By Babawale Oke,
Governor Yahaya Bello, while featuring on a program on Channels Television, disclosed that despite all the leadership crises bedeviling the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), ten governors from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were getting ready to defect to the party. On the surface level, that information looks laughable and unbelievable. However, this is Nigeria where anything is possible.
Before you call Yahaya Bello names, sit down for a minute and think of the possibility of his utterance; just look back at the trajectory of Nigerian politicians and see if it is possible or not. It looks as if the top hierarchies of the PDP are now good in crisis management but it will get to a stage where their weaknesses would be made known to the world. There comes a time when there would be a clash of interest among the conflict settlers too.
You heard Nyesom Wike of Rivers State saying that the APC crisis would be a child’s play compared with the PDP when it starts. This should tell you that all there are aggrieved people in the PDP too. So, no one should be fooled by the window dressing you are seeing at Edo.
Again, I am not a prophet of doom and will have nothing to gain if the opposition party becomes unsettled. However, based on the information given by Yahaya Bello, which the PDP Governors’ Forum has since condemned though, I want to make a prediction of the six out of the ten governors that may jump ship to the APC before the next general election.
Dave Umahi (Ebonyi)
Almost every political participant knows that Dave Umahi is APC by heart and PDP by body. He did not hide this during the 2019 general election. He supported the Muhammadu Buhari campaign team with funds in the last election. He also lamented that it was a disgrace that the President would host a rally in Enugu state and there were no people on the stadium. He made sure that Buhari had a rousing welcome in Ebonyi.
Beyond that, he warned that any of his aides who criticizes Buhari would be sacked. He doesn’t seem to have a smooth relationship with the national leadership of his party. In all the Edo state defection saga, he seemed to be mum. The presidential election results from the state also showed where his heart belongs.
Bello Matawalle (Zamfara)
Bello Matawalle benefited from the unending crisis in the Zamfara state chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC). Despite the lingering crisis in the party, the APC went ahead to win the governorship election in the state. However, a Supreme Court judgment stated that they had no candidate in the election. This made Matawalle, who contested under the PDP and emerged second to be sworn in as the Governor of the state.
Despite his splendid performance since he came on board, especially in the area of security, it seems the people of the state still prefer the APC. As such, it is alleged in some quarters that the Governor is making plans to defect to the APC so as to gain the admiration of the people. One cannot ascertain the truthfulness of this till the coming months.
Ben Ayade (Cross River)
Professor Benedict Ayade has not been in control of the state chapter of the PDP. He and the state leadership of the Party have been at loggerheads and it seems that the national leadership is supporting the state chapter. Although the Governor is serving a second and final term, but if it appears that his men will not be given a chance in the PDP, he may move them to the APC. For now, Ayade is with the PDP but one cannot predict what he would do in the nearest future.
Samuel Ortom (Benue)
Ortom is another PDP Governor that may return to his base before the end of his tenure. He defected to the PDP shortly before the 2019 general election when it appeared that his people were not ready to dine with the APC again due to the incessant security lapses. He saw the handwriting on the wall and had issues with his godfather. So, he had to move. Now, it is reported that he has settled issues with his godfather and may soon reunite with him in the APC.
Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu)
This is another Governor that is reportedly being edged out of the affairs of the party in his state. It seems some powers that be who do not belong to his bloc want to rule the state in 2023. As expected, he also has his anointed candidates. If the other people gain the approval of the national leadership of the party, he may move his people to the APC. That will be a big plus to the opposition in the state as their presence has never been felt there. However, he may also decide to stay back. He was a lawmaker for twelve years and governor for eight years. So, the party has helped him a lot. He may think of this and mend fence with his people.
Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto)
I can tell you that the major reason why Tambuwal is still in the PDP is because of his 2023 presidential ambition; once the coast is clear that he may not be used again, he may dump the party and reunite with his godfather in the APC. He won by a whisker in the 2019 general election. It would have been a landslide victory if he were still in the APC. If he doesn’t win the PDP presidential ticket, they may lose him to the opposition party.
It seems the other ten governors on the platform of the PDP are rigidly rooted in the party and may not consider jumping ship anytime soon. However, I will keep you updated as events unfold. Again, this is just my prediction!
Written By Babawale Oke
OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS PIECE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR AND NOT OF PROCYON NEWS OR ITS EDITORS