…Speaker asks for time to consult
…We’re not surprised about Dogara’s defection – APC
Supporters of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, on Thursday, presented him with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) nomination forms to contest the 2019 general election for the Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa Balewa Federal constituency of Bauchi State.
The supporters, who made the presentation of the PDP Expression of Interest and Nomination forms at his residence in Abuja, advised the speaker to dump the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the PDP.
Dogara, however, asked for more time to consult with stakeholders before reaching a decision on whether to defect from the APC to the opposition PDP.
Speculation have been rife that the speaker has defected from the ruling APC to the PDP after his constituents on Tuesday, asked him to seek re-election in 2019.
A statement by his media adviser, Turaki Hassan, on Thursday, said that about 1000 people thronged Digara’s residence, saying they decided to present the PDP forms to him because of the level of injustice meted on them by the APC.
Mohammed Aminu Tukur, Alhaji Adamu Jambil and Mrs. Amina Saleh, who led the delegation and spoke on behalf of the constituents, said their new political platform will be wherever the speaker decides to go.
Tukur while presenting the PDP nomination forms to Dogara, said that the APC is now plagued by injustice and dictatorship, contrary to their expectations that under President Muhammadu Buhari, the party will be fair to all.
“The day Buhari joined partisan politics in 2002, I was the only person from Bauchi that travelled and I have been with him since then.
“Mr. Speaker, I swear to almighty God that if He spared my life, I and our people will vote for you and we urge you to heed to our cries and accept this form. We pray that God returns you to your seat. APC is not a religion as it is neither Islam nor Christianity,” Aminu Tukur said.
Alhaji Adamu Jambil, who is a former deputy chairman of Tafawa Balewa Local Government, said that “the people have sent us to you with these forms. Bauchi State today is retrogressing. They have not constructed 30 kilometres of roads but they are busy lying that they have done 500 kilometres.
“Our people have sent us to tell you that they will not allow anybody to humiliate you. They love you and will not allow APC to embarrass you and turn around to beg you to remain in their party.
“They said we should tell you that as their son, they are not giving you any option but directing you to accept these forms and leave the APC. They said time has gone so they will not give you any option and if you refuse to listen to them, they will desert you.
“But we know you are an obedient child and you will listen to your parents. Whether you like it or not, you must leave the APC.
This is the message from our people to you. We have seen all the good works you are doing and they have sent us to tell you that they will not allow you to rest.”
Another constituent, Mrs. Amina Saleh, from Dass Local Government, said women in the constituency have sent her to inform the speaker that they will be with him: come rain, come shine.
She said: “You told us to join the APC and we did. We worked for the party but they have betrayed us and that is why we said instead of building another house, it is better we return to our former home where we are more welcome.
“They are already celebrating that we are here to present these forms to you. Please our leader, we appeal to you to accept it and wipe away our tears”.
A member of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, Ahmed Yerima, said that the APC has failed to honour its commitments to hold direct primaries which contradicts its earlier promise of using it to resolve internal discontentment.
“APC had drifted faraway from its original concept of internal democracy, rather, it has now been strangulated. On a long-term, these disenchantments will lead to a disintegration of any political institution that allows imposition, money and incumbency to hijack it,” he added.
Responding, Dogara told the mammoth crowd that “I have listened to you and I want to say that I am not a novice in politics.
So even if they do not regard us, they should know that we are in full control of our five senses. We know what looks like justice and what is not justice. We also know if you want to humiliate or honour us.
“We built the APC in Bauchi and with time left the PDP and entered the APC. I was the first and only lawmaker from Bauchi State that left the PDP then and we knew why we left. We also know what we promised the people of Bauchi State then.
“But I must thank you all. This is not the first time we would face these kind of threats and betrayal. Our only fault is that we have chosen not to side with injustice or wrong.
“We always voice out when we see that we are beginning to derail from our election promises to the people and that is why some people said they will retire us from politics and have even started celebrating that they have buried us politically. But throughout all this, I remained unperturbed because I knew that we had our people with us.”
He also recalled how their supporters were denied forms during the last APC congress, despite making payments on time, adding that the new leadership of the party failed to live up to its assurance that all states that had issues with their congresses would be allowed to hold direct primaries, thereby depriving them of any hope that their supporters would have the opportunity to vote for their choice.
Dogara further said: “Truly, I have decided that I will not seek election again. They said they will give me ticket in APC but that I must go and beg for it. I said I do not need the ticket. In politics, I have never gone to anybody’s house to beg for ticket.
“My ticket is my people. I have assured them that even if I run under zero party, my people will vote for me. So long as it is Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa Balewa, even if we run under zero party; we will win by God’s grace.
“We have thrived well in many political battles in the past and this one too, we shall overcome it. Nobody can threaten us or tell us that we cannot contest election in a political party we spent our resources to establish, only God can stop us.
“I had heard your voices and the voice of the people is the voice of God. We are in politics to serve and not to be served.
As I said, if it were for myself, I will quit because truly I am tired and even thought of stepping aside. But we must run election so long as our people say so.
“I have seen the forms you brought. I don’t know how you got it but I must thank you for this sacrifice. Left for me; I will appeal that you give me sometime to go and consult further.
“I have a lot of supporters in the APC but I have not told any of them what I intend to do or where I will go because I was not given the opportunity but I will assure you that wherever you want me to go or whatever you want me to do I will obey you because you have been with me. This is leadership.
“Even when they were talking about reconciliation in APC, we told them that even if I will be given free ticket in APC, so long as they do not do justice to Senator Sulieman Nazif, Senator Isa Hamma Misau, Ahmed Yerima, Aminu Tukur, Maryam Bagel and others, I will not accept it. I even said that if they will do justice to these people I will be satisfied.
“You have now given us another opportunity to correct the greatest mistake we did in politics, which was to bring this present government in Bauchi State.
This is one of the reasons we must run for election and do away with this plague, chase these termites from Bauchi State.
“I will not disobey you but before I fill these forms, I will have to inform all my supporters in the APC about the decision taken by my constituents since all politics is local.”
Meanwhile, the APC has noted that the defection of Dogara did not come to them as a surprise but a matter of time judging by his anti-party activities in the National Assembly with the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
The party also described Dogara as a paper weight who does not have political clout in his home town.
In a press statement on Thursday by the party’s acting National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, while reacting to the development, quoted President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent comment on defection, saying that the issue aptly sums Dogara’s reported defection: “The weakest people whose senses of expectation do not align with our vision have exited our party”.
The APC spokesman said: “Dogara’s reported defection has not come to us as a surprise. It was only a matter of time judging by Dogara’s anti-party antics in the National Assembly where in connivance with the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, he exploited all available avenues to sabotage and undermine the APC-led executive.
“Dogara’s anti-party activities which enabled one of the opposition party’s sole victory in Bogoro Local Government Area (Dogara’s council), during the recent Bauchi South Senatorial bye-election won by the APC is another pointer, among several others.
“Indeed, all politics is local. As a party, we empathise with Dogara on his confusion and despair over his bleak political future given the fact that he is not on ground and a political paperweight in his home, Bauchi State.
In his emergence as Speaker, Dogara was merely used by his political master to achieve their selfish political ends at the time. They have since moved on to pursue their individual political aspirations and left Dogara in the cold.
“We would advise Dogara against his ill-advised decision to re-contest his House of Representatives seat under the opposition party he is linked with because a crushing and humiliating defeat surely awaits him.
“As a party, we remain united and committed to our Progressives ideologies. We urge party faithful to consolidate on our strengths and collectively go into the 2019 general election as a united and strong political fighting force to sustain the Change Agenda we are implementing for the benefit of Nigerians”.