There is a grand plot by the All Progressives Congress to take over the majority in the House of Representatives when the House resumes on December 3. The takeover is predicated on an arrangement to give APC tickets to members of the lower chamber from the current majority party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who may not secure their party’s ticket.
Speaker of the House of Representatives Aminu Tambuwal had on October 28 defected from PDP to APC and adjourned sitting till December 3, setting off a war of attrition between both parties.
Ahead of the House of Representatives’ resumption, Tambuwal and APC are said to be putting up a plan that would have the Speaker return to a rousing reception by members which they hope would include aggrieved PDP members who would have lost their bid to get their party’s nomination in the primaries earlier slated for November 22.
APC, which is working on this scenario, is also said to be planning to take over the Senate in 2015 using a similar method anchored on the fact that some members of PDP would not win their party’s nomination to seek re-election in next year’s general election.
However, it was gathered that PDP had already gotten wind of the APC plan and moved swiftly yesterday to postpone all the party’s primaries and national convention. Though the postponement of the party’s primaries, particularly that of the National Assembly to December 6 for House of Representatives and December 7 for Senate may deny Tambuwal a rousing welcome he planned to receive from members if PDP had conducted its Assembly primaries on November 22, analysts believe that the postponement may not completely alter the APC plan, as some of the PDP legislators will still lose their party’s nomination whenever the primary is held anyway – a development which would provide opportunity for APC to lure them into its fold.
The APC senatorial primaries holds on November 29 while those for the House of Representatives is scheduled for November 24.
Under the new PDP timetable, which is in an obvious move to circumvent the alleged APC plan to take over the House and also for PDP to gain time to try to resolve some of its internal troubles, the national convention earlier slated for December 6 will now hold on December 10 and December 11, while the date for the president, who is the sole candidate of the party, to return his completed form to the national secretariat is now November 15 and the screening of the president and appeal against his candidacy is now slated for November 26.
The new date for the return of completed governorship forms is November 14 and the screening and appeals of the governorship aspirants is between November 22 and 25 and the governorship primary election is billed to hold on December 8 and appeal, if any, is slated for December 9.
The new date for the return of completed nomination forms for the National Assembly aspirants of the party is November 14 and screening and appeal is November 19 to 21, while the House of Representatives primary election is December 6 and the primaries for the senatorial aspirants is now December 7 and appeals is slated for December 8.
Metuh, who announced the changes, said the Independent National Electoral Commission had been notified.
We also gathered last night that a recent meeting between President Goodluck Jonathan, who is also the national leader of PDP, and the party’s senators meant to resolve some of the issues bordering on re-election tickets ahead of the next general election has also unsettled the PDP governors. The senatorial ambitions of some of the governors have clashed with the re-election plans of senators from their states, causing disagreements that seem to put the party on edge.
The meeting between the president and the senators was purposed to settle the rifts, and media reports had stated that the meeting resolved to give automatic tickets to two senators from each state, a development which unsettled the PDP governors.
A source at the meeting however said that the speculated outcome of the meeting was just the position of the senators and not the meeting’s resolution.
It was gathered last night that President Jonathan has slated an expanded meeting, which would have the governors and senators, for Tuesday.
The meeting is expected to work out an arrangement whereby governors who are interested in choosing their successors would be asked to shelve their senatorial ambitions.
Already, the proposed arrangement has been embraced in Enugu State as Governor Sullivan Chime who was nursing the ambition to replace the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has shelved his senatorial ambition and opted to nominate his successor. Ekweremadu, on his part, is now supporting the governor’s nominee, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
To further assure the PDP senators, who are aggrieved by what they allege to be the handover of the party’s state structures to state governors, the party has barred its state chapters from releasing the results of congresses.
The PDP National Working Committee has disclaimed any results from the state chapters regarding ad-hoc delegates election held penultimate Saturday, saying only the national leadership can release the results of the election. It said only the office of the national organising secretary had the right to release the results of the elections held in more than 8,000 wards across the federation.
This decision came as the party yesterday held congress elections in the 774 local governments in the country to elect national delegates that will participate in the December 6 presidential primary of the party.
The outcome of the ad-hoc delegates elections held two Saturdays ago had raised series of complaints, especially in Lagos, Oyo, Ondo, Delta, Imo, Enugu, and Cross River states. Members alleged internal manipulation by officials of the party.
A statement on Saturday by the PDP national publicity secretary Olisa Metuh, said, “The national leadership states categorically that only the National Working Committee, through the office of the national organising secretary can release the result of the ward congresses for the election of three-man ad-hoc delegate or any primary election conducted by our great party for that matter.”