Rattled by the defection of five out of its seven aggrieved governors to the All Progressives Congress on Wednesday, the National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party has scheduled an emergency meeting for next Monday.
Saturday PUNCH learnt in Abuja, on Thursday that the party’s leadership at the meeting would determine the fate of the rebel governors.
It was further gathered that the emergency meeting would among other things, decide on what punitive measures to be taken against the governors and lawmakers, who are likely to join them.
Sources close to the party told our correspondents that the party was afraid there could be mass defection of the PDP National Assembly members to the APC.
Investigations also revealed that the National Working Committee of the PDP at the meeting would discuss how it would not lose its majority status in the National Assembly to the APC.
It was learnt that the meeting was specifically put in place to brainstorm on the movement of the governors to the APC because the weekly NWC meeting traditionally holds on Wednesdays.
One of our correspondents gathered that the leadership of the PDP had been considering how to curtail the movement of any lawmaker elected on the platform of the party to the opposition.
A source in the party said, “We are going to consider all the legal options before deciding on punitive measures for the governors and lawmakers that defect to the APC.
“Nothing is on the table yet, but I can assure you that the PDP will hit back. One of the punitive measures we will consider is impeachment of the governors and how feasible it is. By Monday, we will unfold our strategies. Also, we must ensure that the PDP does not become a minority party in the National Assembly.”
When contacted, the National Publicity secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisah Metuh, confirmed to one of our correspondents on the telephone on Thursday, that the PDP was indeed planning to hold the meeting on Monday.
He also said that the issue of the rebel governors would form part of deliberations.
According to him, the meeting will, among other things, discuss issues affecting the party in general and other recent developments in the polity including the defection of some of their governors.
Metuh, who also spoke on the issue of the threat by some lawmakers to defect from the PDP, said that the national leadership of the PDP had implicit confidence in the leadership of both houses of the National Assembly to maintain the party’s positions.
He said, “Well on the issue of Amaechi and the other governors who have defected, there is an emergency meeting of the NWC to discuss all matters on Monday.
“On the issue of the lawmakers, the leadership of the two houses of the National Assembly are PDP members. The leaders are capable and are loyal. We have confidence in them. They have not shown any cause for doubts. They are loyal party members who can be relied upon at any time. All I can tell you is that we are going to discuss all the issues.”
When contacted, the Kano State Governor, Dr. Rabiu Kwankwaso said he was not bothered about his position as governor.
This, he said, was because the struggle he and his colleagues were involved in was a struggle to salvage democracy and not about any individual.
Kwankwaso spoke to Saturday PUNCH through his Director of Press and Public Relations, Baba Dantiye, via telephone on Thursday.
He said, “Let’s wait and see what happens on Sunday (after the meeting with the President). It’s not a matter of seat; it’s the issue of rescuing democracy and the nation.”
Saturday PUNCH also tried to find out if the deputy governors of the affected states would also defect to APC, but most of them could not be reached for comments.
Although the Deputy Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Umar Ganduje could not be reached for comments, a source close to him confided in one of our correspondents that he had implicit confidence in the governor.
The source said, “You know His Excellency, the Deputy Governor is a close confidant of the governor. Politically they have been on the same page and will continue to be.”
The Spokesperson of the Kwara State Governor, Dr. Muyideen Akorede, in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Thursday declined to respond to the question on whether the Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, would be willing to vacate his office as a result of his defection to the APC.
He said Ahmed was not in town, adding that he was the only person who could respond to such an issue.
“We have no response to the question. The governor is not in town. He is the only person that can respond to such a question,” Akorede said.
Meanwhile, a former governor of Kano State, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, has said that he is ready to work with anybody in the state because politics is about people.
The clarification became necessary as the APC in its power sharing deal on Thursday said the defected governors would be in charge of party machineries in their states.
Shekarau who spoke through his Director of Press and Public Relations, Sule Ya’u Sule said, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, welcomes everyone into the APC family, politics is about people.
“The only thing is that, no member of the party should be treated like a second class citizen. There should be justice and fairness to all.’’