Nigeria: Explosion In APC, As PDP Defectors Returns
by Tonye Max Cookey-Gam
FOLLOWING the change of leadership earlier this week, major political realignments have started favouring the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which chieftains in Kaduna, who recently defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday returned to the ruling party. Besides, other aggrieved PDP members who had hitherto left the party but did not
join any other party also returned, saying that they should be accepted as prodigal sons, who discovered that they took a wrong decision by leaving the party in the first instance.
Among the decampees who dumped the APC were Kennedy Musa, former Kaduna ANPP State Secretary, Peter A, former Kaduna ACN Secretary, Samaila Gandu (Sarkin Gandu Zaria), and former ACN House of Assembly aspirant, Mordecai Ibrahim.Others were Abdullahi Awo, Ahmed Chikaji, Bilkisu Zailani, Rebecca Nuhu, Inuwa Ahmad and Charles Taylor. Former senatorial aspirant, Alhaji Huseini Dembo, was also among the returnees and requested that he should be accepted back alongside his teeming followers.According to Dembo, who spoke on behalf of the decampees and returnees, they all decided to join or return to the PDP after discovering that APC cannot rival the ruling party in the state.
However, the Chairman of the Democratic People’s Party (DPP), Gen. Jeremiah Useni, yesterday said the defection of one of their members in the House of Representatives, Suleiman Kwande, to APC does not have the blessing of the party.
According to him, the lawmaker, who defected on Tuesday on the floor of the House, acted contrary to the party’s instruction to defect to the PDP. A letter to the Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who presided over the session yesterday, partly read: “This is to inform you that he does not have my backing, he was directed to declare for the PDP.
”Also yesterday, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Legislative Budget and Research, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, in a letter read on the floor by the Speaker, officially notified of his defection to the Labour Party (LP).Opeyemi, who was a member of the APC, had earlier relinquished his position as chairman of the Ekiti Caucus of the House in order to pursue his governorship ambition in the state.
In another development, the Deputy National Chairman of the APC (South-East), Senator Annie Okonkwo, was yesterday suspended from the party during its Interim National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Abuja.
According to a member of the NEC, Okonkwo was suspended on the allegation of anti-party activities, especially his role in the governorship election in Anambra State last year.
A six-man disciplinary committee, led by Senator Kabiru Gaya, with Dr. Muiz Banire as secretary, has been set up to investigate Okonkwo and report back within three weeks.
Okonkwo, who stepped down for Senator Chris Ngige ahead of the APC governorship primaries in Anambra last year with the offer to serve as the Director-General of Ngige Campaign Organisation, resigned from the position before the election, citing irreconcilable differences with Ngige.
Reacting to the suspension, Okonkwo said he did not know why people like to cause trouble for the party, saying: “It is not for me to say whether there is a script or it is a sign of creeping rascality. I am watching the whole thing”
Meanwhile, the in-fighting among the Ogun State APC continued yesterday as thugs invaded the Ota office of Senator Akin Odunsi and beat up his secretary, Miss Kemi Afolabi, while his administrative officer, Olasunkanmi Olayode, managed to escape. It was learnt that the hoodlums invaded the senator’s office at No.87, Iganmode Road, Ota, yesterday morning and beat up Afolabi with sticks. An eyewitness said the thugs ransacked the office and damaged equipment and furniture, after which they fled.
Meanwhile, a meeting convened yesterday by the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, to reconcile the APC feuding leaders was deadlocked.
Awujale, who is also the Chairman of Ogun State Council of Obas, held a secret meeting in his palace in Ijebu Ode with Governor Ibikunle Amosun and a national leader of the party, Chief Segun Osoba, over the crisis rocking the APC in the state.
A palace source, pleading anonymity, revealed that the monarch summoned the meeting with the two gladiators, whose supporters had been at loggerheads over the control of party machinery in the state, with a view to reconciling them, but the parties could not reach any settlement.
Sympathisers later rushed the injured Afolabi to a private hospital in Sango-Ota for treatment. The motive for the attack and the identity of the thugs were yet unknown.A statement by his Senior Legislative Aide noted that Afolabi was still receiving treatment at a private hospital in Ota, adding that the attack was politically motivated.The lawmaker further noted that the spate of violence against the National Assembly members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) across the state in recent times proved the desperation of some elements to intimidate people into undue acquiescence.While deploring “this barbaric descent to violence for political reasons,” he implored APC members and the people of Ogun West to go about their normal duties and maintain calm, assuring that “the will of the people shall prevail.
”Reacting on the issue, however, the council boss, Mr. Rotimi Rahmon, urged a thorough investigation into the incident, saying: “It could be an orchestrated attack. We cannot continue to hide under the political situation to gain undue attention. I am demanding a complete investigation and whoever is caught should be made to face the law.
”The State Police Command’s spokesman, Mr. Muyiwa Adejobi, who confirmed the incident, disclosed that the Police Commissioner, Mr. Ikemefuna Okoye, had ordered a full-scale investigation into the matter and assured that the perpetrators of the act would be brought to book.