The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, agreed to change its name, thereby yielding to pressure from members of the Reformed-All Progressives Congress (rAPC) led by Engineer Buba Galadima as condition for them to fully join the leading opposition party.
Addressing newsmen at the end of the PDP’s 80th National Executive Committee (NEC) held yesterday in Abuja, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said a committee had been set up to work on the modalities of changing the name but declined to mention the chairman of the committee.
Our correspondents’ report that in the aftermath of the MoU the PDP signed with some 39 political parties, members of the rAPC who wanted to be in the coalition from the position of strength had demanded a change of name for the PDP and automatic ticket for its members.
Yesterday’s decision by the PDP NEC was seen as a breakthrough by rAPC members even though it was not yet clear if their second demand for automatic tickets for their members had been accepted.
“The party has set up a committee on harmonisation to commence the process for possible change of name as part of efforts to re-brand the party ahead of the 2019 general elections,” Ologbondiyan said.
“Based on the workings of the PDP, R-APC and others, the issue of name change is not about time-frame; the time is now. So let’s follow the trend as it unfolds,” he said.
The PDP spokesman said the decision became necessary in order to accommodate other interests willing to return to the party including the R-APC members.
He added that the party had designed a template on power sharing so as to give legitimacy to all undertakings.
A credible source in the PDP told the Daily Trust last night that they were working for a name that would start with a letter ‘A’.
“This is necessary so that our party would be on top of ballot papers during the 2019 elections; we down the ladder now because our name starts with letter ‘P’ and as you know, we have 68 political parties now and many more would be registered soon,” he said.
Yesterday’s decision by the PDP would likely put to rest months of suspicion that many prominent APC members would dump the party.
With the exception of few, most of the rAPC members were those that formed the New-PDP that broke away from the PDP in 2013; and thereafter joined members of the legacy parties that formed the APC which went ahead to win the 2015 general elections.
They included ex- Vice President Atiku Abubakar and serving governors at the time including Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto, Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara, Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano and Murtala Nyako of Adamawa. Some senators such as Bukola Saraki, Danjuma Goje among others; and Governor Aminu Tambuwal who was speaker at the time among many members of the House of Representatives all joined the APC.
The PDP NEC had also approved the expulsion of Senator Buruji Kashamu, Engr. Bayo Adebayo, Semiu Sodipo and Hon. Segun Seriki from the party on grounds of “gross misconduct.”
Mr Ologbondiyan also said the NEC approved the decision of the National Working Committee (NWC) to go to court over the result of the Ekiti State governorship election and set up a committee headed by the National Legal Adviser, Emmanuel Enoiden to look into the issues before filing the suit.
Some of the top politicians at the meeting were Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo of Gombe State, former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido; former Senate President, Adulphus Wabara; former governor of Kano State, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau; Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu; former governors of Katsina and Anambra states, Ibrahim Shema and Peter Obi; BoT Chairman, Sen. Walid Jibrin among many others.