President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday spoke on the defection of top politicians from one party to the other.
At a lunch with some APC governors accompanied by some members of the national and state assemblies and commissioners, the president wished the defectors “good luck.”
“For those who have decided to change camp for whatever reason, we wish them good luck,” he said.
Scores of political office holders and their supporters have changed parties in the past few months in the build up to the 2019 elections.
Some of the defectors include Senate President Bukola Saraki, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara and ex-governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom. While the first three left Mr Buhari’s APC for the opposition PDP, Mr Akpabio, a senator, moved from the PDP to the APC.
While Mr Akpabio resigned his position as Senate Minority Leader upon his defection, Mr Saraki has said he will not resign as senate president, contrary to the wish of Mr Buhari’s party APC.
In his statement on Thursday, sent to PREMIUM TIMES by presidency officials, Mr Buhari did not speak on whether or not Mr Saraki should continue in office as senate president.
The president, however, said in Daura on Thursday that the combined efforts of defectors and their backers in the opposition will not distract his administration from the good work it is doing for the benefit and development of Nigeria.
He said the ruling APC has the full understanding of Nigeria’s challenges and is encouraged by the support of Nigerians in addressing them.
‘‘We are always encouraged when all our constituents are happy with the work we are doing and our genuine efforts to make sure that what we campaigned for in 2015 is still very much in our minds and we have not lost focus.
‘‘In terms of security, economy and the fight against corruption we have maintained focus. Even the opposition with all their resources cannot fault our identification of Nigeria’s priorities and the efforts being made to better them.
‘‘We will continue to do what we ought to do in the leadership position God has placed us and we thank the constituents for the support,’’ he said.
In his remarks, the leader of the delegation and Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, commended the president for his great efforts in keeping the nation together through visionary leadership.
He noted that President Buhari had remained focused and unshaken by situations and circumstances, adding that ‘‘it shows that your administration is approved by God.’’
Mr Okorocha told the president, ‘‘we are here to encourage you to keep doing what you are doing you as Nigerians are very very pleased with you.
‘‘We also want to inform you that we had wonderful and peaceful Sallah celebration across the country because of security of lives and property you have guaranteed in our nation.’’
Governor Okorocha was accompanied by the Governors of Katsina, Kebbi, Kano and Niger States.