In this report, DANJUMA JOSEPH takes a look at the wave of defections from other parties to the ruling APC in Nasarawa State.
In Nasarawa State, after the PDP lost the governorship election to the then CPC in 2011, there has been mass defection of politicians from the PDP and APGA to APC. The trend is alarming and if it continues, there will be no more opposition in the state.
From Toto to Wamba and Keffi to Doma, has been defection of politicians to the APC by politicians of repute.
First, it was in Toto local government area, where the speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi, received a former member of the state assembly representing Toto/Gadabuke state constituency, Hon Madaki Ada-Goje and a former administrator of Gadabuke Development Area, Benjamin Musa Belodu, as well as thousands of their supporters.
The speaker, while receiving the decampees, said Nasarawa State and Toto LGA in particular remained the home of APC and a party to beat in the 2023 general elections.
He assured them of equal treatment in the party as he urged them to remain loyal to the party’s constitution.
The highlight was when a former federal lawmaker, Dr Joseph Kigbu, (known as Dokton Talakawa), decamped from PDP to APC with over 10,000 supporters.
Dr Kigbu was received at a grand reception at Lafia square where Governor Abdullahi Sule welcomed them to the APC.
The guest speaker at the occasion and former speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, commended him for returning to the party.
“I am a stakeholder in Nasarawa State and I’m happy to grace the occasion. Politics is nothing more than the resolution of the intricacies of human conflict that suggest that without conflict there is no politics. In Nigeria all of us are aware of the challenges prevailing this country and the only thing that would resolved both the national and state challenges is politics.
“With politics comes leadership, not only leadership but effective leadership that would deliver peace. It is politics that would deliver the peace that we yearn for both at the national level and the state. Without peace we cannot achieve unity,” Dogara said.
Kigbu, who said democracy is a game of numbers and a game of interests, said his supporters who decamped with him were from the PDP, APGA and other parties.
“I thank God for giving me this opportunity because my story is that of the prodigal son. I have travelled on a long journey, a journey into the wilderness and realized that I was in pain. Therefore, we met as a group to came back home. We have come to add value to the APC family in Nasarawa State, we have not come to divide or spite anybody but to move the state forward. We remain and adopt your blueprint to exceed all expectations in the governance of the state,” he said.
Barely a week after the APC Kigbu and other decampess, it was yet another gale of defection as a member of the state assembly, Hon. John Osewu and a former member, Anthony Obande, with over 13,000 supporters decamped from the PDP and other parties to APC.
Receiving them, Governor Abdullahi Sule assured politicians defecting to APC of fairness and equal treatment.
He assured them of a level playing ground, stressing that it had become incumbent on the party to carry everyone along without discrimination.
He noted that since they had returned all that was required of them was unity in order to bring the much desired development to the state.
In a goodwill message, a former governor of the state, Senator Umaru Tanko Al-makura (APC, Nasarawa South), spoke on the dividends of democracy to Doma under the present administration.
“The only way the state will reap the benefits of the governor’s sterling leadership qualities demonstrated by his fairness, wisdom and foresight, is to unite and support the administration so that there will be peace and development,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the decampees, Hon. John Osewu (PDP, Doma South), said he was attracted to the APC because of the giant developmental strides of the governor so far recorded across the state.
Osewu said though he lost his bearing with his sojourn in the PDP, he had found his bearing in the APC.
He urged leaders of the APC to be fair to all those decamping to the party and not to discriminate against them.
The State Caretaker Committee chairman, Hon. John Mamman, welcomed the decampees . Represented at the event by the Interim State Secretary of the party, Hon. Aliyu Bello, he assured them of equal treatment.
Among those who defected to the APC are a former member of the House of Assembly, Hon. Anthony Obande, former protocol officer, Hon. Benjamin Ikwumokoni, and a retired Deputy Director National Orientation Agency Hon. Moses Adikwu.
Reacting to the development, Nasarawa State PDP chairman, Francis Orogu, said nothing had gone wrong with the party following the recent defection.
Orogu, who said the party remained stable, accused the APC of luring PDP members.
“Our party is stable and we have made it a very viable platform which many Nigerians are attracted to despite the mistakes of the past. So for us, we had a couple of defections.
“But the game plan of the APC which is to divide the party along the line stands defeated as we speak because those who they have been lured out of our party have discovered they went on a wrong way because the party remains intact, indivisible and united and it’s waxing by the day.
“Nothing has gone wrong with the party and I say it with all sense of clarity – as far as the party is concerned there is no division. May be one or two persons felt that they may not be able to achieve their ambition or their interest,” he said.
But the APC state caretaker secretary, Aliyu Bello, faulted his claims, saying the good works of his party at all levels attracted them.
“The PDP members have seen it that they all want to belong to the centre, so when you look at it the PDP has no light for the future.
“Also, to make it clear to Nigerians, the APC is not making offers for people to join the party, it is just that they (PDP) have seen that it is about being progressive,” Bello said.