The Information Minister likened some of the decampees to ‘Fulani nomads.’
The federal government on Wednesday criticised members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC. He said their activities in the opposition party had shown they lacked democratic credentials.
The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, stated this on Wednesday while addressing reporters at the end of the weekly meeting of the Executive Council of the Federation, FEC. The meeting was presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Mr. Maku argued that if the decampees were democrats, they would not have hijacked the APC structures in their states and sacked those who formed the party.
Among the PDP members that have defected to the APC in the last two months are Governors Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Rabi’u Kwankwaso (Kano), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara).
Apart from the governors, 37 PDP members in the House of Representatives decamped to the APC; while 11 senators already indicated their decision to move to the opposition party.
Members of some state Houses of Assembly elected on the platform of the PDP also moved to the opposition party. Last Sunday, a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, also joined the APC.
The decampee governors, like others they met in their new party, were automatically made APC leaders in their states. This has led to confrontations with some older members of the party in their respective states.
“These people went and hijacked the party; took it away from them. So even from the point of view of justice, you were looking for democracy and you saw nothing wrong in going to another and hijacking the structure from them,” Mr. Maku said.
“So you can see they are not democrats, these are serious desperadoes who believe that unless they are in charge nobody should be and they are not democrats.
“If you are a democrat, you join a new party you will work your way through and you will give confidence to the new people in the party, but they went straight, hijacked the structure and sacked those who formed the APC in Kano and Sokoto. The same problem is going on in Adamawa and in most of the places today,” he added.
Mr. Maku said in some of the states where the PDP defectors moved to the APC, the latter now had two structures, an indication that it did not have principles.
“APC has two structures, the structure of the original founders and the structure of those who have just joined, who are struggling hard to displace those who formed the party, And what we have seen in recent times is that because APC does to have a principle, doesn’t have an ideology, they sidelined those who struggled to form the party because of the new entrants.
“This for me is not how political parties are formed. Political parties are formed by believers who control the soul of the party even as new people are coming,” he said.
The minister said though no party would be happy to lose its members, PDP was losing ‘weight to gain strength’. He said the ruling party would be healthier in the long run.
He urged journalists to monitor the change in parties by politicians; more so as some of them, who he likened to the Fulani nomads, had continued to move from one party to another without shame.
“I want to urge journalists to begin to monitor these movements more so as some of them have been moving for years now, they have not stopped they are like the Fulani nomads, they move from one party to another without shame , it shouldn’t be something that we should cherish,” he said.
“I have always made a point that sometimes you need to lose weight to gain strength and that is exactly what has happened in PDP. When a number of these people were leaving PDP I said the party would be healthier in the long run.”
Mr. Maku said a close analysis of the defectors would reveal that they were the ones causing crisis in the ruling party. According to him, they were not only attacking the party, but were also quarrelsome and had oversized egos.
He said some of them could hardly stay under the same roof with others without having problems.
“First of all, if you look at all the people that have left PDP some of them are the people that have caused all the headaches in the party, they have been the ones attacking their party, they are very quarrelsome, they have oversized egos,” he said.
“Some of them cannot stay under the same roof with anybody for one week without the top blowing up. A number of these people who left, if you take a look at the history of our party and look at their antecedent you will see that they are migrants, they keep migrating from one place to another.”
The minister noted that political parties should have members who believe in their ideology and settle down with it.
Stating that a party was not just a place to stand for election, Mr. Maku claimed that those who left the PDP did not see it in that mould. He alleged that some of them came into the ruling party because they wanted to contest elections, but ran away after losing.
Mr. Maku alleged that in the last one year, the PDP defectors had turned the party into an object of ridicule, abused it and made it look bad. He, however, said that there was neither programme nor ideological focus in the APC.
“The new parties they ran to, they have no registered members yet; they did not have convention. Even within this small period since some of these elements left PDP they have caused significant problem in the new party they ran to,” he said.
“They are already causing a huge problem there. There is already an implosion in APC in Kano, because Rabi’u Kwankwaso went straight and took over a party he was not part of, and insisted that he must be the leader, and sacked those who formed the party.
“You go to Sokoto again, Wamakko went immediately and hijacked the party from those who formed APC in the place, who dissolved their own parties in order to form a political party that would compete with.”
Mr. Maku also noted that the same people who were being celebrated in the APC by the opposition were the ones being attacked by the opposition leaders when they were still in PDP.
“So, they cross over from PDP – when they were in PDP, they were seen as monsters, they were abusing them; and then they crossed over to APC, they celebrate them now as the new leaders.
“So, you see something is wrong, and APC must tell Nigerians truly what it has to offer them. Nothing! It is just semantics and looking after failed people in PDP to come to APC. If that is the programme, then I think that something serious must happen. The press must hold people to account because this is the time to hold people to account.”
The minister said the PDP was the only ‘solid multinational party.’
“PDP is really the only solid multinational political party; it is multi religious; it is multi ethnic. We don’t have the extremists that they have in APC and other parties; so gradually Nigerians will see the difference between these parties and those who left,” he said.