As the gale of defection sweeps across the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and other parties, two high profile politicians are set to join the opposition party, the Peoples Democratic P (PDP).
A report that Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal, and his Kwara State counterpart, Abdulfatah Ahmed, have concluded arrangement to dump the ruling APC for the PDP.
On Tuesday, the National Assembly and indeed the entire Nigeria, was hit by mass defection of 15 senators, 37 members of the House of Representative to the PDP, thereby sending signal for a fierce national election against the ruling APC in 2019.
Prior to the drama at the National Assembly on Tuesday, a chieftain of the PDP had earlier revealed to The Daily Times the offers his party made to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and Tambuwal.
Other top government functionaries and party stalwarts from across divides that the PDP made offers to include Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom, former governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Kwakwanso and former Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau.
The party also promised to ensure that former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswll Akpabio, emerges as Senate Majority Leader as the party believes it would emerge majority in the Senate and House of Representatives after the 2019 elections
According to the reliable PDP source, who is part of the negotiating team for the merger and political realignments aimed at expanding the party’s area of control, everything legally possible under the sun is being done to ensure that President Muhammadu Buhari and his party, APC , are defeated in the 2019 election.
The source had claimed that part of the offer was that every member of the party who is qualified to run for the office of the president would be allowed to contest the party’s ticket with level playing grounds, adding however that Saraki, Dogara, Tambuwal and others have specific positions reserved for them if they try and failed to win the PDP presidential ticket.
Meanwhile, the embattled Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has finally defected from the APC to the PDP. The governor announced his defection at a meeting with local government chairmen and councilors at the Government House, Makurdi, on Wednesday.
Governor Ortom announced that his resignation letter had been sent to the chairman of the APC in his ward. He said, “I have formally resigned from the APC to the PDP and have presented my letter of resignation to the party’s chairman of my ward.
“The chairman and other officers of my ward also indicated their interest to join me in my new party. I am too young to retire from politics,” Governor Ortom’s defection comes a day after Terkimbi Ikyange, Speaker of Benue State House of Assembly, who is a member of APC, was impeached and replaced by a PDP member as speaker.
Recalled that Governor Ortom was a member of PDP who served as Minister of state for Trade and Investment under ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and later left the PDP for APC in 2014.
Earlier before the announcement of Governor Ortoms’ defection on Wednesday, irate youths in Markurdi, the Benue State capital, prevented the Governor from attending a scheduled meeting with the APC leadership in Abuja.
The youths, who displayed various placards with various inscriptions such as “Ortom don’t go back to APC,” “We don’t have land to donate for ranching,” “APC is Miyetti Allah party,” Our farms are not for cows, “You must leave APC, or forget Ortom 2019”, blocked the main entrance to Government House where the Governor was to take off from.
Leader of the youths, Terrence Kuanum, and Pastor Dave Ogbole, advised the Governor not to make the trip for further discussions with the APC leadership on his membership of the party but to rather look for an alternative platform.
The youths also threatened that if Ortom proceed to attend the APC meeting, they would vote him out in 2019 even as they angrily tore APC flags hanged across the fence of Government House. Despite Ortom’s plea, the youths’ coalition insisted that the only option available to him was for the Governor to renounce his membership of the APC. Ortom’s finally succumbed while the irate youths lifted him sky ward and there was jubilation all through the Government House.
With the defection of Ortom from the APC to the PDP, the ruling party has lost one of its 25 states to the opposition PDP.
Meanwhile, the PDP has welcomed Ortom back to its fold and urged all its members in APC to return back ‘home’ and salvage the nation.
In a statement made available on Wednesday by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party hailed Governor Ortom for showing patriotic courage and boldness in these times of brazen dictatorship. The PDP said, “The return of the Governor to PDP confirms the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari’s led-administration and the All Progressives Congress (APC) do not have the welfare of Nigerians at heart, as they have continually offered flimsy excuses over the mindless killings that have caused untold sorrows across the country, particularly, Benue State.
