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COUP IN PDP: Atiku, 9 Govs float new party, apply to INEC for registration

Baring any last minute hitch, a new political party will berth in the already charged Nigerian political turf this week.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) confirmed on Wednesday that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and some Governors of the crisis-ridden ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have applied for the registration of a group, Peoples Progressive Movement (PPM), as a political party.

The commission said it is processing the application.

Kayodu Idowu, Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega, disclosed this to our correspondent on phone.

Among the Governors who are promoting the new political association are Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, Sule Lamido of Jigawa State and Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State.

The five Governors have been in the vanguard of dissent within the mainstream PDP.

They have been moving round the country to “consult” with past leaders to “save the country’s nascent democracy.”

Beside the five, there are also indications that Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State and Governor of Taraba may have decided to stake their political lot with the yet to be registered party.

Though it could not be confirmed at press time, the Speaker of the House of Representatives is also said to be sympathetic to the new group.

A former INEC National Commisioner, Mohammed Abubakar, a lawyer who is a close political ally of Atiku, filed the papers at INEC on behalf of the group.

A source privy to the development told Daily Independent on Wednesday that INEC will meet this week to give the political group the legal backing. “INEC will definitely meet this week. The party was supposed to be registered at the same time the All Progressives Congress (APC) was registered but for strategic reasons, it was withheld. But that should be done now since all hurdles have been cleared.”

It was also reliably gathered that Atiku may likely pursue his presidential ambition on the party’s platform when it comes on board.

The disagreement of the pro-Amaechi governors with the national leadership of the PDP came into the open on eve of the May 21, Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) election that led to the split in the Governors’ ranks.

One of the factions is led by Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State while the other is being championed by Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State.

The rumpus that followed the widely disputed election result has since escalated the crisis among the Governors, especially those belonging to the PDP.

It was learnt that the new political group petitioned INEC shortly after the registration of APC protesting their non-registration.

“INEC decided not to leak the petition to the media, preferring to sort things out behind the curtains,” our source revealed.

However, INEC chairman’s spokesman on Wednesday debunked insinuations that the commission refused to register the new group.

He also denied that INEC refused to respond to protest letters written by promoters of the political association.

According to Idowu, “There is an application from the group, and you know that there is a procedure for the registration of a political party; the commission is doing that in conformity with the Electoral Act.

“It is not true that the commission has not responded to their protest letter, we sent them a response that their application is being processed,” he added.

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