Barely two weeks to Nigeria's presidential election, what can best be described as high-wire politics is playing out in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (#PDP), with about eight of its governors now in a secret alliance with sections of the leadership of the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (#APC), reports Saturday Sun.
Saturday Sun gathered that the PDP governors went into the alliance in their individual capacity and not as a group in order to get the sympathy or soft landing from the leadership of the opposition party should power change hands after the February 14 elections.
According to an impeccable source close to one of the affected governors, "the political climate is so cloudy and hazy that the leadership of our party (PDP) is not showing any sign of confidence that we can win the coming elections, especially the presidential election. The wise thing any smart PDP governor can do in this circumstance is to play safe and have a kind of working understanding with the leadership of the opposition party (APC) so that if power eventually goes to them, one can actually feel safe and welcome in case there is the need to change political platform immediately."
Some of the governors, it was learnt went into the secret pact after the national leadership of PDP denied them control of the party&39;s structures in their states and as a result, their hopes to pick their successors and equally go to the senate were dashed. Others, it was further learnt, had to go into the partnership to save face after discovering that #Buhari has huge following in their states.
The PDP had, in November 2013, lost five of its governors, in a major political earthquake, to the APC. The PDP governors that defected to the APC then were Mr. Chibuike Amaechi (#Rivers), Alhaji Ahmed Abdulfatah (Kwara), Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano), Alhaji Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), and Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto).
Two other governors — Dr. Mu&39;azu Babangida Aliyu (Niger) and Alhaji Sule Lamido (Jigawa) — declined to move with their colleagues to the opposition party after they had shown initial signs of defection.
Over a year later, eight more governors who appear disenchanted with the party may not be defecting formally but might be working to mobilize votes for the APC presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari instead of the PDP flagbearer, #President Goodluck Jonathan.
According to some details of the alliance, while some of the eight governors agreed to mobilize total support for Buhari, which will get him majority of total votes cast in their states, others are working on giving minimum backing which will enable the APC candidate to secure the required 25 per cent of total votes cast in their states.
Saturday Sun gathered that two of the governors in the alliance are in the South South region, two in the South East, two in North East and two in North Central. An indication that all is still not well within the PDP emerged last week when the Deputy Governor of Niger #State, Alhaji Ahmed Ibeto, and over 200 political office holders defected from the ruling PDP to the APC.
Announcing his defection to newsmen in Minna on Monday last week, Ibeto said: "I am on my way to welcome our party leader and presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, at Minna airport for his campaign rally in Niger State."
One of the governors from a northern state, who justified the support he may be giving Buhari at the polls, told Saturday Sun: "Whatever support my people and I will give Gen. Buhari is informed by the reality on ground in this part of the country. There is no need denying the fact that Buhari is a phenomenon in the North and his kind of followership is fanatical. To secure this state from any post-election violence and the anger of our people, we have to be seen as supporting Buhari even though we are in different political parties. The situation is also not made easy for us at the state level because of these Abuja politicians who stay there and tell the president different lies which prevent him from knowing the truth about the reality on ground."
When contacted to have his view on the secret alliance, National Publicity Secretary of APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed neither denied nor confirmed the development. "I am not personally involved in such talks but I can tell you we are getting enormous support from every stratum of the society and in this case, every support that will give effect to the change the nation so much needs at this critical time is a patriotic effort", he added.
Dismissing this as a ruse, National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh denied any deal between aggrieved PDP governors and APC leadership to ensure victory for Buhari.
Speaking with Saturday Sun on phone, Metuh stated that the idea was being orchestrated by what he called the APC propaganda machinery.
"We don&39;t engage in wishful thinking. We don&39;t indulge in falsehood or propaganda. Even some of our governors that lost senatorial tickets are working with us. All our governors are with us. So, how can they do a deal with APC? We challenge them to mention our governors working against us, publicly. It is APC&39;s wishful thinking", he argued.
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