to run in 2019. He assured that Ebonyi people will vote for him.
Our source said Umahi has already held meetings with the same top official of the APC to discuss and perfect his defection move.
THEWILL can also report that Governor Okowa is equally mulling defecting to the APC to get the backing of the party which controls the federal government and has held talks with the same top official of the ruling party.
Okowa popularity is waning in the state due to a couple of unfriendly policies, allegations of tribalism, retrenchment of workers and backlogs of unpaid salaries at the local government. There are also allegations that he is doing all the major contracts in the state through proxies.
THEWILL correspondent learnt that the Governor has at least twice in the company of a serving Minister from the South-South met with the same top official of the APC to discuss crossing over to the ruling party.