The registration of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is said to be causing worries within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the development caught the ruling party unawares.
The Presidency as well as the national leadership of the PDP were said to be in the dark until the last moment, which is surprising, considering the new party is said to be floated by some highly placed members of the PDP.
A newspaper report on the impending registration of the PDM and the identity of the persons behind it last week was said to have jolted the powers-that-be even though they did not believe it until the announcement was made by INEC.
A highly placed member of the PDP who spoke on the condition of anonymity, on Sunday said the party will on Wednesday contact its members touted to be the brains behind the new party, with a view to probing their alleged involvement in the act considered as “unforgivable sin.”
The source further disclosed that at an emergency meeting held on Saturday night in Abuja by some party stakeholders, a common position was taken that PDP should take a very strong stand against the “great betrayal” by those who have benefitted heavily from the party, but who have turned round to “stab it in the back.”
“Believe me, we were caught unawares. I personally discussed the newspaper story of Thursday with some of my friends who dismissed it with a wave of the hand as a mere agenda setting story published by the newspaper to draw attention to itself,” one of the party leaders who wants to remain anonymous since the party has not come out with a position, said.
He continued: “However, more confusion set in when I saw the immediate response of the media team of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar same day which while trying to deny the alleged involvement of Turaki Adamawa in the coup against PDP, merely confirmed that PDM has actually commenced moves at becoming a political party.
“Before we could say Jack Robinson, INEC pronounced PDM registered even when we were looking for the best means of looking into how the alleged sponsors of the new party could be called to a meeting where their grievances could be amicably discussed and resolved.
“I am not the spokesperson of PDP, but I can tell you that any member of PDP who is found to be involved in this coup will pay dearly for it.
“This is an act of betrayal of the highest order. We have APC to deal with and now this?
“I’m sure nobody in his right senses will, as a member of PDP, ask the party to exercise restraint in dealing with anyone found to be behind this,” the source said.
It was gathered that the issue of the PDM registration has already made the agenda for discussion at the meeting of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party which is expected to hold on Wednesday.
A source at the party secretariat in Abuja told this correspondent on Sunday that some of the interim NWC members of the party unusually showed up on Saturday, possibly to strategise on the next line of action to be taken in resolving the PDM challenge.
The PDP is clearly not comfortable with the boldness being displayed by the new party, as it showed clearly that those who were behind it were actually members of PDP.
Only last week, three of the five aggrieved Governors of the party who had openly showed opposition to President Goodluck Jonathan were at the home of the National Chairman of the party, Bamanga Tukur, to make peace after the intervention of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The names of the five Governors featured prominently in the list of sponsors behind the PDM.
Reacting to the development, Lagos State Chairman of PDP, Tunji Shelle, said the PDM can only succeed if its intention is to transform Nigeria and make it a better place to live.
He added that the party may crumble in no distant time if its sole aim is to gang up against Jonathan or seek to acquire power at all cost.
He said he was not surprised at the emergence of the party because many mushroom parties will spring up, especially when the general election is approaching.
He, however, believes that many of the key players in the parties will find their way back to the PDP soon.
“At times like this when you expect general elections to come, you will see so many shapes of characters and shades of people coming together to change a possible equation. So, they are only trying their luck.
“Nobody is against them because the more, the merrier in politics. But we want quality people,” Shelle said.
Renowned constitutional lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Itse Sagay, also observed on Sunday that the emergence of the PDM is of paramount significance because it will change the dynamics of politics in the country, especially in the North, as the country moves towards the 2015 general elections.
While admitting that the impact of the party will only be felt in the North, Sagay noted that PDM’s emergence will lead to splitting of votes in the region, as no single party will amass majority votes during the 2015 polls.
He added that any political party the PDM collaborates with, either PDP or APC, will garner the highest votes in the North, adding though that it is unlikely the party will partner with PDP.
“That is a very difficult question because, one, the impact of that party will only be felt in the North and not in the South. So, the question we are going to ask is, ‘how does it affect the potential power of the APC in the North and how does it affect the existing power of the PDP in the North also?’
“That is the question that we need to answer because already if you look at the APC from all permutations it is likely to take the northern votes.
“And PDP also has strongholds there. In effect, what I see is that it is going to create splitting of votes in the North. In other words, the northern votes will be scattered independently.
“Also, if the PDM collaborates with any of these two, then that group will dominate. If it decides to cooperate with APC, then APC will dominate the PDP.
“And if it cooperates with the PDP, which I doubt, then PDP will triumph. I think that is the main impact the PDM is going to have. Any party it cooperates with will control northern votes,” Sagay added.