Board of Trustees meets Wednesday
•Umahi moves to woo Ikpeazu to APC
•South-west PDP repositions, endorses Makinde as zonal leader
Against the purported defection plans of Governor Umahi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party has allegedly summoned an emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting.
The meeting, THISDAY gathered has been slated for Thursday, November 19 at the National Secretariat of the party, Wadata Plaza, Abuja.
But, preparatory to the Thursday emergency NEC, the Board of Trustees (BoT), the highest advisory organ of the party, is also scheduled to meet on Wednesday at 2pm.
Consequently, the governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, who last Tuesday told a delegation of the PDP NWC led by the National Chairman, Uche Secondus, that he had made up his mind to leave the PDP, is believed to have been making overtures to his Abia State counterpart, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, to go with him to the APC.
Meanwhile, in its bid to reposition ahead of next elections, the South-west leadership of the PDP has acknowledged the roles of the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, in the region and agreed to work with him to move the party forward.
Umahi was reported to have hinged his planned defection to the agreement with the APC that the presidential candidate of the party would be zoned to the South-east.
He claimed that the PDP had been unfair to the South-east since 1999, as it has deliberately refused to zone the presidential ticket of the party to the zone.
Besides, the zone was said not to be happy with the appointment of Peter Obi as the running mate to Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the PDP in the last general election.
A source in the PDP said Obi was an imposition as there were politicians in the South-east that could have given more credibility and weight to the zone in terms of attracting more votes.
THISDAY was however informed that aside his decision to defect to the APC, Umahi has also been making efforts to woo other PDP governors in the zone to go with him to the APC, with Ikpeazu being the first on his list.
According to a source that was privy to some of the undercurrents, “The move is to have at least three APC governors in the South-east and use it as a canvassing opportunity to convince the APC leadership to give the APC presidential ticket to the zone.”
Inside sources also claimed this was with the consent of the leadership of the pan Igbo socio-cultural group, the Ohaneze Ndigbo.
“Election is like warfare and all is good in any war. Since the PDP has deliberately refused to zone its presidential ticket to the zone, the Igbo will go with any political party that panders to its interest. Check out since 1999, the Southeast has been a backbone of the PDP and nothing to show for it.
“South-south has produced the President of Nigeria in the person of Goodluck Jonathan, Olusegun Obasanjo from the Ssouthwest was president on the platform of the PDP for eight years. The northwest has had it in late Umaru Yar’Adua and though, he did not win, the Northeast produced the presidential candidate of the PDP in the 2019 general election. Something has to be done to the Southeast for its massive support to the PDP”, the source said.
It was for this reason that the PDP has summoned an emergency NEC meeting to address this concern of the PDP in the Southeast.
A chieftain of the party and former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, last week, described the report of the planned defection of Umahi as “troubling”.
Fani-Kayode therefore urged the PDP national leadership to pacify Umahi as more governors in the party might follow the Ebonyi governor to the APC.
He tweeted thus: “I urge the leadership of the PDP to do all they can to ensure that he stays. Not only is he a profoundly good man and an excellent governor, his contributions to the success of the PDP over the last 20 years at various levels are immeasurable and simply extraordinary.
“What makes the matter worse is that other governors may also contemplate leaving if he does because he has a lot of friends and goodwill amongst them. If that happens, it will affect our party’s chances in the 2023 presidential election in a very significant way. Again, I call on the National Chairman and the NWC of our great party to do all they can to keep Umahi on board.”