The recent All Progressives Congress (APC) rally in Katsina State has raised many questions. The crowd was huge. Many Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains defected to the ruling party. AUGUSTINE OKEZIE, who witnessed the event, reports that the Northwest state is gradually becoming a one-party state.
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, fired the first salvo when he declared that the quality and number of defectorsto the ruling party showed that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other opposition parties in the Katsina State had fizzled out.
It was at the recent APC rally in Katsina, the state capital.
Odigie-Oyegun said: “Let me take pride in welcoming the hundreds of thousands of people who are joining the APC. It shows PDP is dead and buried in Katsina State,”
And while justifying the endorsement of President Muhammadu Buhari for 2019 by the mammoth crowd at the grand rally, Oyegun added:
“I have received a lot of decampees; this one today is special. Congratulations, the people of Katsina State. What I am seeing today is a sign that you approve of your governor, Aminu Bello Masari, and that this is the state of the president.
“It is a sign that you also approve of what President Muhammadu Buhari is doing. I am going back to Abuja with the message that the people of this state and country are behind the president.”
The governor, Aminu Masari, also described the defectors as distinguished Nigerians who had succeeded in their fields of endeavors were motivated by the successes of the party. The governor thanked Oyegun and the National Working Committee (NWC) for honoring the state with their presence, and said Katsina people would do whatever that is necessary to ensure the success of APC in next year’s elections.
He said “We are working hard to ensure that between 80 to 90 per cent of the registered Nigerian voters casts their votes for Buhari and the APC, we are also determined to ensure that no part of the states will be left behind in the task of delivering Nigerians from darkness.”
The Chairman of the party, Alhaji Shittu, while introducing the 12 major defecting groups, led by Senator Ibrahim Muhammad Ida, and 343,860 others from various parties to the APC, said more defectors were on the way.
However, the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Prince Uche Secondus, while replying the APC Chairman on his claim that the PDP is dead, said Oyegun will regret the statement, adding that the process of ejecting the APC from Aso Villa and the states has begun.
Secondu,s who spoke in Duste, capital of Jigawa State at a rally to kick start the party’s mass mobilization, ahead of 2019, added that only a living and active party like the PDP can reclaim Nigeria
He said: “Let him come here or call his governor ruling this state to give him report of what a dead party did in his state today”, The chairman said Nigerians have more than enough reasons why they should throw away the APC in their political life because it has been three years of hell and inactivity in governance.
“All the indices in all sectors of our national life in the past three years show very clearly that the Nigeria situation is getting worse and the people cannot wait to see off the APC’’.
The chairman of the PDP in Katsina State, Alhaji Salisu Majigiri, also condemned the APC over its claim of one party state.
He said: ‘’How can they say we have one party state in Katsina, when they are boasting that the former Speaker of the House of Assembly decamped to their party, but we equally have in our fold, another former Speaker?’’
“A party that has been in power for 16 years in the state, how can they say we are dead?’’
The State Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Garba Sani, said rather than being decimated politically, the party is waxing stronger in popularity and electoral victory. He disclosed that the chapter will soon host its grand rally to welcome defectors from the APC and other parties
Sani said: “Soon, we shall be welcoming decampees from other parties at a grand rally, even a big fish like Alhaji Ibrahim Lado, Danmarku from the Peoples Democratic Movement, PDM, and thousands of others shall be joining our party” in the last by-election in Marshi federal constituency, we scored up to 20,000 votes while the APC scored 27,000 votes.”
According to observers, the PDP is down in Katsina. But, the party is not a complete write-off in the state, despite the fact that its visibility and vibrancy may have declined, compared to the ruling APC
When the incumbency factor is considered along with the usual rush to belong to the party in power by indigenes, the APC is firmly on the driving seat and bent on retaining power.
The opposition parties in the state are not relenting in their bid to bounce back. But, as an observer put it, they have to work harder, if they want to upstage the APC in next year’s elections.
This news was originally posted by The Nation Online on 5th April, 2018