Friday, April 18, 2014

Buhari, Tinubu, others in Jigawa, Kano, woo Lamido, Kwankwaso to APC

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The leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC, stormed Kano and Jigawa States, on Thursday, where they formally invited the governors of the two states, Musa Kwankwaso and Sule Lamido, to join the opposition party.

The opposition leaders met with the two governors behind closed doors for several hours during which they assured them a good deal if they decided to join their rank.

The leaders who held talks with the governors include former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, interim National Chairman of the APC, Bisi Akande, Interim Deputy National Chairman, Aminu Masari, and a former EFCC Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu.

The governors on the delegation were Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Babatunde Fashola (Lagos) and Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti)

Former Borno State Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff; former Labour Minister, Musa Gwadabe; a former National Chairman of the defunct All Peoples Party, APP, Yusuf Garba Ali; former Borno State Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, gubernatorial candidate, Kashim Imam; and some serving and former legislators, were also part of the delegation during the one day visit to the two states.

Some of the opposition leaders were in Sokoto State on Wednesday, where they witnessed the foundation laying ceremony of the Sokoto State University. They reportedly held a close-door meeting with Governor Aliyu Wamakko.

Although, details of their discussion were not made public, there were strong indications that they invited the governor to join the APC.

The trio of Kwankwaso, Lamido and Wamakko are among the seven aggrieved governors of the PDP, who have been canvassing the overhaul of the leadership of the ruling party, especially the sack of its National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur.

The other governors are Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara) and Murtala Nyako (Adamawa).

They had all joined a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, former acting National Chairman of the PDP, Kawu Baraje and former National Secretary of the party, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, last August 31, to float the New PDP, which has met with President Goodluck Jonathan on two occasions to resolve the differences between them and the Tukur-led PDP.

Although, the APC had set up a committee headed by Mr. Fashola to enter negotiations with the aggrieved governors and their supporters with a view to bringing them into the opposition party, the opposition leaders were said to have been encouraged by the difficulty in achieving breakthrough in their meetings with Mr Jonathan and other PDP leaders.

At the meeting with Mr. Kwankwaso, which held at Africa House, Government House, Kano, Mr. Buhari told the governor said the delegation was in the ancient city as part of a “recruitment drive” for their party, to ensure that Kano joins the progressive fold.

He stressed that the APC was concerned about the socio-economic development and the security of the citizens, even as he lamented that the Boko Haram crisis was a deliberate attempt by some people to clog the wheel of the country’s progress.

Messrs Akande and Okorocha, who also spoke praised the governor for his efforts in moving the state forward and enjoined him to join the APC in view of his progressive stance.

Responding, Mr. Kwankwaso said he would consult stakeholders of the PDP in the state before deciding on whether to defect to the APC.

“I will sit down with all stakeholders because there is no decision I can take as governor without consulting the stakeholders of the party. Kwankwasiyya movement is a disciplined movement. We are working as a group and a team,’’ he said.

“Certainly we will sit down all of us and look at all the challenges and the consequences if any, and together we will take decision on what to do and communicate to you.”

The governor, from whom the PDP state structure was taken away last month, described Kwankwasiyya Movement as a `powerful movement’ which he claimed had the capacity and strength to win election in 2015.

“We are stronger now than when we had no government”, he said.

The governor, who had severally hinted that the aggrieved governors of PDP might join the APC if talks with Mr Jonathan broke down, also said that he was happy that the leadership of the opposition party, which comprised highly respected Nigerians, found him worthy of the visit, pointing out that he had associated in one way or the other with most leaders of the party in the past 20 years.

In Dutse, Jigawa State, PREMIUM TIMES gathered that Mr. Lamido did not make any commitment on joining the APC.

The governor was said to have expressed gratitude to the opposition leaders, adding that their initiative went beyond politics because it was about the future of the country.

Mr. Lamido said he owed Nigeria a duty to make it progress because the country had been good to him. He added that he had achieved much more than his imagination and therefore would support anything being done to rescue the country.

After the meeting with the Jigawa State governor, the APC delegation reportedly returned to Abuja from where they will move to Yola, Adamawa State to meet with the state governor, Murtala Nyako, who has repeatedly described the PDP as a dead party.

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