By Deji Elumoye
Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Dimeji Bankole, and former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, yesterday justified their defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC), saying the move was aimed at joining forces with President Muhammadu Buhari to rebuild Nigeria.
The two political gladiators from Ogun State, who spoke with journalists after meeting with President Buhari at the State House in Abuja, said Nigeria was currently going through trying times, and would require the efforts of everyone to pull the country back on track.
Bankole, who defected from African Democratic Party (ADP), explained that he joined the APC to give support to the effort the president was making to take Nigeria to another level.
According to him, “There are issues we need to solve, and any reasonable human beings should support this moment. From Borno State to Lagos State, and from Bayelsa State to Sokoto State, Nigerians are experiencing critical times, and we shouldn’t be found wanting.
“This is the time to step up and show support so that these decisions can be taken, executed and owned by us as a country. Because 10 years or 20 years from now, the people would ask who stood up when these things were happening. It’s every citizen’s right, and all we’ve done today is to exercise it, actions will speak for us.”
On his part, Daniel, who was the director-general of Atiku Campaign Organisation for the 2019 presidential election, while explaining why he joined the ruling party, stressed the need to deemphasise party in the affairs of the country.
According to him, “I chose APC because there are too many options in the party. One thing is sure that we are going through health and economic challenges, so we must do less of political contestations and give support.
“And what we have decided to do is to come out and give our support to the president so that jointly, we can continuously navigate the country, and that is what is relevant.”
He dismissed suggestions that the APC was trying to create a one party state by fishing for members of other political parties, adding that where there is a majority party, there should also be a minority party.
Bankole and Daniel had earlier yesterday been presented formally as new members to President Buhari by the Chairman of the APC National Caretaker Committee/National Convention Planning Committee, who is also the Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni.
With him were the Chairman of APC Governors’ Forum and Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu, and his Jigawa State counterpart, Abubakar Badaru.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Buni said they came to present the new party members to the president who expressed delight at the calibre of the defectors.