By Johnbosco Agbakwuru & Levinus Nwabughiogu
FORMER Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara has dumped the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
The Chairman of the APC Caretaker/Convention Planning Committee and Governor of Yobe State, Mai Malla Buni, disclosed this after the duo met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Although Dogara declined to speak after the meeting, Mai Buni told journalists that the former Speaker “is now a member of APC.”
He said that they were at the Presidential Villa to pay a courtesy visit on the President and to brief him on the development in the rebuilding efforts of the Caretaker Committee.
According to him, “We paid a courtesy call on the President in continuation of our efforts in rebuilding the party, we are here to see Mr. President and brief him on the development.”
Reminded that some people may be surprise seeing him at the State House with the former Speaker who was a member of the opposition, he said that Dogara has returned to the APC as the reason that made him to leave was no longer there. He said,”Nigerians shouldn’t be surprised because the former Speaker is a member of the APC, the reason in which he left the APC is no longer there and he is back now.”
On the reaction of President Buhari seeing Dogara, Buni said, “the President welcomed him, he is happy with the development, that is what he is looking for. We are rebuilding the party, and these are the steps we are taking towards rebuilding the party.”
Also asked about the efforts he was making to ensure that he brought back other party members who decamped, he said that he was meeting all the aggrieved members to bring them back.
“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 also promised to put an end to the crisis in APC soon while assuring that the returnees would be given equal treatment and opportunity.
He said, “We will ensure justice for all our members, that is what will bring peace, that is what will guarantee peaceful coexistence, that is what will guarantee the consolidation and rebuilding of the party and without doing justice you cannot achieve that.” When asked whether what he was doing was part of 2023 strategy, he said,”Not only 2023 strategy but we are rebuilding the party to outlive all of us. It is not about a specific time or period, it is not about election or electioneering, it is about rebuilding our party.”
Dogara first dumped the PDP in 2014 and re-contested for the House of Representatives seat in 2015 on the platform of the APC.
Although, he was not the party’s candidate for the position of speaker, he was supported by the PDP members to clinch the position. He later went back to the PDP before the 2019 elections, contested again and won.
Speculation of leadership change in the House
Meanwhile, Dogara’s return to the party has suddenly fuelled speculations about a possible change of leadership in the House in preparation. Sources said that there may be a shake up in the House which may see him return as Speaker.
A source said that the target may be to dislodge a prominent leader of the party who was being speculated as having his eyes on the number one seat in the country in 2023.
The source added that the last had not been seen in the party, adding that a serious political cold war among the party leaders was afoot
Craving anonymity, the source added that recent disturbing developments in the ruling party were clear evidences that there would be realignments soon.
The Source wondered what deal Dogara may have had with the powers-that-be to make him ditch the PDP and defect to the party he had earlier rejected.
According to the source, “what else could he be looking for after serving as Speaker?”
But another source who spoke debunked the speculation, saying that even if Dogara had negotiated for the speakership of the House, it would not be possible to achieve as he hailed from the same northern region with Buhari and the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan.
The top source from the southern part of the country said it would spell doom for the APC and even the country, if the party decides to foist a northerner as the Speaker of the House with Lawan already at the Senate.
The source said it was possible the APC government may have promised to make him a Minister, stressing that the only way to achieve that was for him to return to the party. Former National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief John Odigie Oyegun has welcomed Hon. Yakubu Dogara back to the party. Oyegun who spoke exclusively to Saturday Vanguard on Friday said that Dogara was an asset that will boost the fortunes of the party.
Welcoming Dogara, Oyegun described him as a man of quality.
“It’s avery welcome news. He’s a very sober person, very deep, accommodating of alternative use. It’s definitely a welcome addition. His coming back will boost the fortunes of our party. When you get a man of that quality, it’s always a good thing”, he said.