Three House of Representatives members from Katsina State have defected to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) after meeting privately with the PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar in Sokoto Sunday night.
PREMIUM TIMES reliably gathered from two top aides of the immediate former Secretary to the Government of Katsina State, Mustapha Inuwa, who facilitated the meeting between the legislators and Mr Atiku.
The APC representatives who ditched their party were Hamza Dalhatu (Rimi/Charanci/Batagarawa constituency), Salisu Iro (Katsina constituency) and Ahmad Dayyabu (Danmusa/Batsari/Safana constituency). Two businessmen, owners of NAK Enterprises, Bilyaminu Funtua and Kabir Kabir – Bilya who were also prominent members of the APC decided to join the PDP after the meeting.
The trio of legislators failed in their bid to secure a return ticket to the lower chamber of the National Assembly during last year’s APC primary elections.
One of the aides, who asked not to be named because he was not authorised to speak to the press, told PREMIUM TIMES the legislators had earlier expressed their desire to leave the APC but needed to meet with the PDP Atiku before taking the leap.
“You know we had leadership issues in the party (PDP) in Katsina state. They (legislators) wanted to decamp but were not sure of how they would be received but when Oga (Mr Inuwa) convinced them, they asked to be given assurance they would be accorded the same respect as other party members.
“Immediately after our rally in Charanci, he (Mr Inuwa) reached out to Atiku and a decision was taken to take the decampees to Sokoto. They are with us here and will go to Zamfara today (Monday) for the presidential rally,” he said.
While Messrs Dayyabu and Iro were yet to announce their exit from the party prior to the Sunday meeting, Mr Dalhat had in a letter seen by PREMIUM TIMES and addressed to his Batagarawa Ward “A” party chairman announced his exit from the APC.
The three legislators didn’t respond to calls and SMS by this reporter but one of Mr Iro’s aides, who wished to remain anonymous because he was not authorised to speak yet, confirmed the defection and sent PREMIUM TIMES some pictures from the meeting.
In June last year, three other House of Representatives members from the state also ditched the party for the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) after the primary elections.
The legislators, Ibrahim Babangida (Malumfashi/Kafur constituency), Armaya’u Kado (Dutsin Ma/Kurfi constituency) and Aminu Ashiru (Mani/Bindawa constituency), said they were not satisfied with the party’s conduct of the primaries. While Mr Babangida is now contesting for the Katsina South seat in the Senate, Messrs Ashiru and Kado are seeking to retain their seats.
A few days after, President Buhari’s nephew, Fatuhu Muhammad (Daura/Sandamu/Mai’Adua constituency) left the party after he accused some of the president’s top aides of sabotaging his efforts to retain the party’s ticket.
Though he returned to the party after a high-profile committee led by Kashim Shettima, the party’s vice presidential candidate, met him, Mr Muhammad has not been participating in the party’s activities at both state and federal levels.
Mustapha Inuwa, the former SGS, also left the party after the gubernatorial primaries.
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