Tuesday, 26 November 2013
SUPREMACY BATTLE: PDP HANDS UP, JOINS APC
The merger was announced at the end of a meeting at the Kano Governors Lodge in Abuja on Tuesday.
Mr. Baraje read the terse communique to journalists at about 11.46 a.m.
The merger means the APC now has its 11 governors and the seven governors who are members of the New PDP; making a total of 18 state governors.
The seven New PDP governors were expected to have a last meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan before taking a decision. The meeting is yet to be held.
Among those at Tuesday's merger meeting were APC leader and former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu; APC National Chairman, Bisi Akande; Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso: former Kwara governor and serving senator, Bukola Saraki; former Nasarawa governor and serving senator, Abdullahi Adamu; former Bayelsa governor, Timipre Sylva; and Adamawa State Governor, Murtala Nyako.
Others were former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Masari; Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi; National Secretary of the PDP, Olagunsoye Oyinlola; former Abia governor, Ogbonnaya Onu; former PDP vice chairman, Sam Jaja; Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed; and Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu.
Mr. Baraje said Messrs Ahmed and Aliyu left the meeting before it ended; but that everybody agreed the two groups should merge.
He said the two parties agreed "to work together in order to rescue the fledgling democracy of the nation."
The meeting, where the merger was consummated, lasted about three hours.
Several meetings had been held between the APC leaders and the leaders of the New PDP. The APC had visited each of the seven New PDP governors in their states to convince them to join its fold. Some of the governors, like Mr. Aliyu of Niger, had said they would not leave the PDP unless they were chased out.
While being courted by the APC, the New PDP leaders were also meeting with Mr. Jonathan with a view to resolving the crisis in their party.
The meetings were unsuccessful with a final one, initially scheduled to hold before the Muslim Hajj rites, postponed.
Mr. Jonathan announced on Sunday when he arrived from the U.K. that he would meet the aggrieved governors (Kwara, Sokoto, Kano, Jigawa, Niger, Adamawa, and Rivers) this week. It is not clear if the meeting would still hold.
The new merger effectively changes the political landscape of Nigeria.
The ruling PDP had 23 governors; but with the exit of seven, now has 16 governors.
The new merger party has 18 governors; while the remaining two states, Ondo and Anambra, are led by the Labour Party and the All Progressives Grand Alliance respectively, although both governors are allies of Mr. Jonathan.