Yemi Adedeji, Abuja
The Social Democratic Party (SDP) has agreed to nest the much touted third force being championed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, and some aggrieved members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Though, a high powered committee headed by Governor Henry Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State was immediately set up by the PDP to reconcile the aggrieved members of the party aftermath of the party’s convention.
However, Elendu Reports gathered that the likes of Gana, Adeniran and Orubebe,all founding members of the PDP, are still displeased with what they see as the hijack of the party by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and others during the party’s last national convention.
Adeniran was defeated in a bitter chairmanship election by Wike’s candidate, Uche Secondus.
But Dickson’s effort appears to have hit the rock as the aggrieved party chieftains launched into a marathon meeting/negotiation with the leadership of SDP on Thursday night in Abuja for a merger.
The meeting ended early yesterday with the the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by the coalescing group at Ladi Kwali Hall in Sheraton Hotel, Abuja.
Three former ministers are leading an exodus of top aggrieved members of PDP after efforts to heal the wounds of the last national convention of the party hit the rocks.
Former Information Minister Jerry Gana, ex-Education Minister Tunde Adeniran and ex-Niger Delta Minister Godsday Orubebe are moving to the SDP which is merging with the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Peoples Salvation Party (PSP) to form a formidable party ahead of next year’s elections.
Joseph Akaagerger, a former Military Administrator of Katsina State, Peter Godsday Orubebe, ex Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mike Oghiadhome, a former Chief of Staff to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan; Taminu Turaki, ex governor of Jigawa State; and Olu Agunloye, ex-Minister of Defence, and Dare Emiola, a former Deputy Speaker of Ondo State House of Assembly, joined Gana from PDP.
Also,Junaid Mohammed, a strong critic of the Buhari administration and a former member of the House of Representatives; Sen. Bassey Ewa Hensaw; a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Olamide Oni; Supo Shonibare (South-West Zonal chairman of SDP), Hon. Dipo Olaitan (a former leader of the Alliance for Democracy in the House of Representatives); a former Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, Kehinde Ayoola; Amb. Yemi Farounbi; leaders of the Middle Belt Forum; Mr. John Dara; the leaders of the National Intervention Forum led by Dr. Tafawa Balewa; Amb Bejide; Shehu Gabam are also teaming up with the SDP.
Giving further details, Mohammed stated: “Those involved in SDP are the Peoples Redemption Party(PRP), Peoples Salvation Party(PSP), the Social Democratic Party(SDP) and some elements of Peoples Democratic Party(PDP). It was like a merger but we do not want to call it so because the All Progressives Congress(APC) has destroyed the concept of merger.
“I am an optimist, I believe SDP will make a great impact. The main reason I want to be associated with it is because it is ideologically driven. Even it was not ideologically driven before, it has to be ideologically driven.
Asked if some governors and National Assembly members have subscribed to SDP, Mohammed added: “It is not compulsory to have governors or members of the National Assembly in a party to succeed. There are about 65 to 67 parties thereabout in the country. In terms of electoral performance, most of the parties are not on ground. The two parties which have led the country are not doing well. They have impacted negatively on the economy and our political life. A three-party or a four or five -party system will be better.”
A top source in the SDP said: “The SDP has been approached by the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) which has been founded by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo. We are hopeful that our ongoing talks will be fruitful. We share common ideals with the CNM on how to move the nation forward.”
A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae is a stalwart of the SDP.
Although ex-Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State and a former Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ibrahim Mantu were part of the preliminary talks, it was unclear why they were not at the signing of the MoU.
A highly placed source in the group said:”As a matter of fact, Mantu propped up the name of a party which should be included in the merger but it was rejected. He attended the initial meeting but by the time the MoU was signed, he was not there.
“We are hopeful that he will be at our subsequent meetings. Some of our leaders are suspecting that Mantu may chicken out because he has been begging Adeniran and Gana not to leave PDP.