Members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday got a plea from some of its leaders – stay firm.
Three governors, some federal and state lawmakers, including Senate President Bukola Saraki, have defected from the ruling party to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
To political leaders in Sokoto and Nasarawa states, among others, the defection will not affect the support for President Muhammadu Buhari and the party.
Party stakeholders led by Nasarawa State Governor Tanko Al Makura urged members to remain steadfast. Senator Abdullahi Adamu said the defectors were envious of Buhari’s achievements.
They spoke at a meeting in Lafia, the state capital.
Senator Aliyu Wamakko, the political leader in Sokoto State, chided Governor Aminu Tambuwal for his “worst decision” to defect to the PDP.
Tambuwal left with 18 of the 30 House of Assembly members but two senators, seven House of Representatives members, 12 House of Assembly members, Deputy Governor Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto and state APC Chairman Sadiq Isah Achida remain in the APC.
Wamakko, a former governor of the state, in an interview aired on BBC Hausa Service yesterday, said Sokoto remained with Buhari, adding that Tambuwal’s defection will be of no consequence.
He said: “Politics is always full of surprises, but it is pitiable for a young man like him (Tambuwal) to make such decision.
“It has been long that Sokoto people stopped running politics because particular persons are in it. And as a result of that, if someone quits and says he is leaving Buhari, that will be surprising and unfortunate.”
He added: “He is a very promising young politician, with full potentials.
“But, may be something else is guiding his decision. This is the worst decision he has taken in his life.
“At his age, he should not be in a hurry. He is a fine young politician. I have a lot of respect for him.
“If he had taken the consideration of the people he is representing and the people of Sokoto State, he should not have gone into the PDP .’’
Wamakko maintained that, the APC would remain in government in Sokoto and President Buhari would win the presidential election in the state.
He said: “If I have any issues regarding repairs of APC, leaving the party is not the ideal thing, and that won’t show one knows what he is doing.
“Issues should be ironed out; truth be identified and be worked with. The people I’m representing in Sokoto are in support of Buhari and their loyalty to APC is intact and as a result of that, I won’t disappoint my people.”
Wamakko, who is also the leader of the Northern States Senators Forum, cautioned against rating the crowd that witnessed Tambuwal’s defection as evidence of his popularity. He said: ‘’ Whatever crowd you might have seen or told, just take it as a mere story. As a matter of principle, it is not in my character to abuse people, but, what I am assuring is that Sokoto State is an APC state .’’
He hoped that Tambuwal would rescind his decision and return to the APC.
Wamakko described the defections as an opportunity for stock-taking by the party. “ Hence, it is coming out stronger,” he said, adding: “In the next few days or months, Nigerians would be surprised how the APC is going to fare .”
To him defection is “the beauty of democracy”. “People should be given the freedom to be where they want to be . It is nothing unusual. ‘’
Achida reaffirmed his membership of the APC yesterday, saying: I have not moved anywhere. As I’m talking to you now, I still occupy the seat of the party’s chairman.”
It was learnt that Niger State Governor Sani Bello made last minute frantic efforts to convince Tambuwal not to defect.
An associate of the governor, Chief Ray Murphy, said Bello travelled to Sokoto to meet with Tambuwal.
“He went to Sokoto to dissuade Tambuwal from defecting, but Tambuwal left for his personal reasons and to actualize his presidential ambition. That is his position,” Murphy said.
In Lafia, Adamu reiterated that those who defected had seen their failure in the party, adding that the APC remained battle-ready.
He said “We do know for a fact that what is happening in the political space of this country is the handiwork of democratic dissidents who do not see good in what President Buhari is doing.
“They are being goaded by people who are highly jealous of Buhari’s achievements in terms projects, social welfare and well-being of the people; achievements those before him failed to deliver.”
Al-Makura urged the supporters to remain focused, assuring that in 2019, the APC would lead other states to ensure victory for President Buhari.
APC National Vice Chairman North Central Alhaji Suleiman Ahmed Wambai, claimed that three PDP governors would join the APC in the next few days.