Time Ticking for Dogara’s Return to PDP

Yakubu Dogara
Odds in Favour of Yakubu Dogara as House Minority Leader
  • We are solidly behind him, say loyal Reps
  • Buhari will retain position without defectors’

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, may dump the All Progressives Congress (APC) this week. Dogara, who was absent at a parley by the APC House caucus with the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) recently, delayed his planned defection from the party last week (Tuesday) when 36 six of his colleagues decamped to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The Guardian learnt that the speaker, who has allegedly been sidelined from the affairs of the party in his home Bauchi State due to a disagreement with Governor Mohammed Abubakar, is billed to formerly announce his defection at his Bogoro/ Dass/Tafawa Balewa federal constituency this week.Already, a group of concerned members of the House of Representatives under the auspices of Parliamentary Democrats Group (PDG), has applauded the decision by Dogara to dump the APC.

Members of the group rose from an emergency meeting yesterday, warning the APC to desist from surreptitious attempts to prevent Dogara from defecting to PDP.Spokesman of the group, Mr. Timothy Simon Golu, in a statement, described as “futile and a sheer waste of time” the desperate attempts by the APC to stop Dogara from going ahead with the decision.

Golu, who is the chairman of the House Committee on Legislative Budget and Research, said: “It is laughable that the APC is running cap in hand begging the speaker to remain in a party that has for so long failed to acknowledge his relevance and contribution to its existence.

“Nemesis has now caught up with the party as the speaker and other men of conscience have decided to pitch their tents with a party (PDP) that recognises that the collective gain of Nigerians is greater than a few primordial interests.“Dogara will defect to any party he chooses without fear of impeachment from his position as the Speaker of the House of Representatives.”

According to Golu, Dogara was not elected by the APC to be the speaker of the House of Representatives, and as such, the party cannot take it away from him.“It is common knowledge that the APC worked against his emergence, but other members who saw and recognised his nationalistic spirit voted for him. In any case, he is the speaker of the House of Representatives and not of the All Progressives Congress,” the group stated

“If the APC loved Dogara so much and wanted him to remain in its fold, why did they humiliate him during their ward congresses when the speaker and all his associates were schemed out and humiliated even though he is the highest political office holder from the North east and number four citizen in the country.”The group accused APC of impunity and undemocratic practices. “The APC under the leadership of Oshiomhole is a party of pretenders and hypocrites who think they are demi-gods that all must serve and pay obeisance to, whether they do right or wrong.”

Golu declared that “Nigerians are now wiser and have fully discovered their gimmicks and games and will no longer be deceived as we approach the 2019 general elections.“Already, the PDP is the majority in the House and we expect more members from the APC.”The Parliamentary Democrats Group, according to Golu, boasts of over 240 members of the House across political parties. “We are solidly behind Dogara and will ensure that he remains the speaker, even after his defection to any party,” he said.

But the Director of Strategic Communications, Muhammadu Buhari 2019 Presidential Campaign, Festus Keyamo, said the gale of defection from the ruling APC to other opposition political parties would not affect the re-election bid by the president.Keyamo, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), maintained that Buhari would still retain his position without the support of the defectors. He expressed optimism that Buhari would regain the lost ground from the south-south and south-east geo-political zones “where he had impressed in terms of provision of critical infrastructure for the citizenry.”

Keyamo justified his assertions thus: “The following 12 states, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Yobe and Niger, with over 30 million registered voters, are where the president had consistently won with considerable large margins in past elections, especially in 2011 and 2015. This was achieved despite the fact that most of those states were being con trolled by political parties other than his own.”

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