In this piece, OMOTAYO TAIWO writes on how the recent defection of some notable figures of the opposition PDP to the ruling APC in Katsina State further nailed the coffin of the former ruling party.

Arguably, this is not the best of times for the opposition PDP in Katsina State as it struggles to regain lost ground in the face of a hurricane that swept away most of its influential figures to the ruling APC.

Recently, the former speaker of the state house of assembly, Yau Umar Gojogojo, who served eight years as the leader of the state legislature and one of the strong arrowheads of the party, dumped it for the ruling APC.

Gojogojo who was the leader of the PDP in the whole of the Daura senatorial zone, by virtue of the fact that he was the most senior office holder, dumped the party in company of his supporters.

Gale of defections…

Indeed, the political scene in the state is taking an entirely new and interesting dimension with PDP bigwigs joining the APC in quick successions.

As at the last time, the likes of Musa Adamu Funtua, former commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs and, later commissioner for agriculture, also dumped the opposition PDP.

Among the bigwigs who abandoned PDP in the state are the former deputy speaker of the state assembly, Bilyaminu Rimi, former council chairman and one time member of the state assembly, Bala Sani Yaya, Tukur Iliyasu Shagumba and Shuaibu Tandama.

Interestingly, these men have served variously as both local government chairmen and members of the state house of assembly or just as members of the assembly for no less than two terms.

In an elaborate ceremony organised to welcome him and scores of his supporters into the APC, the former speaker of Katsina, Gojo-Gojo said his decision was informed by the fact that the ruling APC has justified the confidence reposed on it by implementing people oriented programmes and policies.

He noted that several roads, schools, earth dams and hospitals among others that were a source of concern to many people and communities in the state had been reconstructed and upgraded in the past two and a half years of APC administration.

He also expressed belief in PMB’s and Governor Masari’s capacity to reset the abnormalities in the nation and the state, adding that his kinsman, Buhari, also has the competence to unite the different people of Nigeria in one bond of fellowship and love.

As should be expected, the defection of Gojogojo and his comrades, all of whom were formerly strong pillars of the opposition PDP and have cultivated a cult-like followings in their respective areas across the state, is giving the PDP some sleepless nights.

Unarguably, the greatest concern of the state chapter of the former ruling party is the defection of these stalwarts with vast goodwill who are said to be poised to deploying their political might for their new party, the APC.

A cursory look into the profiles of these new entrants to APC reveals that they have all it takes to alter the political permutations of the state as their coming will no doubt introduce new dimension in the politics of the state ahead of the struggle to consolidate control beyond 2019.

Masari’s joy as reelection bid gets boost

Understandably, both the ruling APC and Governor Aminu Bello Masari were excited over the defection of the PDP bigwigs. Indeed, the excitement over the political big wigs’ defection is well understood. The truth remains that they are influential political figures that many voters can vouch for character and politics wise.

Findings revealed that the defections by these known PDP bigwigs who are believed to be willing to deploy their resources and political clouts to work for the reelection bid of the incumbent governor and President Muhammadu Buhari, has continued to excites the state governor and his ardent supporters.

Governor Aminu Bello Masari apparently filled with joy of defection of Gojo-Gojo and his supporters to APC did not hesitate to travel to Mai’adua to formally receive him into the ruling party. There is no doubt that Gojo-Gojo’s defection marked a paradigm shift, which deserved the grateful acknowledgement and honour, that was duly extended to him by an understandably elated Masari.

New entrants formed powerful group

Already, the new entrants have formed a powerful association- All Progressives Congress (APC) Consultative Forum- to facilitate the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Aminu Bello Masari in 2019.

Barely a week after he quit the PDP, Ya’u Umar Gojo-Gojo, who chairs the APC Consultative forum in the state said the quest of PDP to reclaim the presidential and governorship seats is a misplaced priority and at best, an illusion.

