Following the ongoing crisis in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), two more governors have started defection talks with the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The governors might use the defection to curtail threats from APC in their states.
The APC leadership was said to be discussing some terms with the affected governors.
One of the terms is the control of party structure in order to secure a guarantee for their second term in office.
According to a source, who is involved in the preliminary talks, one of the governors is from the South while the other is a high profile governor from the Northwest, who is rumoured to have presidential ambition but now appears to have had a change of heart and views a second term as governor as a more attainable target, using the APC platform.
Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, hinted on Thursday that three PDP governors, namely those of Bauchi (Bala Mohammed), Enugu (Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi) and Oyo (Seyi Makinde) were planning to defect to the APC.
He made the declaration while he was being presented to President Muhammadu Buhari by the APC Caretaker Chairman Governor Mai Mala Buni, in Abuja.
However, Governor Ugwuanyi has since refuted the insinuation by Fani-Kayode that he was contemplating defection from PDP to APC.
Reacting to the insinuation while addressing journalists in Enugu yesterday, the Chairman of Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA), Dr Josef Onoh, described Fani-Kayode’s comment as “a figment of his imagination”, adding that Governor Ugwuanyi had no plan to leave the PDP.
Our source said the uncertainty in PDP ahead of preparations for 2023 poll was also making some Senators and members of the House of Representatives to look for alternative platforms.
The source said: “If the negotiation goes well as designed, two more PDP governors, some Senators and members of the House of Representatives will soon join the All Progressives Congress. The way the APC is coordinating and penetrating PDP, the party may end up as a carcass.
“The two governors include one from the North-East and another from the South. I don’t want to mention the second governor’s geopolitical zone in order not to jeopardise the ongoing talks.
“A respected governor is one of those trying to woo the two governors. I think the APC deal is timely for the two governors to checkmate the party’s opposition to PDP in their states.
“This is why the PDP governors have made the control of the party’s structure a condition for defecting to APC. They want to guarantee their second term ticket.”
There were indications that some Senators and members of the House of Representatives may join the two governors if the defection pact sails through.
A senator from one of the affected states said: “I have got wind of the ongoing talks. If my governor thinks that is the best, I will follow him. We work as a team.”
Meanwhile, there were conflicting signals on where PDP is headed on its zoning formula for 2023 elections.
The party’s zoning committee is being led by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State.
The report of the committee will determine the shape of the National Convention of PDP in October and its presidential ticket for 2023 poll.
But while the committee has set out to work, it was learnt that some Northern PDP leaders have been pushing for the retention of the party’s ticket in their region.
They claimed that the 2023 poll is winnable for PDP with a strong Northern candidate.
They said it will be better to erode the 12 million voting strength of the APC in the North than to fail again at the next poll.
But some Southern governors and PDP leaders believe power should shift to the South in 2023.
They aligned themselves with the position of the Southern governors on Thursday in Enugu.
A third force in the party wants all slots thrown open, especially the presidential slot, to allow the best to emerge.
A member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of PDP said: “Zoning is a major headache for the party. We have three tendencies in the party. The North is seeking the slot after eight years in power; the South is desperate for power shift; and we have a section of PDP, which is asking us to throw open all offices.
“We are all looking forward to Governor Ugwuanyi committee which some of us see as an afterthought to douse tension in the party. PDP is in custody of a report by Governor Bala Mohammed and we ought to build only on the panel’s recommendations.”
Findings confirmed that the confusion in the party accounted for alleged hide and seek game by some of its governors and leaders.
It was gathered that while Governor Nyesom Wike has been linked with a presidential aspiration, he is also said to be interested in the VP slot as a Plan B.
Others, who are allegedly interested in the office of the Vice President in 2023 include ex-Governor Peter Obi, ex-Deputy President of the Senate Senator Ike Ekweremadu and some PDP governors who will complete second term in office by the next general election.
“The lobby for VP ticket is more pronounced and profound among PDP governors and leaders from the South than any part of the country.
“Some of us are wondering whether or not these leaders are committed to power shift to the South in 2023,” a former governor said.
FG declares public holiday to mark Eid-ul-Mawlud
The Federal Government has declared October 19 as a public holiday in commemoration of the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Shuaib Belgore, on Friday.
The statement stated that the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, made the declaration on behalf of the Federal Government.
