Friday, September 13, 2013

APC Mandates Govs to Make Overtures to New PDP

As the All Progressives Congress (APC) works out strategies to broaden
its base and improve its chances in the 2015 general election, it has
instructed its governors to open channels of negotiation with the
seven aggrieved governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on a
possible working agreement.
The party's interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Muhammed,
who confirmed this at the end of the meeting of the party's interim
executive committee in Abuja Thursday, also said the nationwide
membership registration would commence between late September and
early October.
Addressing the press shortly after the meeting that lasted for almost
four hours, Muhammed said the party had resolved to leave interactions
with the New PDP governors in the hands of its state governors since
they are already in close contact under the auspices of the Nigeria
Governors' Forum (NGF).
"Though the matter was not discussed at the interim executive
committee meeting, but I know that what the party resolved to do was
that since our governors are also members of the Nigeria Governors'
Forum and they also meet regularly with these other governors, we felt
it would be better to leave that assignment in their hands.
"So if and when the aggrieved seven governors of the PDP are desirous
of making contact with our party, they would do so through our
governors," he said.
APC had early this week said it would welcome the New PDP governors
with open arms because it considered them too important to its
political dynamics to be ignored.
However, at yesterday's meeting of the party, Muhammed said the reason
for adopting the strategy was that apart from the fact that
channelling the talks through the governors would be easier, these
governors are always in touch with one another at the Nigeria
Governors' Forum and understand themselves better.
According to Muhammed, since the PDP governors are the prime movers of
the splinter group, they would be able to influence the tone of talks.
The party spokesman said the meeting finalised the issue of membership
registration including what form it would take and issues relating to
local council elections in various states, as well as by-elections in
Jigawa and Delta States.
He said the party had also waded into brewing confusion amongst its
members at the state level over issues relating to membership
registration and the roll out of the party structures.
He explained that in order to stem the conflict, the party had decided
that all the coalesced parties, including the splinter groups from the
All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Democratic Peoples Party
(DPP), would be involved in all consultations especially in their
"We also discussed the confusion that has so far trailed the issue of
which parties were actually involved in the merger, because it is true
that only three political parties – Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN),
Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and All Nigeria Peoples Party
(ANPP) – went for the convention, but these are not the only parties
in the merger.
"We also have part of APGA and DPP and therefore we resolved that
wherever we are going for consultations for the purpose of
harmonisation, and where also those parties are strong in the states,
they are also to be involved," he said.
On when APC is likely to commence the restructuring of the party
proper, Muhammed said the process would be kick-started from late
September through membership registration in the wards, local
councils, states and up to the national convention of the party, where
a new substantive party structure would emerge.
"You cannot restructure a party without doing two things, the first is
that you must register your members and the second is that you must
conduct a congress. The interim committee has only two assignments –
to register all members and to conduct congresses at ward, local
government, state and the national convention and by January put in
place a permanent structure for the party," he said.
Speaking on the problem in Cross River State, he said the party was
still in court challenging the constitution of the state independent
electoral commission, adding that APC is warning the government not to
violate the court's decision by holding the election while the case is
still in court.

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