By Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
A member of Board of Trustee (BoT) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Ambassador of Nigeria to Switzerland, Alhaji Yahaya Kwande, has said he was proud to be associated with Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, one of the presidential aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), adding that he had no reason to abandon his political associate of over 30 years.
Kwande was reacting to a statement by Governor Simon Lalong where he disowned him for alleging that he could defect with Lalong to the PDP if they so wish.
Lalong, in a statement signed by the state Commissioner of Information, Mr. Yakubu Dati had said that there was no truth in the allusion that Governor Lalong, who is the sole candidate of the All Progressives Congress governorship primaries, was contemplating or discussing such disastrous proposition of moving to the PDP with anyone.
Dati said: “The attention of the Plateau State Government has been drawn to an alleged statement credited to an elder statesman, Ambassador Yahaya Kwande, alluding that the Executive Governor of Plateau State, Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong may defect to the Peoples Democratic Party. “The general public is hereby called upon to dismiss this evil plot that exists only in the imagination of its promoters. This clarification became necessary so as not to mislead well-meaning citizens who have expressed concern.”
Reacting, Kwande said, “When Atiku defected to the PDP, my party started treating me very badly. I was even sent out of our meeting, though they came back later to apologise to me.
“I want to say that, anybody who thinks that I won’t support Atiku, his head should be examined if he has a psychiatric problem. Atiku has been my political associate for over 30 years. How can I abandon him?
“But what I said when I attended Atiku’s meeting at the PDP Secretariat in Jos was, ‘This is the season of defections; people crossing from one party to the other, and I asked that if today Lalong and I cross over to the PDP would you be surprised? I stand by my word.
“But I did not say I have agreed with Lalong to cross over, I never said so. I definitely did not say that I have agreed with Lalong to defect to the PDP.
“In fact, I even declared publicly that I am still a card carrying member of the APC.”
“I fronted for Lalong, and introduced him to Atiku and followed it up until he won as governor in 2015, and I am not lying. It happened here in my house, and Lalong knows that.
“I also said that I am the leader of the Gomai, and I would want Lalong, who is also a Gomai to go for the second term.”