The Abubakar Kawu Baraje-led new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) suffered a major blow to its ranks as one of its back bones, Niger State governor, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, has reportedly pulled out citing his discomfort with the faction as reason for his action.
The new PDP was formed by seven serving PDP governors, who are also referred to as the G-7 comprising the Kano State governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Jigawa State governor Sule Lamido, Adamawa State Governor Murtala Nyako, Sokoto State Governor Aliyu Wamakko, Kwara State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi and Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu.
But a source close to the governor revealed yesterday that the governor opted to pull out of the faction quietly to avoid raising eyebrows.
According to him, Gov. Aliyu is withdrawing from the New PDP to salvage what is left of his political career and ease his bid to anoint a successor with the least opposition from the party.
“His Excellency is not comfortable with the direction the new PDP is taking especially in his state where any tiny slip would deprive him of the control of the party’s political machinery. He would be required to set up a new party structure and leave the formidable structure the PDP already has in place for others to use,” the source said.
Governor Aliyu, he said, became perturbed by the readiness with which his predecessor – Abdulkadir Kure and a former Minister of Information, Professor Jerry Gana were angling to take over control of the PDP structure in Niger state.
The governor’s sudden change of mind, it was learnt, was also as a result of pressure from friends and political associates, who have been pleading with him to return to the mainstream PDP, promising to get him President Goodluck Jonathan’s support in the choice of a successor.
The source said since joining the New PDP, Gov. Aliyu had received three powerful emissaries from the Presidency and the ruling party urging him to disown the group and return to the Bamanga Tukur led PDP.
“They all pleaded with him to return to the PDP saying as a doctorate degree holder, he should view things differently from his other colleagues in the new PDP,” the source said.
The last time the Niger State governor attended a meeting of the G-7 was on Monday, October 7, at the peace talks with President Jonathan at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa before he jetted out to Saudi Arabia for hajj.
It was also gathered that he was in the country when the G-7 governors met last Sunday in Abuja but decided to stay away.
In his reaction to the story, the governor’s Press Secretary, Danladi Ndayebo failed to confirm or deny the development, saying whatever problem that exists within the new PDP is an internal one and that efforts are being made towards reconciling all members.
National publicity secretary of the new PDP, Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, also could not be reached as his lines were not available.