Niyi Odebode and John Alechenu, Abuja
The Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Thursday, said he was asked to beg for the ticket of the All Progressives Congress.
An online newspaper, The Cable, reported that Dogara stated this when he hosted some of his supporters at his Abuja residence on Thursday.
There were reports on Thursday that the Speaker had joined the Peoples Democratic Party and obtained the party’s nomination form for the House of Representatives’ primaries.
According to the online report, Dogara said his supporters had presented the 2019 forms of the PDP to him and urged him to pull out of the ruling party.
He stated that his people would vote for him even if he contested on the platform of a zero party.
Dogara said, “Truly, I have decided that I will not contest election again. They said they would give me a ticket in the APC but that I must go and beg for it. I said I did not need the ticket. In politics, I have never gone to anybody’s house to beg for a ticket.
“My ticket is my people. I have assured them that even if I run under a zero party, my people will vote for me. So long as it is Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa Balewa (constituency), even if we run under zero party; we will win by God’s grace. We have thrived well in many political battles in the past and this one too, we shall overcome it. Nobody can threaten us or tell us that we cannot contest the election in a political party we spent our resources to establish; only God can stop us.
“I had heard your voices and the voice of the people is the voice of God. We are in politics to serve and not to be served. As I said, if it were for myself, I will quit because truly I am tired and even thought of stepping aside. But we must run an election so long as our people say so.
“I have seen the forms you brought. I don’t know how you got it but I must thank you for this sacrifice. Left for me; I will appeal that you give me some time to go and consult further.”
The Speaker stated that he had not told his supporters in the APC what he intended to do. Dogara also explained how he gave the APC the condition to pacify some federal lawmakers before he could reconcile with the leadership of the party.
He stated, “Even when they were talking about reconciliation in the APC, we told them that even if I would be given a free ticket in the APC, so long as they did not do justice to Senator Sulieman Nazif, Senator Isa Hamma Misau, Honourable Ahmed Yerima, Honourable Aminu Tukur, Honourable Maryam Bagel and others, I would not accept it. I even said that if they would do justice to these people I would be satisfied.”
Meanwhile, the APC has described Dogara as a political paperweight whose reported defection to the PDP did not come as a surprise.
The party made its position known in a statement signed by the acting National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, in Abuja, on Thursday.
Reacting to the reports on Dogara’s action, Nabena said, “A recent comment by President Muhammadu Buhari aptly sums Dogara’s reported defection: “The weakest people whose senses of expectation do not align with our vision have exited our party.”
According to him, Dogara’s reported defection did not come to the APC as a surprise.
The statement read in part, “It was only a matter of time judging by Dogara’s anti-party antics in the National Assembly wherein connivance with the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, he exploited all available avenues to sabotage and undermine the APC-led executive. Dogara’s anti-party activities which enabled one of the opposition party’s sole victory in Bogoro Local Government Area (Dogara’s council) during the recent Bauchi South Senatorial by-election won by the APC is another pointer, among several others.”
Nabena further said, “Indeed, all politics is local. As a party, we empathise with Dogara on his confusion and despair over his bleak political future given the fact that he is not on the ground and a political paperweight in his home, Bauchi State.
“In his emergence as Speaker, Dogara was merely used by his political master to achieve their selfish political ends at the time. They have since moved on to pursue their individual political aspirations and left Dogara in the cold.
“We would advise Dogara against his ill-advised decision to recontest his House of Representatives seat under the opposition party he is linked with because a crushing and humiliating defeat surely awaits him.”