“PDP recalls that the Buhari-led Federal Government has failed in its basic responsibility of protecting live, property, territorial integrity of our nation. “Painfully, Nigerians are being slaughtered in Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Kaduna, Zamfara, Sokoto, nearly on daily basis”.
The party also recalled how the APC-led Buhari administration, would rather plead for the accomodation of persons whom have been repeatedly fingered as being responsible for heinous killings in the Benue valley rather than take decisive and concrete actions to preserve lives of Nigerians.
The PDP however hailed the Governor for standing firm by the people of Benue State and refusing to mortgage their welfare to a government that has consistently demonstrated cluelessness.
Ologbondiyan said, “We urge the governor to be rest assured that he will be accorded his dues and rights as a member of the PDP.
“The return of the Governor Ortom to our party, which is a reflection of his people’s desires, further confirms the rejection of the Buhari-led APC administration by Nigerians. “It also buttresses the fact that PDP remains the viable platform for all Nigerians that are desirous of rescuing our nation from the gross misgovernance and authoritarianism exhibited by the APC-led administration “.
However, the Chairman, Ogun State Chapter of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Dr. Gbolade Osinowo, has described the defection of 14 senators and 37 members of the House of Representatives from the ruling APC to the PDP and the African Democratic Congress (ADC) as the beginning of the end for the APC.
Osinowo, who said this in a statement signed by the Assistant Publicity Secretary of ADC in Ogun State, Hon. Leke Adesanya, on Wednesday, noted that the lawmakers had indicated, with their defection, that they were sorry for being part of a party that had misled Nigerians and caused them pain for so long.
Osinowo said: “The ADC, Ogun State, welcomes the news of the defection of over 51lawmakers from the APC to the PDP and the ADC with great pleasure. “The 14 senators and 37 members of the House of Representatives, who officially left the ruling party on Tuesday, despite the co-ordinated oppression by the leaders of the ruling party in collaboration with the security agencies, signaled the beginning of the end of APC rule in Nigeria.
“The ADC Ogun State sees the defection as a sign of remorse for the decamping lawmakers, who have indicated, with their action, that they are sorry for being part of a party that has failed Nigerians in all ramifications. Now, that they have joined the rescue team of the Coalition of United Political Parties, they are welcome on board in the joint effort at reuniting Nigeria, rejuvenating the economy, alleviating excruciating poverty and healing wounds.
” He added: “The task ahead is tough, but with the cooperation of patriotic Nigerians, who would not queue blindly behind clueless leaders at the expense of Nigerians and the economy, the ADC, and the entire members of the grand alliance will rescue Nigeria from the claws of economic saboteurs. “The APC now knows that the die is cast.
Nigerians have spoken through their representatives, and they will continue speaking, until the President and his collaborators on the mission to ruin Nigeria and its economy appreciate the fact that citizens are very angry and have decided to salvage the situation with their votes.
“Never in the history of this country have we been so divided; yet, the ruling party has continued to mislead the electorate by holding on to their pre-2015 deceit of being a party committed to fighting corruption. With the Ekiti election, where votes were bought by parties, including APC, as the highest bidder, despite the 33,000 policemen, two helicopters and 4 ACPs, among others, that were deployed to cover the elections, no one needs to tell Nigerians that the APC headquarters is the base of corruption in Nigeria.
” The chairman said that right now, the ADC in Ogun State and in Nigeria “is saying enough is enough.” “We are fielding the right aspirants, right minds, who have all it takes to steer the affairs of the state and the nation away from the hardship imposed by incompetent leadership. Together we will make Nigeria greater,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has invited senators of the All Progressive Congress (APC) to the presidential villa in Abuja. A presidential source disclosed that Buhari would meet the lawmakers by 10pm at the First Lady’s conference room. The meeting comes a day after the ruling party lost 14 senators and 37 members of the House of Representatives to the opposition PDP.
NAN described the meeting between the president and the senators as part of the president’s “engagement with critical stakeholders to build synergy and consensus on national issues”. On July 20, Buhari met with members of the Parliamentary Support Group, house of representatives chapter, where members renewed their support to the president. The president has been holding a lot of meeting with stakeholders instrumental to his reelection.
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