The Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara has defected to the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The Speaker had been having running battles with the leadership of the APC in both his state, Bauchi and at the national level.
Just like the President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, who had defected to the PDP from the APC, Dogara had also absent from the activities of the ruling party.
Although Mr Dogara did not formally announce his defection to the PDP, his acquisition of the party’s form to run in his Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa Balewa Federal Constituency next February has effectively made him a chieftain of the opposition party.
Yakubu Dogara has also picked the nomination form to return to the House of Representatives on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, multiple sources familiar with the development said.
A member of PDP National Working Committee, who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said that the speaker had picked the forms.
The speaker picked the form on Wednesday, a day after dozens of his constituents travelled to Abuja from his home state of Bauchi.
Mr Dogara told his constituents during the rally, which held at his residence in Abuja Tuesday, that he all but threw in the towel on partisan politics — having served 12 years at the House, four out of which he spent as Speaker — but their overwhelming demand forced his hands to continue his lawmaking career.
“Some people said they will retire us from politics, but we want to inform them that only God and the electorate can retire us,” Mr Dogara said in an apparent reference to his state governor Mohammed Abubakar, with whom he had been locked in a fierce battle of wits over 2019 electioneering.
Mr Dogara’s dispute with his APC state governor typifies similar patterns in many APC governed states including Kano, Ogun, Kaduna, Jigawa, Oyo and so on. In many of such states, the lawmakers defected from the governing party with the belief the governors would eventually have their way in the party. Only in few instances like in Kaduna did the federal lawmakers choose to remain in the APC and battle it out with the governor.
“Yes, he had picked our forms, but don’t quote me, he has joined us,” the source said last night.
Dogara had two days ago expressed his desire to return to the National Assembly in 2019 when members of his constituents visited him in Abuja.
With this decision, it is expected that he would announce his defection to his colleagues in the House when the National Assembly resumes after the political parties’ primaries.
The low-key affair under which Mr Dogara obtained his nomination form from the PDP follows a consistent pattern of his political style.
The Speaker has long been identified as amongst those expected to leave the APC, but he declined to make this public unlike Senate President Bukola Saraki and a host of other top APC politicians who abandoned the ruling party in recent months.