President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to meet on Monday with members of the new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP), a faction which broke away from the PDP before the 2015 elections and joined the All Progressives COngress (APC).
The negotiation meeting is expected to determine whether members of that faction which was subsumed in the APC would remain within the party or defect.
Important point: Only yesterday, the police invited the senate president Bukola Saraki for questioning concerning some criminal cases. Considering that Saraki is a major player within the nPDP, it remains to be seen whether the members would go ahead with the planned meeting on Monday.
According to a report by Thisday, the nPDP is making certain demands as conditions for their continued stay in the ruling party. All of the demands in the report have one thing in common – they are all about the private interests of the politicians in the faction. There does not seem to be any conflict with the government on issues, ideology or performance.
- They want automatic ticket for Saraki to contest as candidate in his constituency. If he wins reelection and the APC retains its majority in the senate, they want him to return as senate president in 2019.
- They want the same courtesy extended to the speaker of the House of Representatives. An automatic ticket and retention of the speakership. The argument is that since Buhari is expected to have an automatic ticket, then the principal officers of the national assembly should get it as well. “Since the party has more or less agreed to give the president automatic ticket to fly the party’s flag during next year’s presidential election, the nPDP wants similar treatment for principal leaders of the National Assembly,” a source told the paper.
- They are also demanding automatic tickets for some other members of their faction including the governors of Benue and Sokoto, Samuel Ortom and Aminu Tambuwal, as well as the former governors of Kano and Sokoto, Rabiu Kwankwaso and Aliyu Wamakko, who are currently both senators.
- In Kwankwaso’s case, the nPDP is also demanding that the former governor be allowed to jointly manage the APC in Kano state alongside the incumbent governor, Abdullahi Ganduje for the sake of peace and unity.
- For all of these demands, the nPDP wants the APC to agree in writing so that it can be enforceable. This is to avoid a repeat of previous occasions where gentleman agreements have not been adhered to.
Recall that the nPDP in a letter had lamented the fact that “President, Muhammadu Buhari has never publicly acknowledged our efforts in the face of clear evidence that the total number of votes scored by the APC in states where leaders and members of the then new PDP bloc held sway made the difference.” They complained over the fact that their bloc ”was generally sidelined as virtually no position was conceded to it” with the only slot given to them on Buhari’s cabinet going to someone “from a state that contributed virtually no vote to the APC in the 2015 presidential elections.” That remark was a reference to the former Rivers governor and current minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who although did not win Rivers state for the APC, served as the Director-General of the Buhari-Osinbajo Campaign Organisation.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had last week met the group behind closed doors.