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Adamawa defection saga: Governor has no business with PDP – Salihu Mustapha

Adamawa defection saga: Governor has no business with PDP – Salihu Mustapha

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The North-East Zonal Vice-Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Salihu Mustapha, in this interview with HINDI LIVINUS, explains why the Adamawa State Governor, Jibrilla Bindow, will not defect to the Peoples Democratic Party

An official of the PDP confirmed to us that a former ambassador and the Adamawa State Governor, Jibrilla Bindow, have been talking with the PDP. Do you think that the governor will soon dump APC?

Actually, Ambassador James Barka was a member of the PDP, who defected to the APC because he believes we share common goals and common objectives and we have common philosophy. From our discussions, I had with him two days ago, he’s still a resolute and a strong member of the APC. I am the National Vice-Chairman of the APC, North-East; any PDP member from the zone has the right to visit my house.

If any leader of the PDP in Adamawa State decides to visit my house; I will welcome the person, I will feed them and talk with them. I will also encourage them to join the APC. There is nothing wrong with Ambassador James Barka, talking with people he knows, who are his brothers. He still remains a resolute member of the APC. There was never a day he ever contemplated leaving the party. Bindow is equally, a pillar in the APC.

Without any contradiction, Bindow is the first senator to have defected to the APC in 2014 because he believes the merger would work and that the APC would deliver the dividends of democracy to the populace. He (Bindow) has no business with the PDP. He knows that he if goes to the PDP, the money he is using for the construction and rehabilitation of roads will be taken and shared. He will never contemplate going back to the PDP. There is no crime in having a desire; if the PDP had access to Buhari, they could say they had asked him to defect to the PDP.

Leaders of the PDP in Adamawa State are accusing the APC of being in disarray in recent time. Is their perception of your party correct?

They have a wrong perception of our party. First, the strength of a party is not in its size, but in its quality. Even looking at the size of the party, we have grown tremendously and we have grown our membership and the quality of the party has improved significantly. There are a lot of quality people that have defected to the party. I would not want to believe that we are not formidable or that we have lost strength as a result of a few defections and the internal disagreement of our members.

As the saying goes, what does not kill you can only make you stronger. We have gone to congresses and came out stronger. We are doing consultations and making a lot of progress in our reconciliation efforts. The party at the end will come out more formidable and will create history both within Nigeria and Africa at large.

Just recently, some governors, the Senate President Bukola Saraki and many other federal legislators left the APC. Are you worried by these defections?

I believe in freedom of association. Governor Aminu Tambuwal and others have the right to vie for their ambitions through any platform they deem fit. Personally, I think Tambuwal has made a fundamental mistake because he is from a region that is considered, a stronghold of the APC, where we have a lot of stalwarts like former governor Aliyu Wammako.  From analysis of experts, Sokoto is made up of two groups: the first belongs to Buhari while the second belongs to Wammako. I don’t know where Tambuwal belongs to in the political permutations in that state. So, I don’t think the decision he made was a wise one. But I still can’t fault him, because it is his right to decide what he thinks is good for him. With regards to Senate President Bukola Saraki and other people that defected, I also believe that they have the right to associate and disassociate. Just the way Senator Godswill Akpabio felt it is no longer comfortable for him to stay in the PDP and defected to the APC. But what we were expecting Saraki to do was to emulate Akpabio and resign as the Senate President.

As one of the leaders of the party, don’t you think that your party should have handled the issues that led to the defection better?

This is politics. Even in the smallest party in the country, if you go there and you look inside, you will find out that a lot of people are disgruntled. This is because, in most cases, politics in this part of the world is about the winner takes it all. There is no medal for second position. Conflict is inherent in all political activities.

That is not to dismiss their claims that some of the defectors were slighted; if you are slighted. That is not enough reason for you to leave. They should have laid their grudges before the party, and allow the party to look at it. Saraki did that; you were aware that as the National Working Committee of the APC, we visited the Senate and we spoke with them at length behind closed doors. There were a lot of agreements that were made with the national chairman. Some governors, in the party took Saraki to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The President said, “If I have done anything wrong to you in anyway, I am sorry.”  Saraki said the same thing. “If I have offended you in anyway, I’m also sorry.” Only for Saraki, to go the next day, through the spokesman for the so-called R-APC, to say, that they would not listen to any apology.

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