The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) whose membership is fast being depleted by the defection of party bigwigs to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) has launched a bid to keep the House of Representatives Speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, under its umbrella.
The party is dangling before the speaker, a key ally of Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko, who is one of the five PDP governors that have defected to APC, the ticket to fly the flag of the ruling party in the 2016 governorship election in the state.
To demonstrate its sincerity, the party Thursday cancelled the planned inauguration of the caretaker committee for the state chapter of the PDP to enable Tambuwal nominate candidates who will protect his interest in the party’s affairs in Sokoto.
However, the PDP inaugurated the caretaker committee for Kwara State, another state where the PDP has lost a large number of members, including the Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, and his predecessor who is now a senator, Dr. Bukola Saraki, to APC.
PDP’s bid to discourage Tambuwal from defecting to APC came against the backdrop of the defection of nearly all top political officer holders in Sokoto State, including House members from the state, 27 lawmakers from the state House of Assembly, cabinet members, local government chairmen and councillors who followed Wamakko to APC.
Speculations are rife that the speaker is only bidding his time and may soon join other top politicians from the state in APC.
However, aware of the grave implications of allowing the House speaker to cross carpet, it was learnt Thursday that it had moved to make offers to the speaker to keep him in the party.
Notwithstanding the gale of defections from the ruling party, Senate President David Mark expressed optimism yesterday that this would not lead to the disintegration of PDP as party leaders were taking steps to arrest the situation.
Also, PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, described the defection of the 27 lawmakers from the Sokoto assembly as democracy in action.
It was gathered that the decision to lobby Tambuwal to remain in PDP, which prompted the party to shelve the inauguration of the caretaker committee members for Sokoto State, was reached at a meeting between Jonathan and Akwa Ibom State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio.
The meeting between the president and the governor, THISDAY learnt, came on the heels of Tambuwal’s visit to Akpabio in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, on Monday, during which the governor begged him to stop further defections of PDP House members to APC following the switch of political allegiance by 37 federal lawmakers.
The party had recently dissolved both the executive committees in its local chapters in Kwara and Sokoto States following the defection of their governors.