- The alignment and realignment of various political interests in the country are still subjects of speculation
- Former president Olusegun Obasanjo is reportedly making moves to woo top APC chiefs to the Social Democratic Party (SDP)
- The SDP is said to be a platform of choice for most political orphans
A report by Daily Independent suggests that former president Olusegun Obasanjo is leading the move to bring top chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to join the SDP, otherwise known as the Third Force movement.
Among those reportedly approached by Obasanjo are Senate president Bukola Saraki; speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, and Governors Samuel Ortom and Aminu Tambuwal of Benue and Sokoto states respectively.
While Saraki and Dogara left the PDP for APC in 2013, Tambuwal who was a former speaker of the House of Representatives joined the ruling party in October 2014.
The move is said to have sent panic in the camps of the APC and the major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The SDP which already has key leaders of the PDP such as Jerry Gana, former minister of information; Tunde Adeniran, former minister of education and a former minister of Niger Delta affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe and others in its fold has said many leaders of the APC and PDP will soon publicly declare for the party.
Obasanjo's Coalition for Nigerian Movement (CNM) is also said to be already in talks with the SDP.
A source quoted in the report said: “I believe Saraki will quit the APC. It is just a matter of time. He has to be careful of making the move now owing to possible persecution from those that will be negatively affected by the move.
“Before now, we believe that the only alternative available to him is the PDP, especially now that the party’s longstanding leadership tussle was resolved and after the conduct of its convention but in the last few months, I can tell you that the permutations have changed especially with the coming on board of the SDP, better known as the third force movement.
“Don’t also forget that Obasanjo’s coalition is now part of SDP and they have said they will field a governorship candidate in the forthcoming Ekiti election under SDP. I heard Obasanjo has been given the task to reach out to Saraki and other aggrieved APC leaders. Given the kind of respect Saraki has for Baba (Obasanjo), I don’t think there is nothing he tells him that he won’t acquiesce to.
“The SDP is ready to accommodate every Nigerian who is ready to serve the people selflessly, who believe in the principle of genuine democracy and particularly due process and rule of law. Everybody is welcome. We are reaching out to everybody.
“But what is important is that they must be ready to obey the rules and regulations of the party and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Moreover, we are a very disciplined party. Those coming must subject themselves to the dictates of the party but we are ready for everybody irrespective of their political divide.”
Meanwhile, the national publicity secretary of the SDP, Alfa Mohammed, said on Sunday, March 4, that the party is expecting five governors and twenty senators and several House of Representatives members to join the party soon.
The party spokesperson, who spoke in Minna, Niger state, also said he will confirm in three weeks if former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, will be joining the party or not, Punch reports.
Mohammed said: “I need two to three weeks to confirm the issue of the former vice president as it concerns our party. However, it may interest you to know that many prominent politicians from Adamawa State have joined us.”
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