BANKOLE, DOGARA, AMBODE, DANIEL, OMISORE NAMED APC’s CONTACT/STRATEGY PANEL MEMBERS

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•Why we joined ruling party, by ex-governor

Top defectors to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday got their first major assignment for the party.

They include two former House of Representatives Speakers Dimeji Bankole and Yakubu Dogara, as well as former Ogun State Governor and ex-Osun State Deputy Governor Iyiola Omisore.

They were named yesterday as members of the party’s 61-man Contact/Strategy Committee.

Bankole joined the APC about two weeks ago.

The committee will be inaugurated today by the Chairman of the Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) and Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni.

It has Jigawa State Governor Abubakar Badru as its Chairman and Dr. Ikechi Emenike as the Secretary.

Also named as members are former governors Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos) and Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun).

Though details of the terms of reference of the committee were sketchy last night, party sources told The Nation that the committee is to establish constructive engagement between critical stakeholders at various levels with a view to enhancing confidence in the party.

The party’s Caretaker Committee Secretary, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, confirmed the development in a statement yesterday in Abuja.

Other members of the committee include Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege, 11 governors, former and serving members of the National Assembly, members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and some party chieftains.

Also, Daniel and Bankole have given reasons for their defection to the ruling APC.

They spoke yesterday after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja.

Buni and Governors Mohammed Badaru (Jigawa) and Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi) accompanied the duo to the Presidential Villa for the meeting.

Addressing State House journalist after the meeting, Buni said he was at the State House to present the new party members to the President.

The Yobe State governor said President Buhari was happy with the defectors.

Explaining why he joined the ruling party, Daniel said: “Why APC? There are too many options in the party. One thing is sure: 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, economic and health-related. When you are in a situation like this, as I usually opine, we should do less of partisan contestation. All of us must come together to support whoever is in power.

“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.”

Disabusing the minds of those claiming that APC was trying to create a one-party state by poaching members of other parties, Daniel said main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was once a ruling party.

“Definitely, in 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.”

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