By Ishaku Yohanna, Abuja
Ex-Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the All Progressives Congress, (APC).
Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee, who is also the Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, broke the news to state House Correspondents after he and Dogara met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Friday.
“We paid a courtesy call on the president in continuation of our effort to rebuild the party. We are here to see Mr. President and brief him on the development,” Buni said.
Asked why Dogara accompanied him, he said: “The former speaker is a member of the APC… he is back because the reason he left the APC is no more there.
“He (Buhari) welcomed him (Dogara). He’s happy with the development. That’s what he’s looking for. We are rebuilding the party and these are the steps we are taking towards rebuilding the party.”
Buni said efforts are in place to reach out to other aggrieved members of the party.
“We are rebuilding the party to outlive all of us. It’s not only about specific time or period, it’s not about election, and it’s not about electioneering. It is about building a party,” he said.
Dogara, who has been representing Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa Balewa Federal Constituency since 2007, was first in the PDP until 2014 when he, alongside former Senate President Bukola Saraki, former governor of Rivers state who is the present Minister of Transport, Chibueke Rotimi Amaechi, among others, decamped to the then newly formed APC.
He won his legislative seat in the 2015 general elections and subsequently emerged as the 14th Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives.
But Dogara had in January 2019 left the APC for the PDP after having political confrontation for about two years with the former governor of Bauchi State, Mohammed Abubakar, who lost his reelection.
He was again reelected into the House of Representatives on the platform of the PDP in the 2019 general elections.
According to Bashir Ahmad, Personal Assistant on New Media to the President Muhammadu Buhari, Dogara broke no law with his decision to dump the opposition PDP for the ruling APC.
Meanwhile, criticisms have trailed the defection move of Dogara, who recently chaired the screening committee of the PDP for the 2020 Ondo governorship election.
Responding to such criticisms, Ahmad tweeted: “That’s purely politics, no rule is broken here, Obaseki left and Dogara is back. That’s the law of this game, when you leave; another will come and fill the space. And it will continue to be like that till the end of the game. The best, don’t stress yourself over it. Be moderate!”
In another development, the consensus candidate of the Unity Group of the APC in Ondo State and the first runner up in the party governorship primary, Chief Olusola Oke has said that himself and the group are not planning to leave APC, but some conditions must be met within seven days.
Speculation was rife that Oke was planning to defect to another party to contest for the October 10 governorship election after losing to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu in the primary.
But after a meeting with leaders and members of the Unity Group in Akure, the group gave some conditions to Governor Akeredolu which should be met within the next seven days and all terms agreed upon.
Addressing newsmen, Oke said that “We have resolved that we remain members of the APC in Ondo State and our respective wards and that we are interested in a cohesive, united APC where I’d no disconnection, where all members will be treated as equal, where government patronages will no longer be sectional and right and privileges of members will be respected without hindrance.
“The group will take further decisions in the next seven days by that time all decision should have been finalised.
“We agreed that it is not in the interest of any member of the party for the party to slide into the hand of opposition and therefore unless unavoidable.
“We will do everything possible on our part subject to the condition and terms that will be given out to retain the party in power in Ondo State.
“We also agreed that the incumbent governor representing team Akeredolu has made overtures to us for discussion for reconciliation and our team will be ready to participate in any reconciliation efforts, genuinely undertaken by the party leadership from the national secretariat to the zone and to the state.
“Our group insist that because of the experience in the past, where promises were made but not kept, where people were given assurances but were denied, it is therefore important that the reconciliation should be comprehensive and that the only reconciliation that will instil the confidence on our people.
“We acknowledge that our followership accounts for more than 50 per cent of the APC governorship in Ondo State and that we believe in APC and we are interested in the preservation of the party, governance of APC, subject to modification, adjustment, redirection and refocusing that will be contained in our charter of demands which will be sent to the governor and the leadership of the party.”