“If Makarfi wins at the Supreme Court, we will still rebrand the PDP. But in the event he loses, it makes the job much easier."
The above was a quote credited to a governor over various crises plaguing the party and plot to form a new party as battered image of the People Democratic Party, PDP no longer a haven as 2019 draws nearer.
According to New Telegraph, governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may have concluded plans to dump the party and float a new political party, irrespective of the outcome of the appeal filed by the Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee, before the Supreme Court.
The caretaker committee had, last week, filed an appeal at the Supreme Court challenging the ruling of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt division, which reinstated Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as National Chairman.
PDP governors are on the side of Makarfi in the leadership crisis that has factionalised the party since the May 21, 2016 National Convention.
Seven out of the 10 PDP governors are in their first term in office. A highly placed member of the party confided in New Telegraph that none of the governors would like to seek second term in office on the platform of the party.
“PDP is associated with corruption and most of the party members are no longer comfortable with the name. Discussions have reached an advanced level, even before the Court of Appeal judgement, to float an entirely new political party,” one of the governors told New Telegraph at the weekend.
Adopting a new name for the party had generated heated debates at the several sittings of the Professor Jerry Gana-led Strategy Review and Interparty Affairs Committee empanelled by the National Caretaker Committee.
A member of the 115-member committee disclosed that: “Some people say PDP’s name is so bad that we can’t win elections, that the name should be changed. But the consensus is that we should retain that name.
It is the general opinion that the name remains solid even under APC.” The committee, according to the member, recommended only a slight change in the party’s slogan while the name is still retained.
Another member of the committee also revealed that formation of a new party is an option if the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government continues to frustrate the PDP’s revival through the courts.
The report of the committee was yet to be submitted to the organs of the party to make their own inputs before the February 17 Court of Appeal judgement, which reinstated Sheriff as PDP National Chairman.
According to the governor, none of the PDP governors was planning to defect to APC as was being speculated. Rather, he said, they were unanimous in floating a new political party and impose it on the PDP structure, as a platform to contest the 2019 general elections.
“We are aware of the antics of APC and we do not want it to continue to hold us down. We are working towards forming a new party; we have been discussing that.
“Nigerians don’t want to hear the PDP name again, and we don’t want to go into an election with a party that has bad image,” he added. Another governor told New Telegraph that the option before the party is to either float entirely new political party or take over the existing one and change its name.
“If Makarfi wins at the Supreme Court, we will still rebrand the PDP. But in the event he loses, it makes the job much easier.
We are considering the option of floating a new party or take over one of the fringe parties,” the governor said.
Even Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose spoke confidently that the platform he would use to prosecute the 2018 governorship election would not be a problem, in the event that the PDP structure continues to remain with Sheriff. “On the issue of platform, be assured that nothing will go wrong. Don’t worry about me.
The election is just 20 months away, let us keep our fingers crossed. Be assured that my election is an election that heaven is celebrating already,” Fayose said immediately after the Court of Appeal judgement.
Fayose had said immediately after the Ondo State governorship election last year that he was considering prosecuting the 2018 Ekiti State governorship election on a different platform. “Sheriff and his faction had worked against PDP in Edo and Ondo states.
He disgraced the former Ondo State governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and ensured that the person he chose as his successor, Hon. Eyitayo Jegede, lost to the APC candidate,” the Ekiti helmsman said.
After Mimiko, the next target is believed to be Fayose, who is one of the governors who are against him.
The former Borno State governor had claimed that some of the PDP governors are with him, but former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Abdullahi Jalo, said none of the governors is with him.
Jalo said there are several options before the PDP under Makarfi, which, he said includes formation of a new party.
“If we are moving, we are moving en masse,” he said. “PDP is aware that APC will block any move by its members to register a new political party, hence the plan to use pseudonym and then tell its members to join.
That is only if the appeal before the Supreme Court fails. “But in the event that the appeal succeeds, the party will apply to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for a change of name,” the source disclosed.
However, spokesperson for the caretaker committee, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, said there is no such plan to form another political party.
“There is nothing like that. Everybody is talking about it, but that is not the situation. What I can tell you is that we don’t have such plan to form any party,” Adeyeye told New Telegraph. When asked what option is left for the party if the appeal fails at the Supreme Court, he answered: “Let’s wait for the appeal; we will cross the bridge when we get there.”