* Woos 44 aggrieved APC senators
* Jonahtan, Wike Congratulate PDP new leaders
* Elections credible, says Wike
By Ismail Omipidan
Strong indications emerged, yesterday that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is not leaving anything to chance in plot against the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), ahead of the 2019 presidential election.
As part of strategies to dislodge the APC, the PDP, after its Saturday’s national convention, which produced Prince Uche Secondus, has begun shopping for aspirants that could give Buhari a good fight.
In the chairmanship election, at the just concluded national convention, Secondus, with the strong backing of PDP governors, polled over 2,000 votes to beat his closest rival, Prof. Tunde Adeniran ,who had 230 votes. Raymond Dokpesi came third with 66 votes, while Taoheed Adedoja got no vote.
Other contenders, including Gbenga Daniel, Jimi Agbaje, Bode George and Rasheed Ladoja pulled out of the race at the eleventh hour. A source, who incidentally is of the APC, but who is also desirous of leaving the party in the first quarter of next year, disclosed that one of the presidential aspirants in the PDP already has about five retired army generals backing him. One of the names being touted is that of a man who Daily Sun is aware has been backing President Muhammadu Buhari’s bid financially since 2003. He was, however, quick to add that the man, like the four other generals, were already “disenchanted with Buhari, and as such want him out.”
Two of the retired army generals, Daily Sun gathered, were part of those who plotted Buhari’s ouster as a military Head of State in 1985.
The source believed that Buhari is also losing it, even with the masses in the north.
The source said: “The masses in the North supported Buhari because they believed he will come and lock up the big men. You know an average Talakawa sees a big man as a thief; so they believed Buhari would come and help them deal with the ‘thieves.’ But today, what do we have? The masses are hungry and Buhari himself is surrounded by people the masses believe are dirty. So, if the PDP gets its right, and field a strong candidate that will break Kano and Kaduna votes, Buhari will be defeated hands down.
“I can tell you that about 44 senators are aggrieved over the way the APC governors sat down in the comfort of their offices to write names of persons during the July congress election to elect delegates. And the national leadership of the party is not showing any serious sign at addressing the issues. I will not be surprised if these 44 senators leave the party.”
Speaking on the plots to sack the APC in 2019, a member of the PDP’s Board of Trustees (BoT) told Daily Sun that apart from working on the aggrieved lawmakers from the APC, some of the party stakeholders from the North are already trying to see if they could get a “neutral” person other than the already known names that have since indicated interest to run against Buhari.
He said: “So far, we have secured commitment from 10 out of the 44 aggrieved senators from the APC. There are also some from the House of Representatives, but I am not too sure of the number now. We are still working on the remaining 34 senators.
“But apart from that, we are also looking at how we can source for a neutral presidential candidate outside the ones you and I already know. We are working on a number of persons and at the appropriate time, we will unveil our choice. What I want our people to focus on is how to send these APC people packing. Therefore, we must be united on that.”
Jonathan, Wike congratulate PDP new leaders
• Elections credible, says Rivers governor
From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has congratulated the newly-elected national officers of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and urged them to seek to carry everyone along and reposition the party.
In a statement by his spokesperson, Mr. Ikechukwu Eze, yesterday, the former president also urged members of the party to make sacrifices, and added that the only way to achieve the party’s goals and aspirations is to unite as members of one political family.
“I congratulate the newly-elected members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of our great party, led by Prince Uche Secondus and wish them a successful tenure as they seek to reposition our great party.
“I reiterate that the only way to prove that this is victory for the PDP and all our members is for the new leaders to be magnanimous and aim to carry everybody along, for we cannot achieve our mission and aspirations, unless we unite as a family.
“To the rest of us, let us make sacrifices, put our differences behind us and accept this as a new dawn that will take our party to greater heights.”
In a related development, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has congratulated Secondus and NWC members on a well-deserved victory.
Wike assured the party would be re-positioned for greater service to the country. He said Secondus emerged through a credible process which would further strengthen the bonds of unity in the party.
The governor noted that Secondus came into leadership with a track record of service and loyalty to the party, pointing out that the new party chairman and his executive committee would rebuild the PDP.
Wike described last Saturday’s convention as transparent, with a credible voting process.
He said PDP has been repositioned to serve as credible opposition against the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
“This election has been quite credible. It has been very transparent, done in the full glare of the world. We are prepared to be an opposition, as expected to the ruling party come 2019.”
On those who are still criticising the process, Wike expressed surprise that anyone would fault the process which created room for the exhibition of true democracy.
“If you have not done your homework well, you come forward to cry foul. It is surprising that even an election as organised as this, somebody will still cry.
“You have an examination and you don’t prepare but you expect to win,” Wike said.
Meanwhile, former governor of the state, Dr. Peter Odili and Wike led delegates from Rivers to vote in the hitch-free elections at the weekend, at the Eagle Square, in Abuja.
Rivers’ delegates included former ministers, members of the National Assembly, House of Assembly as well as national delegates. (The Sun)