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Niger, Jigawa governors deny defection to APC

By The Citizen
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Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu of Niger State has denied reports that he had dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Danladi Ndayebo, in Abuja, on Tuesday, Aliyu said he still remained a member of the PDP and was shocked at the announcement of the merger of New PDP and APC, even before a final decision was taken on the matter.

Ndayebo said 'Governor Aliyu was not present at the meeting where the merger deal was sealed between the Baraje-led New PDP and APC leaders as widely reported by the media.'

Aliyu insisted that talks were still ongoing with the presidency, adding that he would await the outcome of the negotiation before taking a final decision.

Also, Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State has denied his reported defection to APC, saying that he remained in PDP.

In a statement issued in Dutse, by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Malam Umar Kyari, Lamido said 'while my party (PDP) is currently embroiled in a serious crises, especially by the Bamanga Tukur style of leadership with impunity that does not necessitate me to renounce my historical authority.'

The governor said 'I will not give anybody the pleasure of engaging me by his term. I wish to state that I remain the living father of the PDP. Aluta continua.'

Governor Lamido assured that he would engage his political adversaries on his term at the appropriate time.

On Tuesday, it was announced that five PDP governors had defected to the APC.

The governors are Mr. Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers), Alhaji Ahmed Abdulfatah (Kwara), Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano), Alhaji Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), and Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto).

The news was announced at a press conference in Abuja by the National Chairman of the splinter group, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje.

Shortly after he broke the news of the defection of the group to the APC, 49 PDP members of the House of Representatives also announced that they were crossing over to the opposition party.

Baraje told reporters that the decision to defect to the APC, which had in the last four weeks embarked on shuttle visits to the aggrieved governors to lobby them to join the party, was taken at a meeting with the APC leaders, held at the Kano State Governor’s Lodge in Abuja.

Kwankwaso, Abdulfatah, Nyako, Aliyu and Amaechi attended the meeting. Lamido and Wamakko, who were on a visit to Senegal, were absent.

Baraje, who read a two-sentence communiqué, said:  'A meeting of the leadership of APC and New PDP met this (yesterday) morning at the residence of Kano State Governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, in Abuja. After an exhaustive deliberation, the two parties agreed to merge in order to rescue our fledgling democracy and the nation.'

The communiqué was signed by APC interim National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, and Baraje.

Others at the meeting included the suspended National Secretary of PDP, Olagunsoye Oyinlola; a former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Dr. Sam Sam Jaja; former Lagos State Governor, Senator Bola Tinubu who is the national leader of APC; a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Bello Masari; and another APC leader, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, among other chieftains.

On whether with the joining of the PDP governors, APC would    change its name, Baraje said: 'All these are implications of merging. What they are telling you is that we have merged and we have agreed to merge.'

On the governors of Niger and Kwara States who left the meeting, Baraje said: 'Please note that some of our members took permission to go out of the meeting; they did not walk out. You have seen the governor of Kwara, you have seen the governor of Niger; they all took permission to travel. In fact, some of us here are travelling now too, we only waited a little bit for this communiqué to be read because of you.'