As the defection from the All Progressives Congress (APC) edges closer, leaders of Reformed All Progressives Congress(R-APC) have tabled tough demands before the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
While some of the demands have been accepted, there are four other knotty issues yet to be settled.
The four pegs of negotiation are: conceding party structures in states to R-APC on 60 to 40 per cent basis; automatic ticket; change of PDP’s name and governorship ticket in some states.
It was learnt that members of the Board of Trustees of PDP, the National Executive Committee and National Working Committee (NWC) are opposed to the idea that the party should change its name.
State chairmen of the party were also opposed to conceding 60 per cent of the officials of ward, local government and state executive committees (SEC) of PDP to R-APC.
The PDP, however, accepted the recommendation to cede the Office of the President of the Senate to Dr. Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House or senatorial ticket to Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara if they make up their minds to defect.
Investigation by our correspondent revealed that ex-Governor Liyel Imoke Contact and Mobilization Committee has briefed the National Working Committee (NWC) on talks with R-APC leadership and others willing to defect to PDP.
It was learnt that although the NWC has received insights on substantial part of the report of the Imoke Committee, a formal submission was being awaited.
A reliable source, who spoke in confidence, said: “All is set to welcome R-APC leaders, members and other political leaders into PDP before the beginning of primaries into elective offices as from August 18.
“The Liyel Imoke Committee has done fantastic work and we are all excited about the prospect of a revitalised and stronger PDP.
“With most issues resolved in favour of R-APC and other defectors, the only four pegs of negotiation left are about conceding state party structure to R-APC on 60 to 40 per cent basis; automatic ticket; a change of name by PDP; and governorship ticket in some states.
“The committee recommended that 60 per cent of party structure at the ward, local government and state level should be given to R-APC while 40 per cent is left for old members.”
The source said the committee took into account the electoral value of the defecting R-APC leaders and the need to integrate the defectors into the PDP structure. But he said that state chairmen are opposed to the 60-40 per cent ratio.
“They said if the PDP leadership was serious, it should also allow a 60-40 per cent formula at the NWC level. This means that some National Working Committee members would have to sacrifice their mandate. We are managing it with maturity but state chairmen have not been convinced.
“Some party leaders and state chairmen are claiming that ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar did not re-join the party with terms. They are claiming that the R-APC leaders are demanding too much,” he said.
On the question of automatic ticket, the source said: “All our leaders have accepted to concede only the Office of the President of the Senate to Dr. Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives or a senatorial ticket to Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara if they make up their minds to defect.
“As for other aspirants for elective offices, they are to contest with other candidates based on local peculiarities, including the popularity of the defectors, power rotation formula, and the mood of the electorate.
“For example, some PDP leaders are pushing for automatic ticket for Senator Dino Melaye, but some parts of Kogi West Senatorial District said the Ijumu-Gbede axis will be holding on to the seat for 16 years if Melaye gets the slot. Senator Smart Adeyemi (from Iyara Ijumu) was the occupant of the seat for eight years.
“There is, however, a strong case for Senator Melaye. The party may persuade the aggrieved parts of the senatorial district to concede it to Melaye.
“The R-APC leaders are however seeking automatic tickets for all defectors.”
The source also said the automatic ticket matter could also affect the choice of governorship candidates in some states.
“For example, PDP leaders in Kwara State said they will prefer to produce the party’s gubernatorial candidate instead of the returning R-APC.
“The old PDP members in Bauchi, Sokoto, Kano, Jigawa, Kaduna, Yobe, Borno and other states are seeking governorship ticket in exchange for the acceptance of other conditions by R-APC.”
On the change of name, the highly-placed source added: “The BOT, NEC and NWC leaders have rejected the request to rename PDP because it will affect the structure of the party and time is not on our side in an election year.
“We have to write the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and go through a process which may be challenging.”
At press time, the official presentation of the report of Liyel Imoke Committee was being awaited.