Aregbesola congratulated all Nigerian Muslim faithful, both at home and in the diaspora, on the occasion of Eid-ul-Mawlud.
He admonished Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of love, patience and perseverance which were the virtues of the Holy Prophet, as doing so would guarantee peace and security in the country.
The minister enjoined Nigerians, particularly Muslims, to refrain from violence, lawlessness and other acts of criminality.
“As the indisputable leader of our race, we (Nigerians) must show responsible leadership in Africa,” he said.
Aregbesola called on Nigerians to refrain from all divisive tendencies capable of causing crisis in the country.
He also urged Nigerians and the youth in particular, to embrace the virtues of hard work and peaceful disposition to fellow humans.
“Irrespective of faith, ideology, social class and ethnicity I urge you to cooperate with President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in its effort to build a progressive and enviable nation that all citizens would be proud of,” he said.
FG establishing oxygen plants in 36 states – NEC
The National Economic Council (NEC) says the Ministry of Health is establishing oxygen plants across the 36 states of the federation.
Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi made this known to State House correspondents after a virtual NEC meeting on Friday presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Umahi said that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, who chaired the NEC Ad hoc committee interfacing with the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to ease the lockdown of the economy, presented a report to the council.
“The Federal Ministry of Health is establishing oxygen plants across the 36 states in the country, but currently six states have been provided with oxygen cylinders so far.
“The Federal Government has paid for 40 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines coming in batches and therefore a considerable amount of the vaccines will come into the country between now and January 2022. Nigeria is now classified among the 50 countries in the green zones.”
Umahi said that NEC also received states’ performance report on COVID-19 from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
He said that the council was also updated on the global situation of COVID-19.
He said, “Over 237 million confirmed cases and over 4.8 million deaths due to COVID-19. There are now over 6.3 billion vaccine doses administered. Nigeria is still in the first wave of vaccination and vaccination tools will improve as the country receives additional vaccines. COVID-19 cases have declined by 7.5 per cent over the last week.”
Umahi said that states were urged to continue to push testing activities in order to detect new cases before the situation worsened.
According to him, an update on travel restrictions on certain countries expected to be announced soon by the Federal Government.
The governor said that the council also received an update on the situation regarding Cholera outbreak.
“Current Cholera situation in the country; suspected number of cases is 88,704. Number of states is 31 and the FCT. Number of deaths is 3,208.
“Multi-sectoral emergency operation centres activated at level 2 continues to coordinate the national response,” he said.
He listed the challenges to include difficulty in accessing some communities due to insecurity, open defecation and lack of potable drinking water.
Umahi said other challenges were lack of basic health primary healthcare infrastructure, inadequate health facility and cholera commodities for case management.
Umahi said that NEC commended the insightful presentations and congratulated the outgoing Director-General of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, on his new appointment at the WHO and also welcomed the incoming Director-General, Dr Ifedayo Morayo Adetifa.
Bakare meets with Buhari, opposes clamour for power rotation
Founder of Citadel Global Community Church, Tunde Bakare, says the region to produce the president of Nigeria should not be an issue.
He stated this in Abuja on Friday during an interaction with reporters at the presidential villa after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari, noting that Nigerians are only bothered about a leader that would ensure the prosperity of the country.
The pastor said the “immaturity” of the citizens is responsible for “making us say power must either be in the North or be in the South, instead of looking for the best.
“Listen to me, if where the President comes from will make the place he has come from to be better, the northern part of Nigeria should be richest and the most progressive and the most developed because out of 61 years, the North has produced either the President or heads of state for 40 to 41 years and yet, see the retrogression in the North.
“If it’s from the South, why should a person like President Obasanjo freeze and seize the account of Lagos State in his own tenure? If it’s from South-South or South-East, why couldn’t President Jonathan use all his powers to develop South-South/South-East?
“If there are agreements between politicians on rotation, a bargain is a bargain. That is between them. But as far as this country is concerned, what we need at this stage is a man who can drive us to the Eldorado.”
The pastor commended the national assembly for empowering the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to determine the mode of transmitting election results.
“Perhaps one of the best things the present national assembly has done, especially the senate, because, with that, Nigerians can vote and then results can be transmitted so easily,” he said.
“Not only that, part of the state of the nation address that I did on October 10, I emphasised how Nigeria youth, especially undergraduates, are disenfranchised in our country.”
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