By Ismaila Chafe
Abuja, March 22, 2021
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday received former Gov. Gbenga Daniel of Ogun State and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole ,who recently defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Chairman, Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the APC, and Governor of Yobe, Mai Mala Buni, accompanied by Governors of Jigawa, Badaru Abubakar and Kebbi, Atiku Bagudu, presented Daniel and Bankole to the president.
Daniel was governor of Ogun State from 2003 to 2011 while Bankole was Speaker of the House of Representatives (2007–2011), all on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Bankole defected to the PDP from the African Democratic Party (ADP) before now moving to APC.
Buni, who spoke to State House correspondents after the introduction of the affected defectors, said they came to present the new party members to the president who expressed delight at the caliber of the defectors.
He said: “We came to present new members of our party, Daniel and Bankole. Mr President is impressed and happy that leaders of such caliber are joining our party at this time we are registering new members, because registering and validating our membership, and indeed this is the right time for them to join us.
“And that’s exactly what Mr President is very happy about. He’s pleased and impressed.”
Bankole on his part said he joined the ruling party to give support to the effort the president was making, adding, “there are issues we need to solve and any reasonable human being should support at this moment.
“From Borno to Lagos, Bayelsa to Sokoto. These are critical times and we shouldn’t be found wanting.’’
On his part, the former governor and former Director-General Atiku Campaign Organization, while explaining why he joined the ruling party, stressed the need to de-emphasize party in the affairs of the country.
He said: “Why APC? There are too many options in the party. One thing is sure that we are going through health and economic challenges, we must do less of political contestations and give support.
“One thing that is for sure, is that the entire world is going through challenges that are global challenges, economic challenges, health challenges.
“And when you are in a situation like this, as I usually opined, we should do less of partisan contestation, all of us must come together to support whoever is in power.
“And what we have decided to do is to come and give our support to the president so that jointly, we can continuously navigate the country. That is what is relevant.”
Daniel dismissed the assertion that the APC was trying to create a one party state by fishing for members of other political parties.
He pointed out that the PDP was once in the same position in the country as the then ruling party.
He said: “Definitely any political environment, whether it is multi party or two party, there will usually be a majority party and the minority party.
“So I don’t think that there’s anything new that has happened.
“A few years ago, when PDP was at the helm of affairs at the centre, I think the last count out of the 36 states, PDP was in charge in more than 24 states at that time, and the country did not become a one party state.
“So I think what is going on is quite healthy. The contestation is quite exciting.’’