Dogara’s defection unsettles Reps’ leadership

•2 govs, ex-minister in defection talks

THE defection of former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is creating fresh tension around power equation in the lower chamber, Nigerian Tribune can report.

Despite the perceived suddenness of the defection which caught many unawares, available facts showed that the planning was detailed, with many members of Dogara’s former party in the mix. Nigerian Tribune learnt that Wednesday preceding Sallah, several members of opposition parties met a former deputy national chairman (name withheld) of the ruling APC alongside Dogara at the chieftain’s Wuse 2, Abuja home.

The defection and the purposes it would serve dominated the discussion, according to a party source, who is also coordinating another dimension to the defection. The source, who later identified self as the brain behind the dummy of  Dogara defecting to run a joint ticket with APC national leader, Senator Bola Tinubu, confessed the presidential angle was a ploy to conceal the real motive of the defection.

The source said a move for leadership change at both the senate and lower house at the height of the Omolori saga was shelved because the numbers weren’t there. Two days before the said Wednesday meeting, about five lawmakers from the opposition, alongside Dogara, also reportedly met with APC caretaker chairman and Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni, in Abuja.

All talks reportedly centred around the defection and its purposes. “How can Tinubu and Dogara work together, given their history? We just created a dummy for them. Tinubu didn’t know how he (Dogara) returned. Dogara isn’t returning to be vice president.

Something is going on in the House (Representatives). Imagine the Speaker not knowing anything about someone like  Dogara, his immediate predecessor, returning back to their party and just hearing about it like everyone. Imagine the caretaker chairman of the party taking Dogara straight to the President without Gbajabiamila being there, or informed.

Just wait until their resumption (from recess) when Dogara would be officially unveiled as APC member in the House and see what would happen weeks after,” the informed source disclosed. Nigerian Tribune also learnt that apart from the Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, who confirmed openly he is being wooed by APC, another governor is also said to be dotting the fine lines before ditching PDP for the ruling party.

Ortom, last week, confessed to pressure to dump PDP. He sought his second term on the opposition’s platform following a tension-soaked relationship with Aso Rock over the activities of herdsmen in his state. He had earlier defected from the PDP to actualise his governorship ambition on the APC platform.

The other governor pointed out to the Nigerian Tribune as closing to moving has also been involved in a series of defection, to and fro, the ruling party. An ally of Bukola Saraki (name withheld) has also perfected plans to return to the ruling party.

He left for PDP with his godfather. As of press time, it isn’t clear if his return was sanctioned by his political mentor. When the Nigerian Tribune called his line, he requested that a short message (SMS) be sent to him. As of press time, he was yet to respond to the message sent him.

Instead of burying self in internal reconciliation over flawed congresses of the ruling party, it was learnt that the Buni team had reportedly decided to focus more on engineering high-profile defections from PDP and elsewhere as its main accomplishment before the emergency national convention.

Resolving the constitutional issues associated with the congresses is reportedly so problematic that the caretaker committee may have decided to leave the crises for the in-coming National Working Committee (NWC) to sort. The initial move to dissolve the executive committees of troubled state chapters, particularly where the multiplicity is pronounced, was said to have been shelved not to further fray the nerves of leading chieftains feeling hard done by following the dissolution of Adam Oshiomhole’s NWC.



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