The Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, has fired the latest salvo in its war of words with the yet-to-be-registered All Progressives’ Congress, with the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, describing the APC as a secret cult due to the way it is operated.
Tukur, while speaking to journalists at an interactive session in Abuja on Wednesday, said:
“Most of the people in APC now are original members of the PDP and I can assure you that we have commenced talks to bring them back to where they originally belonged, which is the PDP.
“They are coming back, because some of them have told me that their aspirations may not be met in the APC because of the burning ambitions of some individual members. They don’t want a party that is being run like a cult.”
This brought a rebuttal from the spokesperson of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, which is one of the parties promoting the APC, Mr Rotimi Fashakin, who called the PDP an empire of lies.
“The PDP is an empire of lies, a network filled with deceit of the people. When people leave PDP, it is difficult to go back. If a former Vice-President left the PDP and since his return it has been a struggle to win even his ward, you know which party is being run like a cult. Is it the APC or the PDP?” Fashakin asked.
Tukur also said that with the merger of the Action Congress of Nigeria, the All Nigeria Peoples’ Party, the Congress for Progressive Change and a faction of the All Progressives’ Grand Alliance to form the APC, the country was going to be left with a two-party system containing the PDP and the APC.
He also defended the second term ambition of President Goodluck Jonathan, saying he had every right to contest on PDP’s platform.
“It (the President’s ambition) is in order in politics. Jonathan is the president under our party and what is wrong if he decides to run? The others have the same opportunity to promote their candidate if they have,” Tukur said.
Jonathan’s quest for a second term has generated controversy following the revelation that he allegedly signed a pact with some governors to serve for only one term.
Meanwhile, the Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu, who made public the secret pact between Jonathan and the governors, yesterday alleged that there was a plot to silence him by pasting posters in Abuja with his portrait, saying he was running for president in 2015.
Speaking through his spokesperson, Danladi Ndayebo, he said that the plot was to pit him against the leadership of the PDP which has placed an embargo on campaigning.
Curiously, 2015 campaign posters of Jonathan resurfaced in the Federal Capital Territory early in the week. The Presidency had accused the President’s detractors as sponsors of similar campaign posters that flooded Abuja during the Christmas/New Year season.
Tukur has also denied insinuations that the PDP floated the PDP Governors’ Forum in order to facilitate Jonathan’s election in 2015 by weakening the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF.
“The Governors’ Forum isn’t the platform for electing candidates; we have our own system.
“We may not share the same position on the formation of PDP Governors’ Forum. Our intention, as a party is that we want our governors to come together. I see the NGF as very important.”
He also insisted that the President and the party were not the instigators of attempts to remove the chairman of the NGF, Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State.
“No, we aren’t behind it. They (the governors) have an arrangement of two- year tenure for their chairman. So, neither the party leadership, nor Mr. President is against Amaechi or whoever they elect as their leader for the NGF.”
He said that those who were criticizing the NGF calling it a threat to democracy were free to do so, but that was not an opinion of his.
Tukur also revealed that his party had opened discussing with PDP former members, who are now in the APC.
Although he declined to name those the party was making efforts to bring back to the fold, he said he was sure that they would abandon the yet-to-be registered political party and return to the PDP.
He said that recalling ex-PDP members in the APC was a strategy being employed to weaken the opposition in the 2015 poll.