In his bid to secure his re-election, President Goodluck Jonathan has commenced series of initiatives that would guarantee a good showing for his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South West region at the forthcoming general election.
Sources who spoke to journalists separately in Lagos yesterday stated that while the president has commenced consultative meetings with members of the PDP in the zone, he has also been stepping up efforts to ensure that the entire structure of the Labour Party (LP) in the region dissolves finally into the PDP.
The sources stated that the decision to quicken the defection of LP members was to ensure that those who formally defect take part in the forthcoming congresses where the candidates of the PDP are expected to emerge.
It was gathered that one of the major schemes is the setting up of a machinery to absorb members of the LP in the South West, being one of the decisions reached at the formal declaration of Ondo State governor, Olusegun Mimiko for the PDP in Abuja recently.
The governor had formally dumped the LP, upon which he secured the governorship of the state, for the PDP recently in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
According to the source who is close to the Ondo State governor, efforts are being made to woo other chieftains of the LP, particularly governorship candidates of the party in Osun and Ekiti states as well as chieftains such as former Ogun State governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel.
Though Fatai Akinbade, the LP candidate in the August 9 governorship election in Osun has said he has no desire to join the PDP, his counterpart in Ekiti, Opeyemi Bamidele is said to be torn between those lobbying him from the All Progressives Congress (APC) and chieftains of the PDP.
Sources told journalists that Mimiko has been mandated to ensure that prominent members of the LP in the zone defect to the PDP “soonest” to be able to take part in the series of congresses that would produce flag bearers for the PDP.
“When we met Vice President (Namadi) Sambo where the governor (Mimiko) decamped to the PDP, a machinery was put in place to ensure that a grand ceremony that will formally welcome the governor back to the PDP takes place soonest”.
“When the defection took place during the last national security council meeting in Abuja, the governor was told to spearhead the process of bringing on board, prominent members of the LP in the South West back to the PDP. They have promised to storm Akure soonest to welcome prominent members back to where they belong,” the source said.
A party executive member told our correspondent that “the date for the grand reception would soon be announced but what I can tell you now is that pressure is being mounted so that those who would be returning would take part in the forthcoming congresses.”
“You know the election is few months away and the president is not taking chances at all, so it won’t be out of place to woo those considered relevant to his bid, while at the same time, winning others very important to make the bid work to his side.”
Party sources also told our correspondent that the president is also contemplating a meeting with a former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo but at the time of filing this report, the meeting was yet to take place.
A party chieftain stated that the envisaged visit is sequel to an earlier one undertaken by a delegation of the party led by the Senate president, David Mark.