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2019: Fresh Crisis Brews In APC As Oshiomhole, Governors Split Over Senatorial Tickets


Adams Oshiomhole and Nasir El-Rufai
A round of fresh crisis might have struck in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC between its national Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and the majority of the Governors in the party.

The crisis is not unconnected to the reported planned automatic tickets offered to aggrieved National Assembly members in their constituencies in a last-ditch effort to stop the impending defection of the lawmakers from the party.

The party chairman, Oshiomhole in a bid to thwart the planned mass defection of the legislators, which has been slated for the floor of the National Assembly on Thursday reportedly offered the lawmakers automatic tickets in their various constituencies, a decision that does not go down well with some outgoing APC governors who had planned to contest the seats currently occupied by some senators from their respective states.

It was also reliably gathered that some of the governors were bent on imposing their successors on the APC and blocking senators who wanted to get the governorship tickets ahead of the 2019 elections. The governors, however, have vowed to scuttle the planned automatic ticket.

According to Punch Newspaper, the aggrieved APC senators and members of the House of Representatives were determined to formally announce their defection before the National Assembly goes on its eight-week recess on Thursday.

It was gathered that the lawmakers would like to take a final decision on their continued membership of the APC this week to be sure of the platform on which they would contest the 2019 elections.

Primaries of most of the political parties will hold between August and September, a period the National Assembly may still be on vacation.

It was learnt that the only thing that could prevent the defection of the lawmakers was the ongoing negotiation between the APC and the leadership of the Reformed APC.

It was also gathered that the aggrieved lawmakers in the R-APC would hold a make-or-break meeting with their leaders on Tuesday where a final decision on the planned defection would be taken.

A senator, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of identification, said the proposed mass defection from the APC at the National Assembly was scheduled for the last day of the session to manage the tension that would likely follow the announcement.

He said what could stop the mass defection on Thursday was the automatic ticket the APC was offering the lawmakers. The lawmakers, it was gathered, had insisted that the APC must put the offer in writing.

Asked to confirm the Thursday declaration of the defection, the senator said, “It is true. It is most likely on Thursday, but I can assure you that if the APC gives Saraki and the rest of us letters (on automatic tickets), that is all (about the planned defection).”

Also, in the House of Representatives, investigations showed that members were waiting for the outcome of the ongoing negotiations between the leadership of the R-APC and the APC National Working Committee before taking a final decision on whether to defect on Thursday or not.

It was gathered that one of the issues on offer was the automatic tickets for the lawmakers in the 2019 elections.

One of the members said, “Nothing has been concretised, but I will say there have been talks, including the offer of automatic tickets.”

Another member confided in our source that the R-APC lawmakers were expecting to be briefed on Tuesday by their leaders to decide on the way forward.

“Our plan to defect has not changed. But our leaders are in talks with them (APC) and we are patiently waiting.”

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