by Segun Odeleye
The two main political parties in Nigeria are preparing for the 2015 election in earnest and strategists in both parties are trying to match and counter every move played by the other especially since tension stepped up a notch when the speaker of the house of representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, decamped from the PDP to the APC.
Yesterday, the PDP national publicity secretary announced that the party has postponed its primaries for all positions to later dates. Even though it was not said, the latest PDP move has a lot to do with their strategy to outfox their APC rivals.
When Speaker Aminu Tambuwal adjourned plenary of the House of Reps to December 3, one of the calculations at the time, was that by then PDP primaries into the house would have been concluded. Expectedly, some PDP lawmakers would not regain their seats and the thinking in APC circles is that the aggrieved lawmakers would be left with no choice than to decamp to the APC. In fact, a national newspaper reports that the APC was making an arrangement to offer tickets to some PDP lawmakers who may not get the PDP ticket.
The expectation is that if this is done, the APC will be returning to the House as the majority party, and would give Speaker Tambuwal a rousing welcome and ensure that his position as speaker remains. Even in the senate, the APC hoped to get new members using this strategy.
To hinder the APC’s moves, the PDP postponed its primaries. When the house resumes next month, the primaries of the PDP would not have held.
The primaries into the House of Reps will now hold on December 6 instead of November 22. The senate primary which was also supposed to hold on November 22 will now take place on December 7.
By doing this, the PDP hopes that it would be too late for lawmakers who hope to decamp after losing their seats because the APC plans to hold its primaries for the House of Reps on November 24th and that of the senate for November 29.
It remains to be seen if the APC would also shift its primaries to counter the PDP move.
Under the new PDP timetable, the national convention earlier slated for December 6 will now hold on December 10 and December 11, while the date for the president, who is the sole candidate of the party, to return his completed form to the national secretariat is now November 15 and the screening of the president and appeal against his candidacy is now slated for November 26.
The new date for the return of completed governorship forms is November 14 and the screening and appeals of the governorship aspirants is between November 22 and 25 and the governorship primary election is billed to hold on December 8 and appeal, if any, is slated for December 9.
The new date for the return of completed nomination forms for the National Assembly aspirants of the party is November 14 and screening and appeal is November 19 to 21, while the House of Representatives primary election is December 6 and the primaries for the senatorial aspirants is now December 7 and appeals is slated for December 8.
Metuh, who announced the changes, said the Independent National Electoral Commission had been notified.