- President Muhammadu Buhari has officially welcomed two PDP governors who defected to the APC recently
- The governors are Cross River state chief executive, Professor Benedict Ayade and his Zamfara counterpart, Bello Matawalle Maradun
- The governors were handed APC flags by the president as a symbol of their membership in the ruling party
FCT, Abuja - President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, July 12 handed the flags of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the two governors who recently left the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The governors are Cross River state chief executive, Ben Ayade, and his Zamfara state, counterpart, Bello Matawalle.
Buhari talks about APC's political value
According to a statement posted on Buhari's official Facebook page, the president said while raising the hands of the governors:
“This is one of the happiest times for us in this party. For you to have the courage to leave your constituencies speak a lot. I wish Nigerians will reflect about it.
“I congratulate you for leaving your constituencies for our great party. We lost many states at the last election, which is unusual for a ruling party. But we did it to prove that we are a tolerant group. We wanted to demonstrate that we respect individuals.
“Your people will respect you more for having the courage to come to APC at your own time. Nobody forced you, but you believe it is the best way to serve your people. I value your decision.”
Bill to stop indiscriminate defections surfaces in Reps
In a related development, the Punch newspaper reports that the House of Representatives is considering making a president or governor lose their seat if they defect from the political party on whose platform they were elected to another.
Presently, the constitution only prescribes such for National Assembly and state House of Assembly members.
A member of the PDP from Taraba state, Rimamnde Kwewum, has now sponsored a bill to extend the condition to the president, vice-president, governor, and deputy governor.
Meanwhile, the National Working Committee of the PDP has approved a legal team led by a former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Godwin Kanu-Agabi, to challenge the defection of Governor Matawalle.
The legal action was not limited to Matawalle, as it would also challenge the legality of the defection of members of the national and state assemblies from Zamfara state.
Sources say Kanu-Agabi would lead a team of lawyers, including Senior Advocates of Nigeria, when the suit challenging the defections would be filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
On his part, a member of the House of Representatives, Honourable Teejay Yusuf has berated Governor Matawalle for decamping to the APC from the PDP.
In a statement sent to Legit.ng on Wednesday, June 30, Hon. Yusuf, a PDP member representing Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu Federal Constituency of Kogi state in the green chambers, asserted that it is in the PDP's interest that highly-placed members with suspicious loyalty leave the party.
He said their exit from the party will enable the PDP to sort out itself before the next elections in 2023.