Some leaders of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are reaching out to newly elected or re-elected federal legislators from the party and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to ensure a rancour-free election of principal officers of the 9th National Assembly.
The concerned PDP leaders, according to sources, are keen on persuading their fellow party members to shelve any idea of opposing the preferred choices of the majority APC during the election of Senate President and Speaker of House of Representatives.
Involved in the initiative are serving and newly elected governors, returning and outgoing senators as well as other chieftains of the opposition party.
“To many of them, it is time for the PDP to drop the toga of a party that is seen as disrupting governance through unnecessary opposition to the executive,” one of the sources told The Nation.
Also said to be working behind the scene for a peaceful take-off of the 9th national assembly are some non-political Nigerians.
Another well- placed source said: “I can tell you that the current leadership of the national assembly as well as the national leadership of the PDP, have at various times, played host to prominent Nigerians, traditional rulers and elder statesmen, as well as retired military top brass to talk on the need for a peaceful inauguration of the next assembly.”
It was reliably gathered that the decision of some PDP members-elect to openly endorse the candidacy of Femi Gabjabiamila as their preferred choice for the Speakership last week was a fall out of the efforts of the party leaders involved in the call for the party to play a more matured brand of opposition in the next dispensation.
Some of the PDP legislators who endorsed Gbajabiamila, it was learnt did so with the support of their political godfathers.
Continuing, the source said: “Currently, PDP leaders across the country are divided over how the party should approach the forthcoming dispensation.
“While we still have those who want our federal legislators to keep the APC government on its toes through very critical engagement in the chambers, there are now those who think otherwise, and the camp of the latter group is growing by the day.
“Their argument is that if the party is to return to its winning ways and be taken seriously by Nigerians, it must not be seen as a party which delights in staling governance.
“Many of them feel it is undemocratic for the PDP to seek to prevent the majority party from forming the leadership of the national assembly through very unconventional methods like infiltrating the ranks of the ruling party and encouraging its members to disobey its directives.
“That way, we are also encouraging disloyal acts within our own party. So, those in this school of thought are talking to party leaders and federal legislators on the need for us to change our approach as a party, and I think their efforts are yielding fruits.
“I need not tell you about PDP lawmakers-elect who endorsed APC’s Gbajabiamila during the week. You can see that many of them are well-known loyalists of prominent PDP leaders including serving and former governors as well as national leaders and Board of Trustee members.
“That is enough to tell you that the PDP is now open to a truce. It is left to the ruling party to take the fullest advantage of the trend and do more to accommodate our members-elect in the scheme of thing as the 9th assembly opens.
“It is not a new or strange thing. Governments of national unity are formed all over the world. What should be important is the need for a better executive-legislature relationship nest time,” the source, a serving senator said.
It was also gathered that efforts are on for a possible open endorsement of Senator Ahmed Lawan by some PDP senators-elect in the coming weeks.
According to our source, talks are currently on between the two camps on how the opposition party will be accommodated in the 9th assembly with the juicy committee and other pecks to ensure that the next Senate is more harmonious than in the outgoing 8th Senate.
“Nobody is desirous of a rubber stamp senate but we all must own up that the nation lost more than it gained from the many face-offs we witnessed in this current dispensation,” the source argued.
Consequent upon these developments, both Lawan and Gbajabiamila are said to be enjoying the support of many PDP leaders ahead of the inauguration of the 9th national assembly.
“The laid out plan of those involved is to ensure that PDP members-elect does not stage any plot that will backfire and create fresh acrimony in the national assembly after the inauguration.
“They have been talking to all the stakeholders and I am sure they are supporting the APC choices for the positions. That is the more I can tell you,” another source said.
Efforts to reach the PDP spokesperson, Kola Ologbodiyan on the matter proved abortive as calls to his lines were not going through.
A text message sent to him remained un-replied till press time.
However, a member of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) from the Southwest, who said he was not authorized to comment and sought anonymity, told the Nation that the party’s leadership was aware of the moves of the concerned chieftains and has expressed its opposition to their approach.
“We are aware and we have told them they are going about politics the wrong way,” he said.“It is not for us to seek a truce with the APC. It is the APC that should extend the olive branch.
“More so, we are still at the tribunal seeking the retrieval of our mandate. How can we then seek to work with them?
“The unfortunate part is that they are misleading some of our members-elect ahead of the inauguration of the next national assembly. I am sure we will soon make a public statement on this.”