Omololu Ogunmade, Onyebuchi Ezigbo and Wole Ayodele
Following her resignation as Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Senator Aisha Alhassan has picked the gubernatorial nomination form of United Democratic Party (UDP) for Taraba State.
Alhassan was disqualified from participating in the governorship primary of the APC in Taraba State by the National Working Committee of the party on Thursday.
She consequently resigned her appointment and immediately pitched her tent with the UDP.
She moved to UDP along with all the executives of APC at the state, local government and ward levels in the state as well as other aspirants on the platform of the party.
She advised President Muhammadu Buhari to call the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole to order saying failure to do so may lead to the demise of the APC.
APC may be as good as dead in Taraba.
Addressing journalists at her residence in Jalingo on Saturday, Alhassan, who was the gubernatorial candidate of APC in the 2015 general elections stated that with her defection to UDP, APC is now the weakest party in the state.
In a swift reaction, APC said it was not worried by her resignation. The acting National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Yekini Nabene said that the party was relieved by her departure.
Nabene who spoke on the telephone with our correspondent said “the party cannot be romancing with someone who is not loyal and who has been involved in anti party activities”.
He also said that the former minister would have long left for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but for the reason that she knew that she could not actualize her gubernatorial ambition in PDP because the incumbent governor had already blocked the ticket.
The Presidency denied knowledge of the resignation. Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, told THISDAY via a text message yesterday that “if such letter indeed exists, it is not found anywhere in the Presidential Villa.”
Insisting that the Presidency was not aware of such resignation, Shehu added that the president to whom such letter was reportedly addressed was not in the country.
“Her resignation letter, if any such letter is written, has not been received at the Villa.
“Understandably, the President, to whom such letter is to be directed is away attending the UN General Assembly.
“We therefore are unaware that she has left the Cabinet,” he said.
Fondly called Mama Taraba by her supporters across the state, Alhassan accused the National Chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as being the mastermind of her disqualification.
“I am now a member of UDP and I have purchased nomination form for governorship of the state under the party’s platform.
“Oshomhole has decided to do his worst but he doesn’t give power, it is God that gives power, so let him wait and see what will happen at the end of the day,” she said.
She however advised President Muhammadu Buhari to call Oshomhole to order saying failure to do so would lead to the death of the party.
She maintained that she was unfairly treated by her former party despite being a pioneer member of the party and contributing immensely towards its success.
She said she believed she deserved a better treatment.
“My movement to the UDP was a result of my being screened out by the national chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomole who decided in his wisdom to say that I was disqualified and not fit to contest for election.”
Explaining the rationale behind the decision, National Chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole, said the former minister was disqualified on account of proven disloyalty.
He accused her of professing membership of APC in the day and hob nobbing with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at night.
But Alhassan in her resignation letter dated September 29 and addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari through the Chief of Staff, said she was shocked by her disqualification without any specific reason given.
She narrated how she joined the APC in 2014 along with other members of the New PDP and ran for the governorship of APC in Taraba State in 2015.
According to her, she had been a loyal party member since she joined the party, pointing out that her sense of loyalty had never at any time been called to question.
She said leaving the government of APC had become compelling, saying if she was not qualified to contest election, it would also be of no meaning sustaining her membership of the party.
“Mr President, I received with shock and dismay that I was disqualified and not cleared to contest for 2019 governorship election by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressive Congress (APC). No reason was given for my disqualification sir.
“Mr President may wish to be also informed that I had always been a committed and a loyal party member and was at no time queried or admonished for any wrong doing or unconstitutional behaviour.
“Up to the time of writing this letter, no reason is given by the party for my disqualification to contest under APC.
“It is for this above reason sir, that I feel grave injustice was done to me by the party (APC), therefore my decision to leave the party and resign as a Minister. If am not qualified to contest election in APC, I feel I am not also qualified to remain in APC government as a Minister.”