Saraki Rejects Buhari’s Plea? Summons Loyalist On Defection

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seems to be in a hurry to get its deal with members of the Reformed -All Progressives Congress (R-APC) done and sealed.

This is even as Senate president Bukola Saraki is said to be suspicious of the APC and the Presidency. He doesn’t trust them to respect him after all that happened to him.

The two sides have been locked in intense talks and negotiations over the last few weeks for the aggrieved members of the APC to switch camps ahead of next year’s elections.

But President Muhammadu Buhari and the new national chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, have also launched peace talks of their own to persuade such APC members to reconsider their plan to dump the party.

With no defection of note happening as expected by the PDP, the party has given Senate President Bukola Saraki, House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara and others a two-week deadline to make up their minds and rejoin it.

Also being wooed by the PDP are: Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (Sokoto); Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara); Governor Samuel Ortom (Benue); ex-Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso, many Senators and members of the House of Reps mostly in the Reformed-All Progressives Congress(R-APC) and other willing defectors.

The Nation gathered that the Senate President who met with Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday, has summoned an emergency meeting of his associates, loyalists and strategists to take a final decision on whether or not to defect.

The meeting may hold anytime this week, with tomorrow (Monday) said to be the target date, if all those concerned could make it to Abuja.

It was learnt that Saraki has been in Lagos and Ilorin on whistle stops over the last few days for last minute consultations with his allies.

Sources told The Nation that a committee empanelled by Saraki has recommended that defection is “appropriate and popular” among his loyalists.

Investigation revealed that the two week deadline was conveyed to Saraki in Ilorin by Governor Nyesom Wike on Wednesday during a closed door session that took place after the Fidau for Hajiya Aishat Baraje, mother of a former National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Kawu Baraje.

Baraje, who was also chairman of the New PDP (nPDP), is one of the key promoters of R-APC.

A top source familiar with the development said: “there is no doubt that the PDP delegation came for the Fidau and to mount pressure on Saraki to hasten action on the proposal to accommodate likely defectors from APC to PDP.

“Wike, who led the team, asked Saraki to wrap up decision on the defection within the next one week or two weeks in order to enable PDP adjust its structures ahead of primaries for various elective posts in 2019.

“Do not forget that the defection might alter the party structure at the state level and the power sharing formula. The PDP has clearly stated that it will give equal rights and a sense of belonging to all defectors.
“This deadline applies to Saraki, Dogara, Tambuwal, Kwankwaso, other governors, Senators, members of the House of Representatives, Speakers and members of the State Houses of Assembly; and other party chieftains.

“The conduct of primaries by all parties is expected to begin on August 18. Any serious defector, technically, has less than three weeks to do so in order to be able to integrate with the structure of the party.

“And the National Assembly will soon go on break to enable the lawmakers participate in the primaries.”

Responding to a question, the source said: “I think Wike, who is a key facilitator in strengthening PDP ahead of 2019 poll, is working on a deadline to prevent undue pressure on the APC bigwigs which might make them change their decision.”

No timeframe for defection, says Ologbondiyan

However, the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan said last night that there is no timeframe for defection.

“There is no timeframe for defection. Our constitution says those who are coming to our party can contest election within one month to the conduct of any elective post. And even that one month can still be waived.”

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