Defectors were presented with cars and cash gifts by the governor
The Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, on Monday night played host to hundreds of officials and functionaries of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who came in from a remote local government of the state to declare their loyalty and support for his All Progressives Congress, APC, controlled government.
The visitors said they included representatives of all the units, wards and local government officials of the PDP in Guzamala council of Borno State.
The defecting politicians, who arrived Maiduguri at about 3 p.m. on Monday, remained within the precinct of the Government House for hours until the governor received them in the large multipurpose hall at about 7 p.m.
Mr. Shettima, accompanied by the state’s APC chairman, Kaka Yale; the Speaker, Borno State Assembly, Abdulkareem Lawan; and other public and party officials appeared thrilled while attending to the decamping PDP members.
The Guzamala local government defection is the highest of all defections received by Mr. Shettima in the last six months.
The leader of the defecting PDP members, Tijjani Goni, a former state secretary of the PDP and one-time chairman of Guzamala council, triumphantly declared, “Your Excellency, before you is a total number of 2, 047 PDP diehards who had all these years remained rooted in the party despite the pains of being in the opposition in this state. With their presence inside this government house tonight, the PDP is as good as defunct in Guzamala local government.
“Our coming to the APC is nothing but in appreciation of your good leadership quality and genuine commitment to transform Borno State. We have painstakingly mobilised these leaders in various wards and units of our local government and brought them all the way to Maiduguri in convoys of vehicles just to show you we are not political jobbers but real people. These former PDP functionaries are leaders in their various locales and also have their followers, who are now members of the APC, accordingly,” he said.
Mr. Goni said the 2,047 defectors were from the 10 wards of Guzamala.
He pointed out that although they were politicians, they were also farmers and businessmen of repute and who do politics not for selfish interests but for the betterment of the society and their communities.
The new APC entrants, however, gave conditions for their continued loyalty to the party. The conditions included: “Job opportunities for our teaming children who graduate from university, polytechnics and colleges of education. We need better schools in Guzamala, we need sources of potable drinking water, we need good roads and agricultural enhancing implements.”
Mr. Shettima promised a prompt response to most of their demands, which he said were all reflected in the just passed 2014 budget. He urged the people to ensure they participated in the party membership registration which would commence all over the state on Wednesday. He also urged them to be continually supportive of his administration.
The high point of the event was the donation of 10 vehicles to the ward leaders, as announced by the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr. Lawan, who was backed by the Chief of Staff, Abubakar Kyari’s donation of N2 million as well as many other cash donations.
The village politicians, who had to pass the night within the precinct of the Government House before returning home on Tuesday morning, applauded Mr. Shettima’s ‘generosity.’
Reacting to the development, Mahdi Badairi, who is the state secretary of PDP, told PREMIUM TIMES that although he was not in the state on Monday and Tuesday, neither he nor the state chairman, Baba Basharu, had received any official or personal message from the Guzamala party officials they would be leaving the party.
“Party offices are not trivial and anyone leaving a party office or defecting has to advance an official communication to that effect,” said Mr. Badairi. “Hence, I will say I have not received such communication and our party chairman too is not aware of anyone leaving our great party in Guzamala. This is a season for politics and anyone can claim anything to make ends meet. As far as we are concerned our party structure in Guzamala is intact,” he said.