18 April 2022
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Several factions of the All Progressives Congress in at least 12 states have started defecting to the Peoples Democratic Party and the Social Democratic Party ahead of the primaries which begin next month, The PUNCH has learnt.
The crisis began last year as fallout of the party congresses in the states which led to the emergence of factions.
The PUNCH learnt that although the crisis began while then Caretaker Chairman, Governor Mai Mala Buni, was still in charge, a decision of the new Chairman of the APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, to take sides with some of the factions in court had also deepened the crisis in the party.
Already, the Speaker of the Sokoto State House of Assembly, Aminu Achida, and the Deputy Chief Whip, Alhaji Murtala Maigona, who have been engaged in a feud with a former Governor of Sokoto, Senator Aliyu Wamakko, have both defected to the PDP following Adamu’s decision to recognise Wamakko’s faction.
The PUNCH had reported that Adamu had ordered the APC legal team to withdraw all cases from the Court of Appeal and obey all subsisting High Court judgments instead.
This decision was not well received in some states including in Akwa Ibom where the faction loyal to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, was inaugurated to the chagrin of erstwhile Caretaker Secretary, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, who is now accusing Adamu of disregarding an order of the Court of Appeal that the status quo be maintained.
Last month, the faction in Kwara State loyal to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, defected to the SDP.
With party primaries beginning next month, APC factions who have lost out are now defecting at a fast rate.
In Zamfara State, a former Governor, Abdul’Aziz Yari; an ex-lawmaker, Senator Kabiru Mafara; and other top APC members have almost finalised plans to join the PDP.
Briefing journalists in Gusau on Sunday, the PDP chairman, Colonel Bala Mande (retd.), said the party had received Yari, Marafa and other top APC members who have joined the party together with their supporters.
Mande said, “Gentlemen of the press, we have called you to brief you on the joining of our great party the PDP by former Governor Yari, Senator Kabiru Mafara and their supporters. They have joined us, we have reached an agreement and we are going to implement the agreement.
“We have agreed to be together in one party, the PDP and work together for the success of the party. We have also agreed to work extra hard in order to reclaim Zamfara State in 2023 and save its people from the present their predicament. I have given the stakeholders a complete update of where we are as a result of this development.”
The chairman maintained that, Yari, Marafa and other top APC members would be officially received in Gusau in a colourful ceremony.
However, Marafa told The PUNCH that negotiations are still ongoing.
“No, it (defection report) is not correct. We are talking. It is not correct,” he stated.
Speaking with The PUNCH on Sunday, the former ranking member of the Senate, who criticised the APC for handing over the structure of the party in Zamfara State to “new comers,” said other parties had begun to approach him and Yari.
Marafa lamented the alleged marginalisation of founding leaders of the APC by the Buni-led committee.
The ex-lawmaker also noted that time was running against aspirants in his faction of the APC, as deadlines on the Independent National Electoral Commission’s timetable for the 2023 general elections are fast approaching.
When asked if there is likelihood of him and Yari joining the PDP, Marafa said, “There is a probability of going. If you look at the injustice meted out to us by the Mai Mala Buni leadership; if you look at the INEC timetable, then unless we want to retire from politics, we will have to go somewhere.”
Bauchi Speaker dumps APC, joins PDP
The Speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, Abubakar Sulaiman, has dumped the APC, the party upon which he was elected the member representing Ningi Constituency in 2019 and joined the ruling PDP in the state.
Sulaiman, who is also the Chairman, Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria, made his defection known during a Ramadan breaking of fast (Iftar) dinner hosted by Governor Bala Mohammed, which held at the Government House, Bauchi late Saturday night.
The event was attended by PDP stakeholders from Ningi, Toro, Warji and Dass local government areas of the state.
In a short video of the event, which was obtained by our correspondent early Sunday morning, the Speaker, in his speech at the Iftar, was heard introducing the Chairman of the PDP in the state, Hamza Akuyam, as “Chairman of our great party, the PDP.
“The governor said there is a new groom in the PDP, there is no lie about that fact.” This, he said, to the cheers and applause of those present including the governor.
Suleiman went on further to say, “I know there have been speculations; people have been saying that, ‘he has defected to the PDP,’ others said, ‘no he has not defected’.
“But today in this place, I want to happily announce to you all that I am now a member of the PDP.”
Immediately he announced his defection, the whole gathering erupted in claps, shouts and cheers.
According to him, his decision to join the PDP in the state was as a result of the “exemplary leadership style of Governor Mohammed and his commitment to transform the state.”
He also commended the governor for his ability to ensure harmonious working relationship with the State Assembly despite party differences which allowed formulation and implementation of policies and programmes aimed at ensuring the development of the State.
The PUNCH reports that the Speaker’s defection has put to rest months of speculations across the state that despite being in the APC publicly, he was operating as a member of the PDP.
Suleiman never fails to seize any opportunity to always praise the transformation drive of the governor and his administration.
The 9th Assembly in Bauchi State from inception in June 2018, had been controlled by members of the APC with 22 members, the PDP had eight while the New Nigeria People’s Party had one.
However, gradually, some members of the APC kept defecting to the PDP including the NNPP member.
With Suleiman’s defection, the APC currently has 16 members while the PDP has 15.