The five aggrieved Peoples Democratic Party leaders under the aegis of the G-5 may dump the party ahead of the 2027 general election, Sunday PUNCH has learnt. This has been tied to ongoing moves by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, to woo one of them into the governing All Progressives Congress.
The G-5 is made up of Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde and former governors Nyesom Wike, Okezie Ikpeazu, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and Samuel Ortom of Rivers, Abia, Enugu and Benue states respectively.
The PDP chieftains opposed the continued stay of Senator Iyorchia Ayu as the PDP national chairman following the emergence of Atiku Abubakar as the PDP presidential candidate for the 2023 election. They also moved against Atiku, who lost the contest to APC’s Bola Tinubu, who is now the President.
It was gathered that the five PDP leaders have been in touch with Tinubu even as their party, the PDP, is challenging the outcome of the February 25 election at the Presidential Election Petition Court sitting in Abuja.
Wike, the leader of the group, has visited Tinubu at the Presidential Villa multiple times after the May 29 inauguration, a development that led PDP chieftains to question his continued membership of the PDP.
In an interview with Sunday PUNCH, a former Principal Special Assistant to Ortom, Raymond Magen, said, “Deep talks” were ongoing between the APC and the five opposition leaders which could lead to their defection in the months ahead.
Magen added, “They are talking on a consistent basis with the APC. These are not mere talks but deep-seated conversations between the PDP leaders and the ruling party. They may be joining the APC because there are no indications that they are still interested in what is going on in their party.”
Asked to throw more light on his claim, the former PSA said, “The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, for instance, has been talking to Ortom. The talks are deepening and at the end, G-5 members are expected to take a joint decision.”
A member of the PDP National Executive Committee, Diran Odeyemi, said the appointments to be made by Tinubu in the weeks ahead would reveal whether some of the G-5 leaders still have a part to play in the PDP.
He stated, “We have heard their utterances recently and they are indicative of where their hearts are. In the appointments to be made, it appears some of them may join the new government, and if that happens, it means they are already thinking about life without PDP.
“By and large, I think some of them will join the APC. They are not hiding it, just as they are no longer showing concern about the issues concerning their party. They are disappointed that their counsel was largely ignored by the PDP and now that what they feared (defeat) has come to pass; it is clear their focus is elsewhere.”
Odeyemi warned that it appeared a one-party state would be in the offing if leaders could not stay in their party to help build it into a winning platform but prefer to join the ruling party. “Even though it is too early to say what they are likely to do, it is all glaring for us to see where their treasures are now,” he added.
Wike and Makinde reportedly mobilised their party members to support Tinubu, while Ortom inaugurated a committee made up of some of trusted aides and allies to work for the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi.