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In Katsina, defections unsettle APC, PDP

As this year’s general elections draw nearer, the two major political parties in Katsina State, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic…

As this year’s general elections draw nearer, the two major political parties in Katsina State, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),  appear to have found themselves in a dilemma over a wave of seemingly endless defections.

The ruling APC seems to have suffered more from the tide of defections, going by media reports. For instance, recently, three serving members of the House of Representatives from the ruling APC reportedly dumped the party for the opposition PDP. They include, members representing Katsina Central, Salisu Iro Isansi;  Safana/ Danmusa /Batsari, Ahmed Dayyabu Safana and Batagarawa/Rimi /Charanchi, Hamza Dalhat.

According to reports, the three members, who lost their bid to clinch the party’s flag for their seats during the party primaries, officially announced their defection as they were received in Sokoto State by the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar.

The wave of such defections began in July 2022 when over 5,000 members of the APC and some from New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) reportedly decamped to the PDP. They were led by Alhaji Ali Maikano, the candidate for Musawa/Matazu federal constituency.

Maikano and his supporters claimed they abandoned the APC due to “injustice” during the party’s primaries in the constituency.

In August 2022, about 19,500 supporters of the APC were reported to have decamped to the PDP in Baure Local Government Area of the state.

Another major defection that shook the ruling APC was that of the former secretary to the state government, Dr Mustapha Inuwa, who left the party after losing the governorship ticket to Dr Dikko Radda and the wrangling that followed the primaries.

Even before the party primaries, a major stakeholder, Senator Ahmed Babba Kaita, representing Katsina North senatorial district, had left the APC for the PDP, citing loss of confidence in the party to give him a level playing ground to contest for governorship. In the PDP, Kaita retains his senatorial ticket for the zone in the 2023 elections.

Furthermore, over  9,000 supporters of the ruling APC were said to have defected to the opposition PDP in Kurfi Local Government Area of the state, led by one Alhaji Bishir Lawal, who said they dumped the APC because it had failed in lifting the teeming masses out of poverty and hunger, amidst general insecurity in the area and beyond.

Similarly, an aggrieved community from Dutsinma Local Government Area was reported to have resolved to vote for the opposition PDP during the forthcoming elections, hoping the move may help in the restoration of peace in their area.

It would be recalled that sequel to the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) presidential campaign at the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium in Katsina metropolis recently, the spokesman and director, public affairs of the PDP Presidential Campaign Management Committee, Dino Melaye, announced that  the party had received 92,000 defectors from the APC and other political parties in the state.

Melaye said the figure comprised of 49, 000 from Katsina zone, 23,000 from Funtua zone and 19,000 from Daura Zone.

The ruling party also claimed that a plethora of defectors were received into its fold from the PDP.

The party also claimed to have received over 24,000 members from the PDP in Kaita Local Government in December 2022.

The party further said it received ‘thousands’ in Funtua, among whom was the former PDP Katsina State treasurer, Alhaji Garba Tela Faskari, former candidate for Kankara, Faskari and Sabuwa federal constituency, Alhaji Abdulkadir Faskari and Alhaji Hassan Damina Funtua, a prominent PDP member since 1999.

Similarly, it claimed to have received over 14,000 in Mashi; 3,500 members in Charanchi; 1,900 in Danmusa from the supporters of Dr Mustapha inuwa (who is now the PDP campaign director for Atiku/Lado in the state) in his hometown. The decampees were led by the chairman of anmusa Local Government, Sani Abu Minister.

It was gathered that Sani Abu led the complete structure of the PDP from each of the 11 wards of the local government area into the folds of the APC.

The APC also reportedly received over 5,000 supporters of the PDP, who were taken to Governor Aminu Bello Masari by Sani Lawal Baure, member, House of Assembly representing Baure state constituency.

Lawal said the decampees consisted of former aspirants who were denied their rights, as well as former members of national and state assembly who recently left their parties for the APC.

In addition to that, 1,700 from Bakor/Danja led by Chairman Aminu Jiba and 1,500 members from Rimi, led by AbdulAzeez Makwalla, were all reported to have decamped to the APC. The list is endless.

Parties, politicians devoid of ideology – University don

Commenting on the development, the Head of Political Science Department, Umaru Musa Yar’adua University, Katsina, Dr Kabir Musa Yandaki, said the series of defections being witnessed in the state and across the country were as a result of lack of ideology from both political parties and the politicians.

“All the parties are the same; they are devoid of ideology. Also, the politicians do not only lack ideology but also focus. They don’t have anything to offer the people. Their main concern is what they would gain, be it contracts, appointments and what have you.

“This is contrary to what obtains in advanced democracies like the United States of America, where you find a family sticking to one political party for generations because of their belief in its ideology and manifesto.

“But here, if you are to ask a whole party chairman about the manifesto of his party, you would discover that he would not explain,” he said.

Dr Yandaki said people were yet to see massive defections, which he added would follow immediately after the presidential election. He said the winning party at the presidential election would receive more supporters immediately after as people are after what to gain.

The political analyst, however, said there were differences between the way people are changing parties at the moment and what happened in 2014/2015 when majority of the masses, particularly from the North, were following Muhammadu Buhari because they believed him to be a man of integrity.

“There was a kind of arrowhead in the person of President Buhari, whom people trusted and were following.

“But in this election, there is no such character for the people to follow but their personal interests,” he explained.

Dr Yandaki opined that the present gale of defections was more of political propaganda as one could not actually ascertain the number merely called during campaigns.

“Even today, as I was watching a television programme, the NNPP presidential candidate, Rabiu Kwankwaso, was saying that all the defections announced in huge numbers, either in the North East or other places, were lies.

“They are just political propaganda aimed at sending fears to opponents and their gullible supporters, who have no political understanding as most of them like to join the bandwagon,” he said.

PDP reacts as APC demands written request

Lawal Garba Ammani, the Katsina local government chairman of the PDP, said the ruling APC in the State has come to its terminal end as had happened to the PDP in 2015.

“What is happening in Katsina today is what happened to us (PDP) in 2015. People are massively leaving the APC but they don’t want to admit it.

“So, it is the same fate that has befallen APC, but time will tell,” he said.

However, efforts to hear from the APC leadership were unsuccessful as the phone numbers of both the party chairman,  Aliyu JB and his deputy, Bala Abu Musawa, were not going through at the time of filing this report.

A member of the media team of the APC campaign council when contacted, asked for a written request to be submitted at the campaign office for the approval of the DG campaign for anyone to respond on behalf of the party.

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