The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by the chairman, Uche Secondus, met on Wednesday with some top members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the residence of senate president Bukola Saraki, in Ilorin, the Kwara capital.
Apart from Saraki, APC leaders at the meeting include Sokoto Governor Aminu Tambuwal, Benue Governor Samuel Ortom and Kwara Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed and Senator Barnabas Gemade.
On the PDP side, some of those who were on the entourage alongside the chairman include Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers, PDP national women leader Hajiya Mariya Waziri and former Jigawa Governor Sule Lamido, who is running for president.
The politicians attended the Fidau prayer for the late Aishat Baraje, the mother of Saraki ally and member of the Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC), Abubakar Kawu Baraje.
Earlier in the day, the PDP leaders visited Sokoto ostensibly to commiserate with Gov. Tambuwal and the people of the state over the recent killings in Gandi, Rabah local government area. Those who joined the PDP chairman, Secondus, on that visit include former vice president Atiku Abubakar and former Sokoto Governor Attahiru Bafarawa.
Why this matters
The meetings are believed to be the final step in the negotiation process before the APC leaders defect from the ruling party and join the PDP. It is believed that the defections would take place before the end of the month when the national assembly goes on recess.
Already Gov. Ortom has announced that he has been given a “red card” from the APC, but did not announce which party he would be joining. His pause may be due to the fact that he needs the endorsement of some PDP leaders in Benue like former senate president David Mark before making the move official.
If the defections happen as expected, it opens up the 2019 race as the PDP would suddenly become more competitive, with more governors in their fold and several lawmakers. The PDP however suffered a major setback last weekend when its candidate in the Ekiti governorship election, Kolapo Olusola, lost to the APC candidate Kayode Fayemi.