- Buhari happy with development
Twenty-two months after dumping the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), a former speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, yesterday returned to the party.
Multiple sources said the defection of the federal lawmaker from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC may not be unconnected with his feud with Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State and 2023 politicking.
The governor has however denied having any disagreement with the former speaker.
The defection of Dogara was announced by the governor of Yobe State and chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee, Mai Mala Buni, after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and the former speaker at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buni, when asked by reporters whether Dogara had returned to the APC, he said: “Yeah, he’s back.”
On whether his return was about 2023, Buni said: “Well, of course, not only 2023 strategy, this party, we are rebuilding the party to outlive all of us. It’s not only about specific time or period, it’s not about election, it’s not about electioneering. It is about building a party.
“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.
“We will do justice to all our members and that’s what will bring peace and that is what will guarantee peaceful co-existence, that is what will bring the consolidation of the party, the rebuilding of the party. Without doing justice, you cannot achieve that and we are sure of doing justice to all our members.”
Buhari happy with development
Governor Buni said his visit to the State House was to brief President Buhari on the developments in the APC.
On Buhari’s reaction to Dogara’s return, Buni said; “He (Buhari) welcomed him. He’s happy with the development. That’s what he’s looking for. We are rebuilding the party and these are the steps we are taking towards rebuilding the party. Similarly, the media aide to Buni, Mamman Mohammed, said the return of Dogara was just the beginning of the good things awaiting the party under Gov. Buni’s watch.
“I want to assure you that APC in the next six months will not only recover from the threat of disintegration but will wax stronger to remain the leading party in Nigeria,” he said.
2023, feud with Bauch gov.
A close associate of the former speaker said his defection was part of a move to make him the running mate of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu in 2023.
The source who hails from the same place with Dogara told one of our reporters on telephone on condition of anonymity that talks were on in that regard.
“Though he has not declared that, he has gone back to the APC, we are aware that there are talks Tinubu wants to pick him as his running mate,” he said.
However, a source close to Tinubu said: “He (Dogara) made his own calculation to return to APC to become a candidate for vice president. He cannot become Tinubu’s running mate because his political value is not that much.”
Dogara’s spokesman, Turaki Hassan, was unavailable for comment as he did not pick his calls. Another source in Bauchi said Governor Bala Mohammed and the former speaker were feuding.
“They are now not on good terms with Bauchi State governor at the moment. In politics everything is possible, you will see politicians fighting today and see them dining and wining tomorrow. So, I am not surprised,” he said.
Dogara’s three defections
With this defection, Dogara who has represented Bogoro/Das/Tafawa Balewa Federal constituency of Bauchi State since 2007, has cross carpeted thrice, jumping from the PDP to APC.
His first defection was in 2014 when he, together with other revolting members of the PDP tagged ‘new-PDP’, joined the APC.
At the inauguration of the National Assembly in June 2015, Dogara together with the likes of the former governor of Kwara State, Bukola Saraki, rebelled against the leadership of the APC to snatch the leadership of the parliament.
With the backing of PDP lawmakers, Dogara emerged as the speaker while his partner, Saraki, became the senate president.
Soon after emerging as the speaker, his relationship with the then governor of Bauchi State, Mohammed Abubakar, turned sour, even as he contended with his feud with the presidency.
With the escalation of the feud, Dogara on September 20, 2018, formally returned to the PDP.
In the last general elections, Dogara did not only win his Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa Balewa federal constituency of Bauchi, he also played a critical role in the emergence of Governor Bala Mohammed.
I have no misunderstanding with Doraga – Bauchi gov
Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed says he has no any misunderstanding with Dogara.
His media aide, Mukhtar Gidado, who stated this in a telephone interview, said, “I am not aware of any frosty relationship between my principal and Yakubu Dogara.
“I think Dogara should be the one to explain to the public the kind of misunderstanding he has with Governor Bala Mohammad. My position on the issue is that my principal has no misunderstanding with Dogara.”
We are in shock—PDP
Meanwhile, the PDP has expressed shock over Dogara’s defection to the APC.
The chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the PDP, Senator Walid Jubrin, told Daily Trust: “We are surprised to hear that. The BoT will react tomorrow (today) when we have all the details.”
A chieftain of the APC, Alhaji Aminu Yakudima said, “We are not in shock. Dogara was not there for the yearnings and aspirations of the people. He was not there to add value to the PDP,” he said.
The PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, said the purported return of Dogara to the ruling party was nothing but a mere rumour.
Secondus who spoke through his media aide, Ike Abonyi, said, “PDP is yet to confirm it. If we confirm it, we will react if need be.
“For now, we still consider it as a rumour,” he said.
Also, the Bauchi State chapter of PDP has expressed shock over Dogara’s defection.
The state PDP Publicity Secretary, Yayanuwa Zainabari, said; “The PDP as a party has no problem or challenge with Dogara because the party gave him automatic ticket to respect his dignity and position as Speaker of the House of Representatives to contest his Dass/Tafawa Balewa Constituency by stopping it’s members from contesting against him.”
On his part, the Bauchi State chairman of the APC, Alhaji Uba Nana, said what happened was a home coming and another milestone in the democratic history of Bauchi State.
“We are extremely happy to have an illustrious son of Bauchi and member of the APC family back home. We are going to arrange a special home coming event for his return.” he said.