• Lawmakers seek automatic ticket
• VP slot: Party leaders weigh options on Wike, Akpabio, Fayose, Ekweremadu, Duke
As part of its plot to wrestle power from the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has commenced secret talks with some APC Senators and members of the House of Representatives for the purpose of luring them.
But most of those contacted want an automatic return ticket to the National Assembly.
The party is yet to accede to the request.
Besides, some leaders of the party are weighing options on who should get the slot of the Vice Presidential candidate of the party in 2019.
Some of those either purportedly interested or being tipped are Senate Deputy President Ike Ekweremadu; Senate Minority Leader Godswill Akpabio, Governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers) and Ayo Fayose (Ekiti), and ex Cross Rivers State Governor Donald Duke.
It was learnt that while the VP slot will go to either the South-East or South-South, the South West might produce the National Chairman of the party in December when the tenure of the National Caretaker Committee, headed by Sen. Ahmed Makarfi is scheduled to end.
Investigation by our correspondent indicated that the PDP is already making an inroad into the National Assembly to consolidate its rebranding process.
A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: "Apart from some former governors and ex-leaders who defected to APC, the opposition party has opened talks with some Senators and members of the House of Representatives to defect to PDP.
"Some of those affected include Senators and Representatives as 'electoral assets' who can give APC a good fight in 2019 in their districts and constituencies.
"A few of the Senators are also technically no longer in APC due to alleged disagreement with their governors and party leaders.
"The secret talks have started with the hope that PDP might strengthen its hold as an opposition party.
"The legal implications of the defection of the lawmakers are being looked into by a team."
Responding to a question, the source added: "We have had four to five meetings in the past few weeks since the Supreme Court judgment on the crisis in PDP."
Findings revealed that an APC Senator was celebrated yesterday in Abuja at a function as "a leader who will soon join PDP."
The Senator, who did not deny the announcement, was at peace with the applause which greeted his proposed defection.
A member of the House of Representatives, who spoke with our correspondent, said: " Some of us have been getting overtures from PDP in the spirit of reconciliation but we want a commitment that our return ticket to the House will be guaranteed.
"We have not seen the green light on automatic return ticket yet. But return ticket is certainly a major issue if we are to go back to PDP.
"I and some colleagues have attended some meetings on why we should go back to PDP."
Another House member said: "Some of our leaders are really discussing with PDP. We will follow once we get a directive from these leaders.
"In politics, there is no permanent friend but you have a permanent enemy, who is your opponent from any party."
Meanwhile, there were indications last night that the PDP might concede its vice presidential ticket to either the South-East or the South-South.
A party leader said: "It is settled that our presidential ticket is going to the North. We are looking to the South-South and the South-East to pick the running mate.
"Once we get the candidate from the North right, PDP will coast to victory in 2019. This time around, we are really being careful. We are thinking of working on the old formula of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in zoning elected offices.
"Some of those on the cards are Ekweremadu, Akpabio, Governors Wike and Ayo Fayose, and ex-Governor Donald Duke.
"We may have more candidates by the time we hold our elective convention in December."