Speaking during the unveiling of the APC Consultative Forum, Gojo-Gojo said the success of Masari administration, contrary to the propaganda of the PDP, had spelt doom for the PDP in the state.

He said the defection of the erstwhile leaders of the PDP in the state, most of whom are now members of the APC Consultative Forum tasked with designing strategies for the APC to emerge stronger in the next polls, is a testimony that PDP is fighting a lost battle.

Politics watchers said the incumbent Governor Masari who is facing some opposition to his reelection bid from some quarters including a splinter group of the APC, is set to use the opportunity provided by the recent defection of the PDP bigwigs, to consolidate his chances of being reelected.

Already, views are being expressed that the state government is working out modalities to neutralise the effect of the splinter group-The APC Akida- using the support and political might of the APC Consultative Forum.

Good enough, membership of the forum spreads across the three senatorial districts of the state with its chairman, Gojogojo, seen largely as the henchman of the movement in Daura Zone; Musa Adamu Funtua who is from the Funtua zone is saddled with the responsibility of maintaining the momentum in the zone while the trio of Bilya Rimi, Iliyasu Shagumba and Tasiu Dandagoro, are reportedly saddled with the task of ensuring favourable balance for the governor in Katsina zone.

One of the PDP Stalwarts that crossed over to APC and is believed to be reshaping the political permutations as he rally interest groups across different divides in both the PDP and APC is Ya’u Umar Gojo-Gojo.

There are so many implications of his defection, particularly the fact he was the highest office holder in the opposition PDP, from Daura senatorial zone. And as the highest office holder, Gojogojo was the de facto leader of PDP in the senatorial zone where President Muhammedu Buhari hails from.

Indeed, his defection to APC was a significant event in many ways.

Gojogojo who will go down history as the first person to have occupied the coveted seat of the state assembly speaker for the longest time since the creation of the state, having served eight unbroken years as a speaker, is seen by many as one of the most outstanding politicians in the state.

He is said to be a grassroots politicians whose influence cut across the whole state where he built different political structures. Gojogojo is also believed to be a committed bridge builder.

Obviously, the state chapter of PDP may not be the same again, at least in the areas where Gojo-Gojo and other leaders of the party had deployed their time, resources and goodwill to the party’s benefit until recently.

It is believed that in his defection, PDP has lost real vote catching stalwart it needs to displace the APC from occupying elected political positions including Muhammadu Buhari Government House Katsina.

Analysts said the prospect of PDP in Daura zone in the near future can’t look rosy, not only because of the image problem which the party is still facing but because APC has identified the crucial challenges in the people and is addressing them.

Speaking to LEADERSHIP, a public affairs analyst, Musa Zaharadeen said the prospect of PDP or any other party for that matter, dismantling the ruling APC in the state is getting grimmer by the day.

“Indeed, the leadership of President Buhari and Governor Masari at the federal and the state levels have been able to bring to fruition several projects and programmes offering new hope to thousands.

“It is not difficult to see that Buhari and Masari have not only lived up to the APC change Agenda but have been relentless in pursuit of good governance” he added stressing that these fact coupled with the defection of seasoned politicians like the members of the APC Consultative Forum in the state is all the party needed to maintain its tempo.

However, unconfirmed sources said the entry of Gojogojo into the ruling APC is sending cold down the spine of some politicians who feel threatened by his soaring political sagacity.

As political activities pick up ahead of 2019, there are indications that Gojo-Gojo who ran for the Daura senatorial district seat under the platform of PDP in 2015, will contest for seat again. As matter of fact, he is believed to have what it takes to wrest the ticket from the incumbent.

“Gojo-Gojo may emerge as popular choice at the end of the day because he is a true party stalwart that everyone is comfortable with because of his personality and engaging personae. Anyone can say anything against PDP but the defection of Gojo-Gojo is a good.

“He is a grassroots politician that lives among his people and is therefore in a good position to understand their needs and challenges, a youth leader, Darda’u Mubarak said.