The latest new entrants into the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) following a gale of defection from the opposition parties particularly the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) were on Monday presented to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa.
The callers are a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole and a one-time Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel.
The Governor of Yobe, Mai Mala Buni, who is the Chairman, Caretaker Committee and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of APC and governors of Jigawa State, Mohammed Badaru and Kebbi, Atiku Bagudu presented the chieftains to Buhari.
Persecondnews recalls that Daniel was governor of Ogun from 2003 to 2011 while Bankole was the Speaker of the House of Representatives 2007–2011, both on the platform of PDP.
Bankole later defected to African Democratic Party (ADP) to contest governorship in Ogun State in 2019.
Buni told State House correspondents after the ceremony: “We came to present new members of our party, Daniel and Bankole. Mr. President is impressed and happy that leaders of such caliber are joining our party at this time we are registering new members and validating our memberships.
“Indeed, this is the right time for them to join us and that is exactly why Mr. President is very happy. He is pleased and impressed.”
Also fielding questions from newsmen, Bankole said he decided to join the ruling party to give support to Buhari’s effort.
“There are issues we need to solve and any reasonable human beings should support at this moment. From Borno to Lagos, Bayelsa to Sokoto. These are critical times and we should not be found wanting.
“This is the time to step up and support so that these decisions can be taken, executed and owned by us as a nation. Because 10 years from now, 20 years from now, people ask who stood up when these things were happening?
“It is every citizen’s right and all we have done is exercise it today. But actions from now will speak for us.’’
Daniel, fondly called OGD, asked: “Why APC? There are too many options in the party. One thing is sure that we are going through health and economic challenges. We must do less of political contestations and give support.
“One thing that is sure is that the entire world is going through challenges that are global challenges, economic challenges, health challenges.
“And when you are in a situation like this, as I usually opined, we should do less of partisan contestation, all of us must come together to support whoever is in power.’’
“What we have decided to do is to come and give our support to the president so that jointly, we can continuously navigate the country that is what is relevant,’’ said a former Director-General of Atiku Presidential Campaign Organization.
On whether the country was moving to a one-party state with the mass defections, the one-time governor said: “Definitely any political environment, whether it is multi-party or two-party, there will usually be a majority party and the minority party. So I don’t think that there’s anything new that has happened.
“The contestation is quite exciting. I think what’s important is that parties should look inwards and organise themselves very well so that at any point in time the people will have an opportunity to make an informed choice and that I think is what is going on.
“A few years ago, when PDP was at the helm of affairs at the centre, I think the last count out of the 36 states, PDP was in charge in more than 24 states at that time and the country did not become a one-party state. So I think what is going on is quite healthy.’’