PDP, LP, Balarabe Musa lament mass defection to APC
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party (LP) yesterday alerted the nation to the danger of mass defection by members of other political parties to the All Progressives Congress (APC) following its victory at the presidential election, saying the situation may scuttle effort to deliver good governance.
But the National Vice Chairman (South East) of the APC, Emma Eneukwu painted a picture of what may be the fate of those dumping their political parties to join the APC when he said they would be disappointed in the end.
Eneukwu, who spoke to The Guardian yesterday, said the sudden rush to the APC did not come to him as a surprise. He noted that the quest to continue to feed on state resources is the reason members of the defeated PDP are rushing towards the APC.
Saying the APC is left with no option but to admit the defectors, Eneukwu revealed that his party has put in place the mechanism that would ensure only those who toiled for APC when the going was tough would be rewarded.
“We know those fair weather defectors; they are rushing to join us now because they have been used to the spoils of office; the PDP is used to embezzlement tendency. So they know that once they are out of power, remaining in the opposition would be a very great task.”
“For some of us, we have been used to life in the opposition camp for the past 16 years and we survived in spite of the pain that comes with it. Those running away know that they can’t see money again and that is why they cannot stay in PDP, and you can see the mass exodus to our party.
“I agree the mass exodus to our party could lead to implosion but there is nothing we can do about it. We can’t stop them but we would make sure that those who started with the APC a long time ago are rewarded because we were there when things were tough for us.”
The LP, in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday by its National Secretary, Kayode Ajulo, warned that the country could be dragged into a one party structure, with the ruling PDP members defecting in drones daily to the APC and the later welcoming them without looking at the implications.
The LP expressed regret that rather than putting themselves together to function as a leading opposition party so as to check the activities of the APC when power finally changes hand on May 29, members of the PDP have shown that they are not ready to play opposition politics in the way they have quickly chickened out and cowed themselves into the APC.
The party said: “Events since the flag bearer of the APC, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, was declared winner of the March 28 presidential election have shown that the APC is a party of intolerant go-getters, who would not brook opposing views, much less allow an opposition party to survive.
With the APC, there is no doubt that our fledgling democracy is at risk of devouring avariciousness of a one-party state,” LP said. It counseled that the opposition must be prepared for an enduring battle to save the country’s democracy, while chiding the PDP for it’s inability to present a picture of a party ready to play opposition in the coming dispensation.
“The PDP have serious problems in Ondo, Abia, Adamawa, Kwara and Edo states where the party leaderships have all moved into the APC and in several other states, the party is in disarray.
“The PDP is not prepared to play its part as opposition. But then our democracy has to be saved from the abysmal danger of an emerging one party state. We must not fail to learn a lesson from the exemplary response of President Goodluck Jonathan to the outcome of the March 28 presidential election in building a strong opposition from the scratch”
“Our party, the Labour Party, believes that this is a task that must be done and done in earnest. We are ready to play our part. We are ready to bell the cat. It is an onerous duty. To save our democracy and our country Nigeria is a task that must be done. It is time to act.”
The PDP also lamented the gale of defection to APC, noting that already, the APC is contending with challenges of sharing National Assembly and executive positions among its original members and those who defected into the party.
The PDP leadership yesterday reviewed the trend and submitted that those defections would not necessarily add value to the APC and the incoming administration.
In an interview with The Guardian yesterday, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, cautioned the APC over the defection, pointing out that most of the defectors were persons who added little value to the successes recorded by the PDP and its government in the last 16 years.
He said: “I think Nigeria will be heading for serious trouble if the APC failed to learn from the mistakes of the PDP on account of the persons hurriedly jumping into its ship by way of defection.
What are the characters of these defectors? What values can they add? What lessons are they teaching the upcoming generations of politicians and leaders by defecting from their own political party immediately after election? What are their motives for defecting? These are some of the basic questions that should be asked.”
According to Metuh, “We must look at the values we are bequeathing to our younger ones through our actions. I think it is the height of political truancy to be jumping from party to party for reasons other than national interests.
“The same trouble shooters who never added much value to our success in the PDP are now dominating the APC and seeking to call the shots. If this trend continues unchecked, we may be heading to a situation that will throw the APC into more serious internal crisis that would distracts it’s attention from the main business of governance.”
The Senate President, David Mark, had also expressed concers that those defecting to the APC might not be doing so for reasons of assisting the new ruling party to deliver good governance.
He said: “The outcome of the presidential election in favour of APC is the will of God and majority of Nigerians. We in the PDP have accepted the result in good faith.
Those drifting to the APC now are fair weather friends of the PDP. They are seeking new green areas. When the PDP bounces back, they will seek another return to the PDP.”
He vowed to remain in the party to contribute to its rebuilding.
“I believe in PDP manifestos. I will work hard to bring the party back on track. What is important is that we have established democracy in Nigeria”.
Also, the National Chairman, Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), Alhaji Balarabe Musa, said the defections had undermined the nation’s political development. Musa described as “mindless” the manner in which politicians defect to other political parties, adding that there is the need to check the trend for stability within the polity.
Musa said: “The defection by members of political parties is mindless. This is because there is a lot of loose money in the country and anybody with sufficient money can go to any other party to achieve his ambition. The root of defection is money politics.
“This lack of internal democracy is what results to this threatening level of defection in the country.” he said. He, however, said defection on its own is not wrong as it is democratic. “Normally there is nothing wrong with defection, it is democratic, it is the utilisation of the constitutional provision for freedom of association and choice,” he said.
He explained that the phenomenon happened in all countries of the world, adding that in advanced countries, defection happens rarely and if it happened, there should be honourable reasons for it.