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KEBBI GUBER: PDP, CPC IN SHOWDOWN

By NBF News
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Panic has gripped the Kebbi State Chapter of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) following the mass exodus of its members to the Congress for Democratic Change(CPC), which is fast assuming the position of the most prominent and popular opposition party in the state.

The defections which are not limited to unknown members or ordinary members of the party only, but also includes personal aides of Governor Saidu Usman Nasamu Dakingari. The PDP is probably having sleepless nights wondering how to deal with the CPC menace. Last week alone, saw some special advisers and a commissioner with their supporters at the secretariat of the CPC to declare for the party.

Among those who recently ditched PDP are two serving House of Representatives members, Alhaji Abubakar Bagudo and Engr. Abdullahi Faruk Umar, popularly known as Muslim who have since picked tickets on the platform of the CPC in the state, their supporters and some youth leaders of the PDP in Augie and Argungu Local Government areas who declared for the CPC in Birnin Kebbi, at the same time as some aides of Governor Saidu Nasamu Dakingari.

What is becoming worrisome to officials and members of the PDP is the fact that, there are still indications that more of the PDP prominent members including more of the governor's aides and some commissioners who have been having nocturnal meetings with the CPC would switch camp to the CPC. This is coming on the heels of strong speculations that about seven Special Advisers of the governor have concluded plans to leave the PDP with some aggrieved state Assembly members who are reportedly speaking to the CPC preparatory to dumping the PDP to join the bandwagon, yet there seems to be very little the PDP is doing to prevent or stop the mass exodus to the CPC.

When Daily Sun spoke to the PDP spokesperson, Alhaji Isa Assalafi on the defections, he confirmed that some members of the party have defected to the CPC, saying the party leadership was saddened by their defection, but quickly added that their actions indicate that they were never true members of the party, as whatever their grievances might be, true members would have sought to stay and correct the wrongs.

'The leadership of the party is sad over their departure, but it shows that they were never true members of the PDP, because true members would stay no matter their grievances and try to correct those wrong things'. He said their defection from the PDP should not be regarded as something strange but rather as a normal thing in politics, because, politics is about interest and if the affected members feel that interest is no longer served in the PDP but in the CPC, then there is very little the party can do to retain them.

'We are saddened by their departure, because even a mad man has his uses and these people also had their usefulness and they were looked upon as members of the PDP family.'

Assalafi stated that, now was the turn of the CPC to take their members but the PDP would turn the tables against them, stressing that the defections would in no way affect the fortunes of the party in the April general elections, and called on their members not to lose heart at what is happening at the moment.

Another official of the PDP who spoke to Daily Sun but pleaded for anonymity for obvious reasons, he lamented over the trend, saying he has never seen a situation whereby members of a ruling party would dump their party to embrace a new opposition party. In his opinion, this was an indication that, there is something fundamentally wrong with the PDP, which if not addressed quickly could affect the chances of the party's outing at the polls in the April general election.

He lamented that, despite being under injury time with the elections just by the corner, the PDP led government does not seem to be doing anything to retain its members, rather those who have contributed to the growth of the party or stood by the administration have been allowed to leave with no one doing anything to stop them, adding that while the PDP is losing key members to an opposition party that everybody wrote off when they started, the party has not received one single person from into its fold.

According to him, the lack of unity in the party is another factor that is making the party lose focus. He wondered how a party like the PDP in an election period could be without a secretariat and be unco-ordinated enough to keep its members. 'How can this party with its size without a suitable Secretariat co-ordinate itself, to keep members, look at the CPC party office, it is always a beehive of activities. But we don't have a secretariat. We have one under rehabilitation but when will it be ready? Yet the rehabilitation work on the Nasamu Two Terms office is almost completed. Which is more important? the Nasamu Two Terms office or the party secretariat'.

When reminded that the party's PRO was optimistic that the defections won't affect the fortunes of the party in April elections, he exploded by saying that Assalafi was just doing his job as the PRO, pointing out that he couldn't have said anything more than that. 'Assalafi is only doing his job as the PRO. What else would he have said without being accused of anti-party activities? Why am I saying? I don't want my name mentioned, because of the same thing. There is a problem. We are losing members to an opposition party that has no government, and we have not received anyone from another party into our own, why? We are the ones who should be receiving decampees and not the other way round.'

When contacted on the phone, a spokesperson for the CPC and former Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to Sen. Muhammad Adamu Aliero, Alhaji Idris Zuru confirmed that they have received decampees from the PDP including some aides of the governor and a commissioner, adding that they were still expecting about seven special advisers and other key members of the party.

'We have received some members of the PDP into the CPC including the Commsioner of Women Affairs and some aides of the governor, and we are expecting about seven special advisers and other key members of the party. This should not surprise anyone because CPC is offering the needed change that the people of the state are yearning for'.

All the members who have left the PDP have all carpeted the party on its lack of internal democracy, equity and justice, which they claim are their reasons for ditching the party. Hon. Abdullahi Umar Faruk who has since picked the ticket to contest for the Birnin Kebbi, Kalgo and Bunza Federal Constituency following the sudden death of Alhaji Muhammad Bello Mai'eka who was to run on the same ticket.While addressing journalists on why he resigned his membership of the party, he said, the party has lost focus because it is 'led by four politically blind people,' only stopping short of mentioning names of the four persons.

With the mass defection of members staring the PDP in the face, the party will have to fish in its fast depleting bag of tricks to be able to not only stem the tide of the defection of its members, if it still wishes to retain its position in the state, but also fish around for solution against the rampaging CPC.