Former Kano State Governor Ibrahim Shekarau yesterday defected to the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), saying he left the All Progressives Congress (APC) because of injustice in the party.
Shekarau announced his defection at the end of a meeting of stakeholders of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in the state, held at his Kano residence.
During the meeting, which was attended by hundreds of supporters from the 44 local government areas, the former governor said they were all cross carpeting to the PDP.
Shekarau, who was among founding APC leaders, had been sulking since the national headquarters proclaimed governors as party leaders in their states. This gave his long-standing political rival, Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso, a chance to upstage him in the party’s affairs.
The national headquarters as well as other party leaders in the state made some reconciliationefforts, but the former governor insisted that there was injustice that must be remedied.
Shekarau’s defection yesterday came days after his Sokoto counterpart, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, also left the APC for PDP, protesting the emergence of his rival, Governor Aliyu Wamakko, as party leader in the state.
At the gathering of supporters in Kano yesterday, Shekarau set the defection ball rolling when he enumerated the various challenges he encountered in APC and then asked his followers to suggest a way out.
Former chairman of Doguwa Local Government Area, Alhaji Shehu Maigari, spoke on behalf of the stakeholders and then moved a motion for the defection to PDP.
“We have realised that there won’t be justice and fairness in APC and as such I’m suggesting that we should collectively move to PDP,” he told the crowd.
Maigarai was seconded by secretary of the defunct ANPP in Gwale LGA, Yakubu Musa Hausawa, who also alleged injustice in APC. At this point, Alhaji Ghali Sadiq asked the crowd whether they supported the motion, and they unanimously chanted “mu na son PDP!”, meaning “we want PDP!”
Responding, Shekarau said with the endorsement of the motion, they were all moving to PDP.
“We are moving en masse, collectively and one-in-all to the PDP. With this development, we are calling on all our supporters, admirers and well-wishers to dissociate themselves from APC and join our brothers and sisters in PDP to move the country forward,” he said.
“When we were working for the formation of APC, we agreed that the interim leadership of the party should be given six months to organise the party. It was agreed that they should use the first three months to register members and the last three months should be used for the conduct of party election and convention.
“They have not done this, instead they took unconstitutional decisions. We wrote petition complaining about the way things have been done. They didn’t acknowledge receiving it and they have not responded to it six weeks after we sent it to them.
“The case is the same in Sokoto, Kwara, and Adamawa where disgruntled PDP governors have joined the party. We are not against anybody joining the party but what we want is fairness.
“It is against this that stakeholders of defunct ANPP unanimously agreed that we should denounce our membership of APC.”
When contacted by telephone, PDP state caretaker committee chairman Dr. Hassan Kafayos said the former governor and his supporters would get fair treatment in PDP.
“We are going to be just and fair to him in PDP,” he said.
“Malam Shekarau is equal to those of us that have been in PDP for long and we are going to carry him along in all our activities.
He will contribute towards the success of PDP in 2015.”
In his reaction, Governor Kwankwaso, through a spokesman, said Shekarau’s defection will not make any difference.
“His defection is a good sign that PDP is a crumbling house. We are not the ones that pushed him out; he left on his own because of his personal ego and aggrandisement. With this defection, Nigerians will know who is really a democrat,” said Jafar Jafar, a spokesman for Kwankwaso.
“If being a former governor is the yardstick of becoming the leader of a party, then Senator Kabir Gaya should be the leader of APC in Kano, but it is not. Over 90 percent of Shekarau’s supporters are with us and as such his defection won’t make any difference in the political calculation of Kano State.”
Meanwhile, National Assembly members of the defunct ANPP from Kano, who are now in APC, have said they would not be following Shekarau into PDP.
Senator Kabiru Ibrahim Gaya told Daily Trust he had earlier pleaded with Shekarau not to leave the APC because that is where he belongs.
“He left contrary to the advice of his people. He is alone and he is on his own because nobody went with him. Only one member of the State House of Assembly followed (him). All of us in the National Assembly are in the APC,” Gaya said.
Gaya also said he was too “big” to follow Shekarau to the PDP because Shekarau met him in the defunct ANPP.
“May be he (Shekarau) likes being in the opposition because soon PDP will become opposition in Nigeria,” Gaya added. The 11 House of Representatives APC members from Kano also re-affirmed their allegiance to APC.
“We wish to make it categorically clear today that, we are not leaving the APC for any political party. We have sacrificed a lot and have come a long way in the struggle to emancipate our people from the bondage of PDP misrule,” the Kano APC Reps caucus said at a news conference in Abuja yesterday.
“(We) will not look back, or backtrack, we will not look sideways, we will not leave our beloved APC for anything else,” said the caucus, in a jointly issued document read to journalists by Rep Abdurrahman Kawu Sumaila.
They urged the APC leadership to remain transparent and provide a level-playing field to all party members.
Other lawmakers in the caucus are Tijjani Abdulkadir Jobe, Usman Adamu Gaya, Haruna Musa Fatahi, Muhammad Sani Rano, Lawan Shehu Bichi, Abdulsalam Adamu, Badamasi Ayuba Danbatta, Nasir Baballe Ila and Nasir Ali Ahmed.