- PDP reportedly issued the deadline through Rivers state governor Nyesome Wike on Wednesday, July 18 when he met Saraki
- PDP spokesperson Ologbodiyan says it is not true that top potential defectors to the opposition from APC had been issued a deadline
- Saraki is said to be in the final phase of consultations he is making on his planned defection
Senate president Bukola Saraki and other aggrieved members of the Reformed All Progressives Congress faction of the ruling party have been given a two-week deadline to decide on their defection to the opposition PDP.
The Nation reports on Sunday, July 22 that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has given Saraki, and House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara among others a two-week deadline to make up their minds.
Also getting the deadline are governors Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (Sokoto); Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara) and Samuel Ortom (Benue). Ex-governor Rabiu Kwankwaso, many senators and members of the House of Representatives.
The newspaper writes that the deadline was reportedly conveyed to Saraki and others by Rivers governor Nyesome Wike, who is spearheading the PDP unity process.
On his part, Saraki has been making wide consultations with his allies, shuttling between Lagos and Ilorin even though a committee set up by him has said his loyalists prefer defection to PDP.
The senate president is said to be in the last stages of consultations.
“There is pressure from the two main parties on the President of the Senate. I can tell you that Saraki is on the last lap of consultation on whether to remain in APC or defect to PDP.
“You can see that even the President, Vice President and some governors met with him at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Thursday.
“A committee, set up to consult widely in all the zones and local government areas in Kwara State, has strongly recommended that he should defect. Left to members of the immediate family of Saraki, they do not want him to stay a day longer in APC because of his ordeal in the last three years.
“As a leader, the president of the Senate will hold a session with his associates, loyalists and strategists on whether to defect or not. The meeting will hold this week with Monday tentatively in mind. It is a moment he did not expect will come so soon after joining others to form a coalition which led to the birth of APC,” an APC insider said.
But PDP’s spokesperson Kola Ologbondiyan denied that there a deadline 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,” he said on Saturday, July 21.
He added: “I am not aware of the two-week deadline given to those who are defecting and it could not have been true.
“It is natural for those defecting, who want to contest for elective offices in 2019, to join PDP before the primaries.”
NAIJ.com reported earlier that moves by President Muhammadu Buhari and APC national chairman Adams Oshiomhole have reportedly temporarily slowed down the planned mass defection of members of the ruling party’s faction the Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC).
The Nation reports that meetings between Buhari, vice president Osinbajo and Oshiomhole with some influential leaders of the group may have stalled the plans.
The newspaper quotes R-APC sources as saying that peace moves of the presidency and APC leadership in the last few days have slowed things down.
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