House of Representatives
The crack in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) appears to be widening by the day as no fewer than 57 members of the party in the House of Representatives have declared their support for the splinter group of the party.
The defectors, in a statement obtained by THISDAY Tuesday, appended their signatures to a declaration of loyalty to the New PDP.
It was however learnt that the number might swell soon as other House members, including the Speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, were expected to switch loyalty.
The defectors said some lawmakers who ought to have signed the allegiance document, were not in town as the House is on recess, and would do so when they return.
The faction, whose birth was announced on Saturday, originally had in its fold former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and seven governors elected on the platform of the crisis-torn party.
The governors are Alhaji Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara) and Dr. Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano). Others are Mr. Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers), Alhaji Sule Lamido (Jigawa) and Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto).
The House of Representatives lawmakers jumped ship a day after 22 of their colleagues in the Senate took a similar step.
Chairman, PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Tony Anenih, however expressed optimism yesterday that the party would emerge from the crisis stronger as peace talks with the aggrieved party members, whom he said had genuine grievances, would now continue next Tuesday.
THISDAY had exclusively reported yesterday that the governors aligned with the New PDP had elected to withdraw from a peace meeting, which was scheduled for yesterday with President Goodluck Jonathan, other PDP governors and party stalwarts.
It was further learnt that the defecting lawmakers in the House were essentially drawn from the seven states whose governors led the revolt against the leadership of the ruling party last Saturday.
It was also gathered that some lawmakers from Kogi, Kebbi, Plateau and Abia States have also jumped on the bandwagon.
A review of the 57 lawmakers who appended their signatures to the document yesterday showed that in Sokoto State, all the 11 House members elected on the platform of the PDP, including Tambuwal, have pitched their tent with the faction led by former acting National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Kawu Baraje.
Although Tambuwal did not join in the walkout staged by the aggrieved group last Saturday, sources said he has sympathy for the Baraje faction.
“Do you need to ask? Don’t you know that from time he has not been with the mainstream PDP, hence he defied their directive and took the speakership seat that the party had earlier zoned to the South-west?
“Tambuwal is always with his governor (Wamakko) and you don’t expect him to change at this time,” a source said.
In Rivers State, all the 13 lawmakers, except the two opposed to Amaechi have also joined the new group. The only two lawmakers left in the old boat are Hon. Ogundu Chinda, Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency and Hon. Kenneth Chikere of Port Harcourt 1 Federal Constituency.
Similarly, all the 14 PDP lawmakers in Kano State have joined the new group.
In Adamawa State, all the five federal lawmakers have crossed the carpet, just as seven of their counterparts in Niger State. It was also a clean sweep in Jigawa and Kwara States, both of which have 11 and six legislators respectively.
Kogi presented a similar result, as five out of the seven federal lawmakers have joined the new group. The remaining two – Hon. Yusuf Tajudeen (Kabba/Bunu/Ijumu Federal Constituency) and Hon. Steve Karimu (Yagba East/Yagba West/Mopamuro Federal Constituency) – were said to have declined support for the emerging group due to the influence of a prominent politician from the Kogi West Senatorial District.
Although the picture was not clear with respect to the fate of the PDP in Kebbi, Plateau and Abia States, it was reliably gathered that the New PDP was making inroad into the three states.
In the statement endorsed by 57 House members last night, the lawmakers hailed the emergence of the faction and congratulated the Baraje-led National Executive Committee of the party
House of Representatives