The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) cannot afford to have its members desert it at this point as it hopes to mount a formidable challenge which will lead to the defeat of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
But things are not looking very good for the main opposition party. Some of its leaders are jumping ship.
The consequence of the December convention
The PDP conducted its national convention in late 2017, a contest which saw Prince Uche Secondus emerge as party chairman owing to the strong financial backing he received from the governor of Rivers state, Nyesom Wike. That backing was interpreted by many in the losing camps as highhanded and it appears to be driving some disgruntled senior members of the party to seek shelter elsewhere.
Ex-Information Minister Jerry Gana, ex-Education Minister Tunde Adeniran (who contested for chairmanship at the convention) and ex-Niger Delta Minister Godsday Orubebe (infamous for his shameless display during the vote tally process of the 2015 general elections) are moving to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) which is merging with the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Peoples Salvation Party (PSP) to form a formidable party ahead of next year’s elections.
In the coming weeks, it is expected that more PDP members will decamp, and there is a possibility that the Olusegun Obasanjo led Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) may join the fold.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
On Thursday night at the Ladi Kwali Hall of the Sheraton Hotel in Abuja, the PDP rebels under the aegis of the Movement for a New Political Order signed an MOU with the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Jointly signed by Falae (for SDP) and Prof. Gana (for Movement for a New Political Order), the MoU reads in part:
“Whereas on the 12th Day of February 2018, a joint resolution was adopted at Sheraton Hotel Abuja, for working together to ensure the emergence of a new and credible political order to deepen democracy, good governance and genuine development, with peace, security and social justice. The said meeting also unanimously resolved to build:
a)a restructured, balanced equitable and truly functional Nigerian Federation:
b)a humane, free, seIf-reliant and democratic society;
c) a dynamic, productive, transformed and sustainable economy;
d) a just, fair, egalitarian and peaceful nation
e) a land of bright and full of opportunities for all Nigerians; and
f) a national culture of raising good leaders through effective mentoring;
“Whereas, it was also agreed that the proposed movement shall be directed, driven and defined by such core values as: 1. Justice, fairness, equity and progress; 2. Democracy, good leadership, good governance and sustainable development; 3. Transparency, integrity, truth and honour; 4. Accountability and zero tolerance for corruption; 5. Respect for human dignity, human rights and sanctity of human life;; and 6. Peace, security, harmony, cooperative solidarity, within the rule of law; and 7. International cooperation for a common humanity within a secure and peaceful order.
“Whereas, the movement further resolved to be inspired and motivated by the ideals of social democracy, with great emphasis on: the triumph of social justice; the nobility of human dignity; the harmony of fairness and equality; the power of working together in solidarity; the excellence of good governance, driven by good leadership; the wisdom of reforms and transformation far beyond mere growth; the horror of poverty, demanding eradication; the dignity of prosperity; the imperative of democracy and the security of peace with justice
“Whereas with due reference to these objectives, core values, and ideals, a Strategy Committee was mandated to search for a suitable, popular, meaningful and widespread platform, with a name that already resonates with the people and to make appropriate recommendations; and
“Whereas, the Strategic Committee, comprising representatives from all the six geopolitical zones of the Federation, have met and submitted their report, unanimously recommending the adoption of Social Democratic Party(SDP) vehicle by the movement for a new political order:
“Therefore, we hereby resolutely agree to: (a) Fuse together into one political form; (b) adopt the Social Democratic Party(SDP) as the political vehicle for the fused political formation; (c) Convene a non-elective convention for Saturday, 14th April, 2018; (d) authorize the National Working Committee to serve as the Interim Management Committee until the said convention; Set up a National Steering Committee of 12 members to guide the Interim Management Committee during the transition period; Raise a Constitution Review Committee to consider all necessary amendments to the party constitution.”
Others within the PDP who joined Gana, according to a report by The Nation newspaper, include: a former Military Administrator of Katsina State, Sen. Joseph Akaagerger; a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Peter Godsday Orubebe; Chief Mike Oghiadhome, who was a former Chief of Staff to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan; ex-Governor Saminu Turaki of Jigawa State; and ex-Minister of Defence, Dr. Olu Agunloye and a former Deputy Speaker of Ondo State House of Assembly, Hon. Dare Emiola.
Also teaming up with SDP are a former member of the House of Representatives, Dr. Junaid Mohammed; Sen. Bassey Ewa Hensaw; a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Olamide Oni; Supo Shonibare (South-West Zonal chairman of SDP), Hon. Dipo Olaitan (a former leader of the Alliance for Democracy in the House of Representatives); a former Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, Kehinde Ayoola; Amb. Yemi Farounbi; leaders of the Middle Belt Forum; Mr. John Dara; the leaders of the National Intervention Forum led by Dr. Tafawa Balewa; Amb Bejide; Shehu Gabam who gave the vote of thanks.