Buhari’s Meeting with Anyim Raises Suspicion of Ex-SGF’s Defection

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Muhammadu Buhari
  •  Aregbesola describes protesters of alleged rigging in Osun as mentally ill

By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday met with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) in the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Anyim Pius Anyim behind closed-doors in the Presidential Villa.

The president also met with the former Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, who recently defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC). 

While Uduaghan’s meeting with Buhari did not generate any interest, the president’s meeting with Anyim, a prominent leader of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ebonyi State, however, raised a number of questions, moreso that the former Senate President deliberately avoided journalists and rushed out of the State House in a curious manner. In recent times, prominent leaders of the opposition PDP in the South-south and South-east have been dumping the party for APC. 

While some do so in search of political relevance, others defect to the ruling party, seeking protection from prosecution over allegations of fraud.

One of the former PDP leaders who recently defected to APC is a former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio. His critics accused him of dumping PDP to evade imminent prosecution. 

Recently, Anyim was arrested and detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over allegations of fraud.

The manner of his meeting with the president yesterday and his eventual hurried exit from the State House raised suspicions that Anyim who weighs a notable political strength in Ebonyi State might also be negotiating his exit from PDP in search of refuge.

However, Uduaghan on his part, while speaking with journalists, dismissed claims of acute crises rocking the APC following the conduct of controversial primaries in various states, describing the development as rather healthy for the party.

According to him, the situation was not unusual because any party that produces the government in power will naturally have a large number of aspirants who want to align with it.

He said: “The crisis in the party shows that the APC have become a formidable party. It is only when a party is strong and formidable that everybody will be showing interest in it.

“That is why we have this kind of issues that are going on. But I also know that the leadership is doing a lot to resolve the issues and with time, the issues will be settled and everybody will move forward and move the party forward. It is not unusual. What is happening is not unusual with a party that is growing and has become very strong.”

Uduaghan also dismissed reports of the conduct of parallel governorship primaries in Delta State, saying such a claim only existed in the imagination of authors. 

Reports had said parallel governorship primaries during the week in Delta State produced Great Ogboru and Pat Utomi as governorship candidates of the APC in the state. 

But in his reaction, Udughan said “there is nothing of such. Some people gathered somewhere and said they were doing primaries. If you notice, the person they declared winner has already disowned them.”

In another development, Osun State governor, Rauf Aregbesola, presented the controversial APC governor-elect in September 22 election in Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola, to the president in the Presidential Villa yesterday.

After the meeting, Aregbesola poured venom on members of the opposition who protested the alleged rigging of the election in favour of Oyetola in Abuja this week, describing the protesters as irresponsible and mentally unstable, moreso that the matter was already being contested at the tribunal.

“I will not even respond to this because what you are referring to is a charade, an act of gross irresponsibility from people who ought to know that after an election, the only option left for every responsible citizen is to go to the tribunal.

“And again interestingly, the other party, the party that was defeated in the election is already in tribunal. I don’t now know what the protest you are talking about is meant to do. If you are already in court and you are still doing a street protest either you are not mentally stable or you need psychiatric attention,” he said.

 Aregbesola said they had visited the president to express their gratitude to him for his support towards the election. 

According to him, the president charged them to also ensure that they mobilise the people of Osun for his own election next year.

The duo was accompanied by Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje.