The lawmaker said he is capable of choosing a party for himself
The Chairman of the Democratic Peoples Party, DPP, Jeremiah Useni, has denounced a member of the House of Representatives who decamped on Tuesday from DPP to the All Progressives Congress, APC, saying he directed the lawmaker to join the PDP instead.
In a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, Mr. Useni said Suleiman Kwande’s decision to join the APC, did not receive his blessings.
He said Mr. Kwande, who represents Plateau State, was “directed” to declare for the ruling PDP.
“This is to inform you (Tambuwal) that he (Kwande) does not have my backing, he was directed to declare for the PDP,” Mr. Useni, a retired army general, said in his letter.
But Mr. Kwande said his decision to join the APC was personal, and followed due consultations with his constituents.
“My decision was based on my conviction. And I obviously didn’t just jump into APC without consulting the people in my constituency,” the lawmaker said.
“I am representing hundreds of thousands of people and I consulted with people.
I don’t think giving instruction on which party to join is a good omen for democracy. I should be able to choose where to go, not a party chairman or someone saying you should go to this or that place.”
“But the good thing is that they’re not unhappy about my defection, what they’re unhappy about is that I went to the APC. I have made up my mind and I’m sticking with it.”
Mr. Kwande was one of four lawmakers in the House of Representatives who switched parties on Tuesday. Two members declared for the PDP while another two joined the APC, as the two parties struggle to outdo the other and secure the majority position.
The House leadership as well as the APC’s have yet to announce official figures of their members. But the APC members are estimated at 172 while the PDP has 171.
The Minority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, said Tuesday the figures are more than 172.
On Thursday, Michael Bamidele, who chairs the House Committee on Legislative Budget and Research, defected from the APC to the Labour Party, LP, fuelling speculation the APC lost its slim advantage ahead of the PDP.
Mr. Gbajabiamila denied that claim in a statement by his aide.