Three members of the Katsina State House of Representatives have defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) after a private meeting with the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in Sokoto on Sunday night.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered from two top aides to the immediate past Secretary to the Katsina State Government, Mustapha Inuwa, who facilitated the meeting between the lawmakers and Mr. Atiku.
APC representatives who left their party were Hamza Dalhatu (Rimi/Charanci/Batagarawa Constituency), Salisu Iro (Katsina Constituency) and Ahmad Dayyabu (Danmusa/Batsari/Safana Constituency). Two businessmen, owners of NAK Enterprises, Bilyaminu Fund and Kabir Kabir – Bilya, who were also prominent members of the APC, decided to join the PDP after the meeting.
The trio of lawmakers failed in their bid for a return ticket to the Lower House of the National Assembly in last year’s APC election.
One of the aides, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the press, told PREMIUM TIMES that the lawmakers had earlier expressed their desire to leave the APC but before taking the leap, they should meet with PDP Atiku.
“You know we had leadership problems in the party (PDP) in Katsina state. They (lawmakers) wanted to leave but were not sure how they would be received but when Oga (Mr. Inuwa) convinced them, they asked to be assured that they would have the same respect as other party members.
“Immediately after the rally we held in Charanci, he (Mr. Inuwa) approached Atiku and the decision was taken to take the decampees to Sokoto. They are here with us and today (Monday) they will go to Zamfara for the presidential rally,” he said.
While Mr. Dayyabu and Iro were expected to announce their exit from the party before Sunday’s meeting, Mr. Dalhat announced his exit from the APC in a letter seen by PREMIUM TIMES and addressed to his Batagarawa Ward “A” party chairman.
The three lawmakers did not respond to this reporter’s calls and text messages, but one of Mr. Iro’s aides, who wished to remain anonymous as he was not yet authorized to speak, confirmed the defection and sent PREMIUM TIMES some pictures of the meeting.
In June last year, three other House of Representatives members in the state also left the party after the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) primary election.
The lawmakers, Ibrahim Babangida (Malumfashi/Kafur Constituency), Armaya’u Kado (Dutsin Ma/Kurfi Constituency) and Aminu Ashiru (Mani/Bindawa Constituency), said they were not happy with the party’s performance in the primaries. While Mr. Babangida is now vying for the Katsina South Senate seat, Mr. Ashiru and Mr. Kado want to retain their seats.
A few days later, President Buhari’s nephew, Fatuhu Muhammad (Daura/Sandamu/Mai’Adua Constituency) quit the party after accusing some of the president’s top aides of sabotaging efforts to retain the party’s ticket.
Although he returned to the party after being recognized by a high-level committee led by the party’s vice-presidential candidate Kashim Shettima, Mr. Muhammad has not been involved in the party’s activities at both the state and federal levels.
Former SGS Mustapha Inuwa also left the party after the governorship primaries.
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