Following the defection of five Peoples Democratic Party governors to the opposition All Progressives Congress, a major issue now confronting the merger is the fusion of party structures. In Ekiti, Osun, Oyo and a few other states, there seems to be no issue at all because the defected governors do not come from any of the states. For instance, Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi had declared that he would not have any problem working with the former governor of the state and court-removed PDP National Vice-Chairman, South-west, Chief Segun Oni, because, according to him, they both share progressive ideals. Osun does not seem to pose any problem also. In any case, former governor Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who is known to be a prominent figure in the New PDP and was conspicuously seen with the five governors when they announced their defection in Abuja, has recanted. He claimed he did not defect to APC. Oyinlola is yet to be reinstated by PDP as its National Secretary as ordered by the Court of Appeal.
But the fusion of the structures of New PDP and APC won’t come easy in states like Kwara, Adamawa and Kano. The PDP leader in Kwara State and former governor of the state, Senator Bukola Saraki, who led the New PDP into the merger with APC in Kwara, is the political godfather of the state Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed. The Saraki camp will naturally want to assume the leadership of APC in the state following the defection, as it (Saraki family) did when they left the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party for PDP to do battle with the late Governor Muhammed Lawal in the build-up to the 2003 election. How would former governorship candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria, now APC, in the state, Dele Belgore (SAN), and APC’s Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed from Irepodun local government area, respond to this? But the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is said to be appealing to all the party stalwarts to let the merger and integration of structures work, saying they should desist from fighting over sharing of party offices but rather concentrate their energies on how to take over power from the PDP at the national level. However, how the union of APC and New PDP plays out in Kwara in the weeks to come will be interesting indeed.
Already, however, the pang of the marriage is already rearing its ugly head in a state like Adamawa, where former gubernatorial aspirants in the state, Brigadier-General Buba Marwa (rtd) of the defunct Congress for Progressives Change, and Mr. Markus Gundiri of the defunct ACN and their supporters are at daggers drawn with Governor Murtala Nyako over the leadership of APC in the state. The APC interim national leadership had last weekend in Yola halted the planned press conference by the duo of Marwa and Gundiri to voice out their anger at the planned handing over of APC structure to Nyako. Sources had said the planned press conference was intended to inform the APC leadership that the duo would not allow Nyako to take over the structure of the party as its leader. But Nyako has urged the two major politicians of APC in the state to align with him in building a vibrant and formidable party that will bring hope to the people of the state. How they move to reconcile their differences would be clearer in the days ahead.