Niyi Odebode, John Alechenu and Olusola Fabiyi
The ruling All Progressives Congress has begun moves to woo some members of the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party, Saturday PUNCH has learnt.
It was learnt on Friday that some former members of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party and the Congress for Progressive Change might cross over to the APC in what appears to be a realignment of political forces.
Sources in the APC told Saturday PUNCH that the former members of the defunct ANPP and CPC had become power brokers in the ruling party.
It was learnt that the discreet move to woo members of the Sheriff-led faction of the PDP was being spearheaded by some of the APC chieftains, who were formerly in the ANPP and the CPC.
Findings showed that some ex-members of the ANPP in the PDP were still sympathetic to President Muhammadu Buhari, who was the presidential candidate of the defunct party in 2003 and 2007.
It was learnt that the plan by the APC to poach some PDP members was hatched when the ruling party realised that it could no longer guarantee the loyalty of some of its members.
The APC currently has three power blocs, including a group of former governors of the PDP, who defected to the APC before the 2015 elections.
It was gathered that prominent members of this group include the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and a former Governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso.
Another power bloc is led by the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, which comprises former members of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria.
The third power bloc consists members of the defunct ANPP and the CPC.
Besides the APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, other prominent members of the party, who were formerly in the ANPP, include the National Secretary, Alhaji Mai Mala Buni; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal; the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, and his Oyo State counterpart, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
The power bloc was said to have played a prominent role in the party’s governorship primary in Ondo State, where a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), defeated the preferred candidate of Tinubu, Mr. Segun Abraham.
A top member of the APC, who confided in Saturday PUNCH, said that the party was aware that it would not be intact in 2019.
He said that some members of the APC, including Tinubu, were on their way out of the party, adding that they would be replaced by others.
The APC chieftain stated, “The Ondo State primary has shown that the party is not one. We are reaching out to some PDP members, particularly those in the Sheriff-led faction. Some of them are sympathic to our ideas.”
Attempts to get a reaction from the leadership of the APC were futile. Calls to the mobile telephone numbers of the party’s National Chairman, Odigie-Oyegun and Buni indicated that they were switched off.
The first set of calls was made between 3:15pm and 3:23pm while the subsequent ones were made at 7:29pm. Responses to text messages sent to them were still being awaited as of the time of filing this report. (Punch.ng.com)