The leader of a faction of opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ahmed Makarfi, has disputed the report that 25,000 members have fled from the party to the ruling All Progressives Congress ,APC, in Kebbi State.
According to the former governor of Kaduna State, the reported figure of the politicians involved was exaggerated.
The News Agency of Nigeria had reported that the former PDP Chairman in Kebbi state, Bello Doya, led the members to the ruling party on Sunday.
According to the report, Governor Atiku Bagudu, APC leaders and hundreds of supporters from the 21 local government areas of the state were on hand to receive the defectors, among whom were Isah Argungu, the former Director-General of the campaign organization of former governor Saidu Dakingari and the 2015 PDP gubernatorial candidate, Bello Sarkin-Yaki.
Others listed to have changed allegiance were three current members of the State House of Assembly elected on PDP platform, 10 former local government council chairmen, as well as former local government party and ward chairmen.
The list also had no about 160 former councillors, businessmen and contractors, as well as women and youth group leaders.
But Mr. Makarfi expressed doubt with the number of those reported to be involved.
In a text message to our reporter on Tuesday in Kaduna, he said: “Will Government House accommodate 25,000 people? I understand that was where the defectors were received.
“The papers I have read mentioned 5,000, though. Even this number the Government House cannot accommodate.”
He, however, did not provide the exact number of the decampees.
Also, Ibrahim Arzika Bui, Kebbi state secretary of the PDP, in a telephone chat with our reporter insisted that he, some officials and many other members remain loyal to the PDP.
“I have been in the PDP since 1998 and I have never contemplated defecting to any party. Therefore, the defection of some of our members has not in any way discouraged me or affected my loyalty and confidence in the PDP,” Mr. Bui said.
The spokesperson of the decampees, Mr. Argungu, said their decision to decamp was informed by the achievements of the APC administration at both the state and federal levels.
The state’s APC chairman, Attahiru Maccido, said the new members joined the party willingly.
In his remarks, Governor Bagudu promised to give equal opportunities to both new and old members.
“APC is a blessing to Nigeria, it has become the party of all. In APC everybody is equal, all will be treated equally and fairly,” he said.