The crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over choice of candidate for next year’s gubernatorial election has taken a new dimension as no fewer than 450, 000 members of the party have threatened to defect.
Daily Sun gathered that plans are already at mature stage for the aggrieved members, cutting across the state, but especially the North and Central Senatorial districts, to decamp to another party.
From our findings, a most likely party for them might be the APGA given its popularity as a good alternative in the South East of Nigeria, although our source said the intending defectors never disclosed the party they would prefer.
Our source noted that because of the powerful party leaders behind the plot, the number of members drawn from the councils would be a little less than 500,000. If the plan sails through, the coast would have been clear for a possible loss of the state by the ruling party.
The planned mass defection is in protest against the perceived hide-and-seek tactic adopted by the national leadership of PDP in handling the problem.
At a delegation meeting to Abuja last Wednesday, November 26, led by a former senator, one of the delegates from the Central Senatorial district did not mince words in telling the PDP national chairman, Adamu Muazu, that if their protest against the November 1 ward congresses result submitted by the splinter group was not dropped, the party would unwittingly have told the two zones they are no longer wanted.
Things nearly blew the tops last Saturday as the splinter group of the party that actually belongs to the camp of the Deputy Governor, Dave Umahi, which the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim and the former governor, Dr. Sam Egwu are said to align with allegedly held the state Assembly primary election that had been postponed.
The larger body of the party were not part of the said primary election that was actually postponed. But although the primary didn’t hold in the real sense of it, some party agents from Abuja visited the state and some local government areas and after which reports said that they gathered at Pinnacle Hotel in Abakaliki to draw up a result of the primary elections.
But eyewitnesses told Daily Sun, such did not take place even as Daily Sun was in the city and never noticed any primary election.
Our source that pleaded strict anonymity because he was not mandated to speak to the press on the subject alleged that after a series of disturbing acts of interference in the smooth running of the state chapter of the party by the PDP hierarchy, members of the party from the two senatorial zones resolved to seek their political future in another political platform.
He said: “We saw a disturbing pattern where the SGF is used to undermine the influence of the party leadership in Ebonyi State with the active connivance of some members of the national working committee, (NWC). When it became obvious that there was an underground plot to supplant the wishes of our people, we decided to devise alternative plans to checkmate the plot.”
The former senator, declared that “by aligning with the plot to destabilize PDP in Ebonyi State, the collaborators from Ebonyi South Senatorial zone played into the hands of the Abakaliki bloc, he said had been reluctant to have the governorship zoned to the old Afikpo bloc.
He added that the planned defection is to prove to PDP that the old Abakaliki bloc comprising Ebonyi North and Central zones with about 72% voting strength are capable to control the political destiny of the state.
With the new plot, the two zones are rumoured to have laid out an alternative arrangement to field a gubernatorial candidate from their Abakaliki bloc of the state and swing the balance by voting such candidate in another party.
The source said a delegation of which he is a member was in Abuja on Monday to put finishing touches on the mass defection with the national leadership of the unnamed political party.
His words: “Since Saturday we have been in Abuja holding series of meetings aimed at dotting the ‘I’s and crossing the ‘T’s in the arrangement especially as they relate to sharing of offices and control of the party structure in the state. After the final meeting today (Monday) we hope to return to Ebonyi to activate the process which would alter the political equation in both Ebonyi and South East geopolitical zone.”
However, it could not be immediately ascertained whether the planned mass defection explains the lavish reception accorded a prominent presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) by top Igbo leaders last week in Enugu.
Whether the APC, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, (APGA) or the United Progressives Party, (UPP) would be the ultimate beneficiary of the defection of the PDP faithful from Ebonyi State would be seen in few days’ time.