Ahead of the 2015 general election, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has embarked on an aggressive drive to get top politicians to defect to the party.
In the past, politicians who are in other parties but sympathetic to President Goodluck Jonathan enjoyed the tacit support of the PDP in key elections.
This has seen the PDP engage in “anti-party” electioneering ─ providing weak support for its own candidates against the sympathetic politicians.
Governorship elections in Ondo, Anambra and Edo had gone that way before, but sources told TheCable that the PDP hierarchy has now decided that the party will not support any non-PDP candidate again.
In Lagos, for instance, TheCable was informed that Mr. Jimi Agbaje has been asked to join PDP to contest the governorship election next year.
Agbaje, who enjoys significant respect in the political circle of the state, is reportedly planning to contest the governorship on the platform of the Labour Party (LP) but the PDP chieftains are wooing him to defect.
In Ekiti, Mr. Opeyemi Bamidele, who left the All Progressives Congress (APC) to join LP ahead of the June 21 governorship election, was initially enjoying the tacit support of the PDP until Jonathan was persuaded to strengthen the party instead.
Eventually, Ayo Fayose emerged as the PDP candidate and defeated the incumbent governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, in a poll that shocked many Nigerians.
The south-west PDP recently issued “quit notice” to other parties, including Ondo State whose governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, is an ally of the present, although he belongs to the Labour Party.
Former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, has also been told to defect from the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to PDP before he could be considered for any federal appointment.
Obi, who has allied with Jonathan all along, was said to have resisted the pressure to defect, maintaining that he was not desperately looking for a job.
A senior PDP official told TheCable that “the new policy of the party is that if you want to use our platform to win elections or get appointments, then join us”.
One of the allegations levelled by former President Olusegun Obasanjo against Jonathan in his famous letter last year was anti-party activities.