The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leadership is deliberating with imposing fines on its incoming members who back the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidates in the fight for the National Assembly leadership.
The action is a result of the ongoing leadership dispute inside the party between former vice president Atiku Abubakar and former governor of Rivers State Nyesom Wike.
Sen. Godswill Akpabio and Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, two APC candidates running for leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively, had backing from Wike.
A source, who spoke to ENIGERIA, said the party leadership is poised to threaten its members-elect who vote for Akpabio and Abbas on June 13 when the National Assembly is inaugurated.
The PDP is now holding a retreat in Akwa Ibom State in order to help the party establish a unified front.
The competition for the leadership of the National Assembly, according to a source familiar with the intrigues surrounding the leadership struggle for the PDP’s soul, has heightened the conflict between the Atiku and Wike camps.
The source said, “We are resolved to defeat whoever the ruling party chooses to lead the 10th Assembly; that is their prerogative, and it is also our prerogative to oppose them. We are prepared to prevent them from controlling the Parliament, as they seek to do.”
The source said the party will not sit back and allow the ruling party to corner all the positions, adding that since the APC was bent on insisting that its adopted candidates are voted into office, the PDP will also insist its members-elect follow the party’s instruction.
“As a result, one of the important things we will discuss and decide is that all of our members should support candidates besides Akpabio in the Senate and Abbas in the House of Representatives.
“And to prove that we’re serious, we’ll inform them in front of everyone during our retreat in Uyo starting on Wednesday that following our instructions is the only way for any lawmaker who wants to return.
“It is required, and the goal of doing this is to identify the true supporters of our party. We have previously observed that some former governors who are vying for federal jobs brag about having the backing of more than half of the legislature.
“We’ll enforce it so that any PDP legislator—even a governor—who backs Akpabio and Abbas would be refused a return ticket. They must decide whether to support the PDP candidate or not, in which case they risk losing the tickets they had planned to use to play the game.
“Consequently, at our level, we are likewise committed to distinguish between those who are a part of the anti-party clique and those who truly supported our presidential candidate. We won’t let anyone sabotage us,” the source explained.