Wednesday 5 September 2018

2019: Five PDP Governors Seeking Deal With President Buhari/APC

Desperate for a second term, five Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors are seeking a secret pact with President Muhammadu Buhari on the 2019 general elections.

Specifically, the deal is for the governors to support Buhari’s re-election in return for the Presidency’s backing in their bid to retain their seats.

The governors, who could not be named for “strategic” reasons, have sent emissaries, including two All Progressives Congress (APC) governors, to the President on their proposal.

One of the governors sent a message to the President in China through an APC governor, The Nation learnt yesterday.

Also yesterday, former Kano State Governor Ibrahim Shekarau dumped the PDP.

He is due to announce his defection to the APC after consultation with his supporters.

Although one of the five PDP governors initiated the “deal”, the positive signals from the mediating APC governors and some top officials of the Presidency motivated four others to join.

The “bleak prospect” of not being re-elected may have accounted for the desperation of the governors, according to sources in the Presidency.

The five PDP governors are from the South-south and the Southeast. Two are from the South-south and three from the Southeast

One of the sources said: “The five governors are lobbying APC leaders to help cut a deal with President Buhari by which the President will allow them to be re-elected in return for their support for Buhari to win the presidential election in those PDP states.

“The arrowhead of the group (from the Southsouth) has been talking to two APC governors. He is pleading with the governors to present the request of the five PDP governors to the President ahead of a likely face-to-face meeting.”

The arrowhead of the pact is said to have started mounting pressure on the two APC governors in Nigeria and has continued with the pressure during the ongoing visit of the President to China.

The affected Southsouth governor had earlier failed in his attempt to defect to the APC in the face of total rejection of his move by APC leaders at the national level and at the state chapter, it was learnt.

“The idea of lobbying for some horse trading with President Buhari was first brought up by the arrowhead, who broached it with senior officials of the Presidency last year when his relationship with PDP leaders and members in his state, including his godfather, became frosty,” a source said, pleading not to be named “so as not to jeopardise the negotiations”.

Another source spoke of how Senator Godswill Akpabio’s defection and the inroad being made by the APC into the Southsouth has caused a political upset in the geopolitical zone.

“With the defection of Senator Akpabio on August 8 to the APC and the obvious rise in the electoral fortunes of the party in the zone, the arrowhead was mandated by the group to secure an audience with President Buhari for them to present their plan.

Said the source: “Should the meeting hold, the governors would be dangling before the Presidency the prospect of a win for President Buhari in the Southsouth and Southeast zones, the two regions that have been the strongholds of the PDP.”

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