A former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Friday, met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The meeting was also attended by the Yobe State Governor, Mala Buni, who currently heads the interim committee managing Nigeria’s ruling party, APC.
At the end of the meeting, Mr Buni told State House journalists that President Buhari welcomed Mr Dogara back to the APC.
“He welcomed him. He’s happy with the development. That’s what he’s looking for. We are rebuilding the party and these are the steps we are taking towards rebuilding the party,” the APC leader said.
PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported how Mr Dogara returned to the APC, two years after leaving the party for the main opposition party, PDP.
Mr Dogara won his re-election as a lawmaker under the PDP platform in 2019 but could not contest for the speaker as his party had become the minority party.
Mr Buni told the journalists that Mr Dogara’s return was part of efforts to get aggrieved members of the APC to return to the party.
“Well, we are meeting all our aggrieved members particularly (those) who have interest in coming back to the party. They should feel free to do so. We are assuring them and there is no crime in double assurance,” he said.
Read excerpts of Mr Buni’s interview with journalists below.
On the purpose of the visit, Mr Buni said:
“We paid courtesy call on the President in continuation of our effort to rebuild the party. We are here to see Mr President and brief him on the developments.”
When told that people may be surprised to see him with Mr Dogara, Mr Buni said:
“They shouldn’t be surprised because the former Speaker is a member of the APC and he is because the reason he left the APC is no more there.”
When he was asked if Mr Dogara is back to the APC, Mr Buni said:
“Yeah, he’s back.”
On the president’s reaction to Mr Dogara’s return, the Yobe governor said:
“He welcomed him. He’s happy with the development. That’s what he’s looking for. We are rebuilding the party and these are the steps we are taking towards rebuilding the party.”
When asked how far the party will go to get everybody back, he said:
“Well, we are meeting all our aggrieved members, particularly (those) who have interest in coming back to the party. They should feel free to do so. We are assuring them and there is no crime in double assurance.”
When asked when there will be an end to all the APC crises, he said:
“Shortly In sha Allah.”
Mr Buni was also asked what assurance the APC was giving to the returnees. He said:
“We will do justice to all our members and that’s what will bring peace and that is why will guarantee peaceful coexistence, that is what will bring the consolidation of the party, the rebuilding of the party. Without doing justice, you cannot achieve that and we are sure of doing justice to all our members.”
When asked if that was part of the party’s 2023 strategy, Mr Buni said:
“Well, of course, not only 2023 strategy, this party, we are rebuilding the party to outlive all of us. It’s not only about specific time or period, it’s not about election, it’s not about electioneering. It is about building a party.”
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