By Kennedy Dimaku:
The media have been a wash with defection and counter defection of politicians from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to All Progressive Congress, APC and vice visa, since the defection of five governors Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto , Abdulfatai Ahmed of Kwara, Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano, Murtala Nyako of Adamawa and Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers States respectively to APC. The APC has been enmeshed in power tussle between its pioneer leaders, those who labored all through the merger process in their various states and the decampees who they viewed as bed fellows who have come to usurp powers. They have vowed to resist any attempt of taking over the party leadership by the new entrants.
On the other hand, the resignation of Former PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Barmanga Tukur and the emergence of former governor of Bauchi State, Dr Adamu Ma’azu has brought hope and vigour capable of salvaging the situation, though many political observers have described it as belated.
This battle of supremacy appears to have shifted attention to Kwara State going by the recent defection of state house of assembly members including the speaker from PDP to APC which has brought the number of APC legislators in the house to 22 leaving only two to PDP. The former PDP legislators took their turns on the floor of the house to declare for APC saying that they consulted their respective constituencies before taking the decision which they attributed to leadership crises and fragmentation of the party.
But sources have debunked the insinuation by the Kwara lawmakers who premised their defection to APC on the faction in PDP as well as directives from their various constituencies as sheer deception and hypocrisy of the highest order. They claimed that the lawmakers acted on their individual and personal gratification which has nothing to do with the people they represent.
A reliable source told Nigerian Pilot that majority of the politicians who defected to APC did so for their selfish reasons citing example of Kwara lawmakers and Dr Bukola Saraki who is also spearheading the defection of PDP senators to APC.
The source said, for instance in Kwara State where 20 members of house of assembly recently defected to APC was for monetary benefit. He said that the state legislators demanded ten million naira each before they could declare their intention to defect, but the governor offered to give them five million each.“If this development is anything to go by, it means that the lawmakers have lost the sense of morality and confidence repose on them by the masses and would not win election in Kwara State. “The source said.
In December, 2014, Kwara State lawmakers suspended Hon. Iliasu Ibrahim, member representing Maleta/Ipaiye/Oloru constituency, the second time in three years, all in the build up of the planned mass defection to APC. The first time, 2012, Ibrahim was suspended for challenging the speaker for misappropriation of fund. The house ganged up against him and suspended him for three months without salary.
The current suspension, another three months without salary meted to Ibrahim was for allegedly inquiring from a fellow honorable member of an intention of attacking him with thugs and sought to know the truth in the story.
It was gathered that before the suspension, the speaker of the house summoned the lawmakers and demanded they move to APC as a loyalty to Dr Bukola Saraki who has been on the forefront of senators’ defection to APC, as well as instrumental to Governor Ahmed Abdulfatai’s defection. Hon Iliasu Ibrahim stood his ground that he was not going to move with them and was seen as a saboteur who needs to be taken off the way.
It was learnt that the house capitalized on phone call made by Ibrahim to another honourable member inquiring for the truth in an alleged story as an opportunity to force him back to their fold or get rid of him from the house to enable them perpetrate their selfish wish.
Another member that opted to stay in PDP was Fatai Salman, representing Ilorin North. The duo posited that those who defected to APC have outlived their usefulness to Kwara People and would not win election in the state, a situation that made them to seek to rely on Dr Bukola Saraki who they think would help them to win in 2015, forgetting that Bukola Saraki has fallen apart with Kwara people.
In Kwara PDP Stakeholders meeting held recently in Abuja, the people expressed optimism that PDP would enact itself once more in the state. According to the PDP Caretaker Committee Chairman, Solomon Edoja, “PDP is synonymous with Kwara, and Kwara is synonymous with PDP. That is the message that the leaders have asked me to say, that they would ensure they enthrone PDP in Kwara in all election, going by the president’s one man, one vote. We are going to ensure full internal democracy. I have come to Kwara for instance to ensure we midwife a process without bias. We make people in Kwara to have confidence in the structure we are going to put in place because we want to put a winning structure in place.
Meanwhile, Hon Iliasu Ibrahim who is also a member of the Kwara PDP Caretaker Committee noted that those who defected to APC are bedfellows who came and joined PDP. For instance he said, “It is a known fact that the PDP in Kwara is intact even at this moment. The people who defected to APC were those who came and joined us. If you remember between 1999 and 2002, Bukola Saraki was a member of App that metamorphosed into ANPP, so they came and joined us in 2002 when the then governor of Kwara State disposed Saraki of the leadership of the party. The party was taken away from Olusola Saraki in 2001. So we had sympathy on Baba and said since he was driven out of APP, come over to PDP. Those of us who had this arrangement wanted Kwara State to join the National politic. We wanted Kwara to be in the mainstream of National politics. So, if you are not in PDP, you are in opposition and we did not want Kwara State to be in opposition.
The lawmaker said those who are left in Kwara PDP are the genuine members who are ready to deliver Kwara people from the slavery of one man, noting that Kwaran are ready to take their destiny in their hands.”What happened today (the defection of 20 Kwara State House of Assembly members to APC from PDP) shows that those members, back at home cannot stand or even win any election in their wards let alone in their constituencies. They know it and that is why they believed they cannot win; they need to go to somebody who can help them win. But they forgot that time has gone for Dr Bukola Saraki himself in Kwara politics. We want to hold our destiny in our hands. It is no longer an individual holding the destiny any more. It is the people that do not want Dr Bukola Saraki any more. So PDP will win hands down in all election in Kwara State.