The five Peoples Democratic Party who defected to the opposition All Progressives Congress are ready to meet the ruling party in court, the Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has said.
Amaechi made this known in Port Harcourt on Wednesday just as the PDP National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur, boasted that Amaechi and his colleagues would willingly return to the party soon.
The PDP had last month asked an Abuja Federal High Court to sack the five governors. It also prayed the court to order the houses of assembly of Adamawa, Rivers, Sokoto, Kano and Kwara states to commence impeachment proceedings against the governors.
The Rivers State governor ,who featured in a radio (95.1 FM, Port Harcourt) phone-in programme in Port Harcourt, said they had hired reputable lawyers to battle with the PDP .
He recalled that many governors had in the past left other political parties and joined the PDP without being sacked by the courts.
Amaechi said, “Courts don’t impeach. But we are waiting. The courts’ position (in the past) is very clear. Zamfara governor moved to the PDP and the court held that he had a right to move if there was a disagreement in his party.
“The Bauchi State governor moved from ANPP(defunct All Nigerian Peoples Party) to the PDP and another court held that he had the right to move. Abia State governor (Theodore Orji) moved from Progressives Peoples Alliance to the PDP and Kebbi State governor also moved from the ANPP to the PDP. They are so many and the PDP was so happy absorbing them.
“Now that five of us have gone and the chances of more governors moving to the APC appear to be there, the PDP is panicking. We are ready to meet them in court; we have hired lawyers and our lawyers can battle with them.”
But before Ameachi spoke, Tukur told a team of Nigerian professionals in Europe on Wednesday in London , that measures being put in place by the PDP leadership and President Goodluck Jonathan, would encourage those who defected from the ruling party to return on their own.
Although Tukur did not mention the names of the defectors, he apparently had in mind, the five former- Amaechi, Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara); Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto); Murtala Nyako (Adamawa); and Musa Kwankwaso (Kano).
Apart from the five governors, 37 members of the House of Representatives have also left the PDP for the APC. Some senators are said to be planning to defect soon.
In spite of this, Tukur said the PDP had been welcoming more members into its fold compared to the number of those who had defected.
He claimed that going by the undercurrents within the political circles, the ruling party would experience an influx of new members this year.
According to him, many members of opposition parties, including the APC, have already signified their readiness to join the PDP.
A statement from his office explained that the professionals had sought audience with the PDP chairman on their interest to return to Nigeria with a view to offering their expertise in diverse fields for the growth of the country.
He told the professionals who are mostly medical doctors, information technology experts and engineers, that the PDP had always been in pursuit of reforms to make it stronger as Nigeria’s ruling party.
Tukur said what was happening in the PDP was rejuvenation, which many viewed as a crisis.
He said, “The PDP remains a party with the largest spread and tested strength to win elections any day, any time. I urge all our members in Nigeria not to be browbeaten by images of political delusion that confront them every day from different quarters.
“The PDP is at home to contain all forms of harassment by the opposition, either vaunted or intended. If it is a game of number in any election, you can always count that the PDP would have it greater.
“The good thing is that if five people move out of the PDP into the other party, even by a dint of propaganda, the party takes in more than 500 at a time, as replacement. The electorate in Nigeria trust the PDP more than many people are aware of.”
Although Tukur admitted that the PDP was not having things smoothly at the moment, he said his team and the President were not relenting on their consultations with aggrieved members of the party.
“The PDP would, at the end of it all, be better and more prepared to do greater exploits. Our members should, therefore, enjoy the Yuletide and not allow any issue to keep them distracted and depressed,” he said.
The PDP has however charged all its members, political office holders and all Nigerians to “usher in the New Year by committing themselves to the lofty values of integrity, hard work, honesty, love and faithfulness so as to move the nation to the next level.”
In a New Year message to Nigerians by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, on Wednesday, the party said, “While the nation faced serious challenges last year, the New Year presents a new opportunity for Nigerians to eschew all divisions and work together to fully entrench these values in the nation’s body polity.”
Noting that this would result in the much desired national rebirth , it charged Nigerians to stand on the side of peace and unity and resist the “evil machinations of desperate undemocratic breeds who delight in sowing seeds of discord among them.”