CHEKE EMMANUEL of New Telegraph reports on the gale of defections by members of the opposition in Nasarawa State to ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), which has not only boosted the ruling party in the state, but also the second term bid of Governor Abdullahi Sule.
Nasarawa State is currently witnessing a wave of mass defection as some high profile politicians have continued to dump the opposition parties for the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC). The Peoples Democratic party (PDP), Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Zenith Labour Party ( ZLP) are some of the parties worse hit by the current wave of defection as some their chieftains have moved to the APC with thousands of their supporters.
This development has not only boosted the membership registration and revalidation exercise of the APC in Nasarawa State, but has put the party in good stead ahead of the 2023 general election. At the last count, some members of the state House of Assembly have defected to the APC from the PDP, ZLP and SDP.
They are John Osewu, (Doma South state constituency) Abdulaziz Danladi (Keffi East state constituency). Others are a former member of the state Assembly, Hon. Ada Goje as well as a former member of the House of Representatives, who represented Lafia/ Obi federal constituency, Dr. Joseph Kigbu.
The former federal legislator dumped the PDP for the APC alongside over 10,000 of his followers during a recent grand reception in his honour held at the Lafia Square in the state capital.
While these defections may not be unconnected with what some political analysts and observers in the state have described as the visionary and all inclusive leadership style of Governor Abdullahi Sule, there is no doubt that the moves have continued to widen the gap between the opposition political parties and the ruling APC, particularly the PDP, which has been torn apart as a result of internal crisis bedeviling the party. To some analysts, Nasarawa is fast becoming a one party state as the vari-ous opposition parties no longer hold activities due to unending crises rocking them.
Also, besides boosting the membership registration revalidation exercise of the APC, the mass defection of politicians from the opposition parties to the ruling party has not only made the party thick, but it has brighten the prospects of Governor Sule’s second term bid as the moves seem to have silenced the opposition parties in the state in favour of the ruling party.
This attested to the comments made by some of the decampees during grand receptions organised in their honour both in Lafia, Doma and Keffi respectively, when they were separately quoted as saying that with their defection, their former parties are dead in the state.
Giving reasons for his defection at a grand reception held at the Lafia Square, Hon. Kigbu said he decided to leave the PDP for APC in order to identify with what he described as the inclusive and pragmatic leadership style of Governor Sule as wll as to to support the good work the governor is doing in the state.
The former lawmaker added that his defection is like the Biblical prodigal son who returned home after a long sojourn even as he declared that his decision to join the APC was not to fight for position but to support Governor Sule in developing the state.
In his keynote address at the reception, a former speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, who was amongst dignitaries at the event, lauded Governor Sule for providing the right leadership to the people of the state, and challenged other leaders to emulate him.
Similarly, a serving member of the state House of Assembly representing Doma South state constituency, Hon. John Osewu, who left PDP for APC told the mammoth crowd in Doma during a reception to receive him and hundreds of his followers that he decided to dump his former party to join forces with Governor Sule administration’s to develop the state.
According to the lawmaker, the leadership style and development approach of the governor, especially his inclusive leadership style and his spirit of continuity in governance has endeared him and his followers to the ruling party. He, therefore, pledged one hundred percent support and loyalty to the ruling party and the present administration in the state.
A former member of the state Assembly, Hon. Ada Goje who also left the PDP for APC, said he and his followers decided to join the ruling party to support Governor Sule’s bid to bring development to the state. With the defection of some members of the state House of Assembly, the 6th Assembly is now dominated by APC lawmakers.
The ruling party now has 17 out of the 24 members, while the PDP has six members. ZLP has one. Analysts said that the mass defection of some of this high profile politicians in the state along thousands of their followers was politically motivated, adding that there had been no such mass defection of members of the opposition parties to the ruling party in the state in the political history of the state until now.
The analysts also attributed the move to the handiwork of Governor Sule, who they said, has been working silently to mobilise the people of the state to actualize his second term ambition. “You can agree with me that there is peace and stability in the political space in Nasarawa State since Abdullahi Sule became the governor.
You know that Sule is a gentleman and a lover of peace and when you look at his antecedents in the private sector, you will agree with me that he is a successful man. “The governor is a silent achiever; his inclusive leadership style is what is attracting people from the opposition parties to his government.
You can see the number of prominent politicians who have defected to the APC in the state and that shows that the man is someone to identify with,” one of the analysts said. Although the governor has not made public his intention to seek re-election in 2023, individuals and groups have continued to endorse him for a second term in office.
First to endorse him was a former governor of the state and now the senator representing Nasarawa West Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, who led stakeholders from on a courtesy visit to the governor to inform him that they are satisfied with his performance and leadership style hence their endorsement.
Adamu told Governor Sule that nobody from the western senatorial district of the state will contest the position of governor with him in 2023 as he remains their sole candidate for the position. The leadership of the APC in the state has also passed a vote of confidence on the governor, saying that his excellent leadership style and achievement has made the party and the people of the state proud hence their support.
The Tiv APC Support Group equally joined groups that have endorsed Governor Sule for a second term, when its members converged on Keana, headquarters of Keana Local Goverernment Area of the state to declare their unflinching support to the administration of Governor Sule as well as called on him to seek re-election in 2023.
The Convener of the Tiv APC Support Group, Dr. Tarhemba hinted that the group was convinced by peace initiatives and developmental strides of Governor Sule hence their endorsement for him to run for a second term in office in 2023. Most recently, stakeholders from Laminga declared their loyalty to the governor, when they paid a courtesy visit on him at the government house, Lafia. Interestingly, all the aspirants that contested the governorship primaries of the APC with Governor Sule are also supporting his second term bid. This is as the council of chiefs in the state led by Hon. Justice Sidi Bage Mohammed (rtd), also declared support for the governor.
Against the backdrop of these endorsements and support, the second term ambition of the governor is likely to be a smooth ride if he decides to re-contest for the office of governor in 2023.
However, some political watchers in the state that the governor needs to conduct local government election in the state to enable him bring his loyalists as chairmen, who will in turn genuinely mobilise the electorate at the grassroots for him ahead of general election.
Above all, it was also advanced that there is urgent need for the governor to take full control of APC structures in the state and genuinely work towards getting all stakeholders in the state to buy into his 2023 ambition.
Source: New Telegraph