Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, on Thursday, received hundreds of his supporters from Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa Balewa Federal constituency of Bauchi State who presented him with Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) nomination and expression of interest forms, urging him to leave the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
It was gathered that about 1000 people had thronged his Abuja residence, saying they decided to present the PDP forms for the Speaker as a result of high level injustice meted on them by the APC.
Hon. Mohammed Aminu Tukur, Alhaji Adamu Jambil and Mrs. Amina Saleh, who led the delegation and spoke on behalf of the of the constituents, said their new political platform is Dogara Peoples Party as they will follow him wherever he goes.
While speaking, Hon Aminu Tukur told the Speaker that the APC is now plagued by injustice and dictatorship, contrary to their expectations that under President Muhammadu Buhari, the party will be fair to all.
“The day Buhari joined partisan politics in 2002, I was the only person from Bauchi that travelled and I have been with him since then. Mr Speaker, I swear to almighty God that He spared my life. I and our people will vote for you and we urge you to heed to our cries and accept this form. We pray that God returns you to your seat. APC is not a religion as it is neither Islam nor Christianity,” Aminu Tukur said.
Responding, the Speaker told the mammoth crowd that, “I have listened to you and I want to say that I am not a novice in politics. So even if they do not regard us, they should know that we are in full control of our five senses. We know what looks like justice and what is not justice, we also know if you want to humiliate or honour us.
“We built the APC in Bauchi and with time left the PDP and entered the APC. I was the first and only lawmaker from Bauchi State that left the PDP then and we knew why we left. We also know what we promised the people of Bauchi State then.
“But I must thank you all. This is not the first time we would face these kinds of threats and betrayal. Our only fault is that we have chosen not to side with injustice or wrong. We always voice out when we see that we are beginning to derail from our election promises to the people and that is why some people said they will retire us from politics and have even started celebrating that they have buried us politically. But throughout all this, I remained unperturbed because I knew that we had our people with us.”
He also recalled how their supporters were denied forms during the last APC congress, despite making payments on time, adding that the new leadership of the party failed to live up to its assurance that all states that had issues with their congresses would be allowed to hold direct primaries, thereby depriving them of any hope that their supporters would have the opportunity to vote for their choice.
Hon Dogara further said, “Truly, I have decided that I will not seek election again. They said they will give me ticket in APC but that I must go and beg for it. I said I do not need the ticket. In politics, I have never gone to anybody’s house to beg for ticket. My ticket is my people.
“I have assured them that even if I run under zero party, my people will vote for me. So long as it is Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa Balewa, 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 election in a political party we spent our resources to establish, only God can stop us.
“I have 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 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 sometime to go and consult further.
“I have a lot of supporters in the APC but I have not told any of them what I intend to do or where I will go because I was not given the opportunity but I will assure you that wherever you want me to go or whatever you want me to do I will obey you because you have been with me. This is leadership.
“Even when they were talking about reconciliation in APC, we told them that even if I will be given free ticket in APC, so long as they do not do justice to Senator Sulieman Nazif, Senator Isa Hamma Misau, Honourable Ahmed Yerima, Hon. Aminu Tukur, Hon. Maryam Bagel and others, I will not accept it. I even said that if they will do justice to these people I will be satisfied.
“You have now given us another opportunity to correct the greatest mistake we did in politics, which was to bring this present government in Bauchi State. This is one of the reasons we must run for election and do away with this plague, chase these termites from Bauchi State.
“I will not disobey you but before I fill these forms, I will have to inform all my supporters in the APC about the decision taken by my constituents since all politics is local.”
In a statement released on his Twitter page to address reports that he has formally defected from the ruling APC to the opposition PDP, Dogara, said that he is yet to defect and urged his supporters to give him time to think about it.
“Earlier today, I was presented with the PDP @HouseNGR nomination form by my constituents. They urged me to relinquish membership of the ruling APC & stated reasons such as the blatant injustice and outright disregard for democratic principles being perpetrated within the party.
“That there have been infractions isn’t news, but what I have kept from the public – until this moment – is that even while reconciliation efforts were on, I was told to beg for a ticket if I wished to return to the House of Representatives.
“Representing my people has been an honour & no one should have to suffer the indignity of begging before being allowed to exercise a constitutional right.
“I had even considered stepping aside as I’ve held this position for close to 12 years but as my constituents have asked that I seek re-election, then I must heed their call.
“I feel deeply honoured by this kind gesture; however, I will not fill this form until I have consulted with those supporters who remain in APC. I thank my people for their unwavering support so far, and remain unshaken in my belief that all power belongs to God.”