- Presidency said the lawmakers who recently defected from the APC will work for President Buhari’s re-election
- President Buhari’s aide on National Assembly matters, Solomon Ita Enang, said the lawmakers do not have any problem with the president
- He added that the lawmakers have not fully defected and that there is room for reconciliation
- However, some of the defected lawmakers said Etang’s statement is not true, adding that nobody among them agreed to work for Buhari’s re-election
The presidency on Thursday, July 26, said that it has met and discussed with a large number of senators and members of the House of Representatives who dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other opposition political parties.
It stated that the defectors had resolved to work for the actualization of President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2019 re-election bid, Vanguard reports.
According to the presidency, the federal lawmakers, who dumped the APC, never defected but merely expressed intent.
Addressing journalists on Thursday, July 26, in Abuja, the senior special assistant to the president on National Assembly matters (Senate), Senator Solomon Ita Enang, said the defected legislators, comprising 14 Senators and 37 House of Representatives members, had assured the presidency of their readiness to campaign for the re-election of President Buhari in 2019.
Enang, however, did not rule out the possibility of some of the defectors returning to APC.
“They have not fully defected as they only signified their intention to move to another party, so that gives room for conciliation and reconciliation,” he said.
Speaking further, Senator Enang said: “On the heels of the adjournment of the National Assembly, senators and members of the House of Representatives announced their defection from one party to others.
“We appreciate that the entire intending defectors or aggrieved members of the APC have not defected but expressed grievances.
“But in all the grievances expressed, none is attributed or directed at President Muhammadu Buhari, nor his actions or any action or omission of the president or the federal government.
“In fact, in my interaction pre and post-expression of intent to defect, all the dramatis personae, the distinguished senators and honourable members expressed their solidarity and support for Mr President and stated categorically that their grievances and consequent actions are not directed against President Buhari nor his re-election bid, but domestic actors in their constituency, such as governors, state party leaders or frustration over zoning or, indeed, calculations for a return ticket or platform for 2019 elections.
“Indeed, a great number of them have indicated that even if they pursue their bid on a different political platform, they will still campaign for President Buhari for 2019 on the APC platform.
“But have there been defection or a mere expression of intent? APC is today one united, strong party. “What has been done by the distinguished senators and honourable members is group notice to switch camp, it is inchoate and leaves windows, doors and rooms for further consultation for resolution because our party cares for all members in or out of office. And like the Holy Bible enjoins, if you lose one sheep out of 100, preserve 99 and go and search for the one lost.
“The executive will keep treating the legislators with respect due their persons and offices and keep working with them as legislators who make laws for the Executive to execute, irrespective of their individual political decisions while leaving all options open for conciliation.”
Reacting to the presidency’s claim, the chairman, Senate committee on banking, insurance and other financial institutions, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, Kwara South, described as blatant lies issues raised by the presidency that it had met and discussed with them and that they had resolved to work for the actualization of President Buhari’s 2019 presidential bid.
According to Vanguard, Senator Ibrahim, one of the 14 senators who dumped APC, said he would only support and work for President Buhari in 2019 if he became the presidential candidate of the PDP.
He said: “That’s a blatant lie from him (Ita Enang). I am not going to work for his re-election unless he is nominated by PDP. They are just looking for ways to impress the President. First, they claim phony majority in the Senate, now defected senators will work for President Buhari.”
Reacting in the same vein, a member of the House of Representatives, Ali Madaki, PDP Kano, said Ita Enang was lying.
He said: “We can’t work for Buhari. How can we work for President Buhari when we are flag bearers of the PDP? The man is on his own. We can never support Buhari, Enang is on his own and that is our position.”
Madaki, who is one of the arrowheads of the defectors, further declared that there was no going back, stressing that “nobody among us agreed to such a deal.”
Also reacting, another member of the House, Mark Gbillah, PDP Benue, said Buhari won’t get a single vote “in our constituencies.”
He said: “Buhari will not get a single vote in all our constituencies and that is our common position. Enang spoke for himself because how can we be in PDP and work for Buhari, it is impossible and Nigerians should be wary of people who have spoken so vociferously about Buhari’s constitutional breaches, yet suddenly backed-stabbed us.
“Nigerians should know that there must have been cash inducement to influence such characters in a government that claims to be fighting corruption.”
Recall that NAIJ.com previously reported that there was a rowdy session at the National Assembly on Tuesday, July 24, as 15 senators dumped the ruling APC.
The senators, including Dino Melaye and Abdul-Azeez Nyako, announced their defection at the Senate plenary.
Senators, lawmakers defect from APC - on NAIJ.com TV: