As a sequel to the outburst of the chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, in which he carpeted the defectors from the ruling party, saying they have no electoral value, some of the affected politicians yesterday hit back at the former governor of Edo State, vowing to prove their worth at the next general elections in 2019.
Most of the defectors, who now belong to the main opposition group, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), were of the view that Oshiomhole would know their electoral values in 2019.
Ibrahim: Talk is cheap
First to fire the salvo was the Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking and Financial Institutions, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim (Kwara South). While blasting Oshiomole for dancing back and forth, the senator asked the APC chairman to stop being hypocritical.
“Talk is cheap, February 2019 is around the corner. The chairman has been talking from two sides of his mouth lately. We are in another party now, they should leave us alone and concentrate on the crisis in their party”, he said.
Kwankwaso: Wait till the chips are down
On his part, a former governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, who spoke through one of his aides, Binta Sipikin, said the APC chairman should not be in a hurry to test their political weight but should wait till 2019 to see what they could prove.
Sipikin, who said her boss’ electoral values would speak out in 2019, said: “Let me remind him on how Kwankwaso nearly emerged the APC presidential flagbearer in 2015, which clearly shows how popular Kwankwaso is. “It is not a fiction that Kwankwaso in 2015 APC primaries in Lagos came second to Buhari which shows clearly in Nigerian politics he is a force to be reckoned with”.
She promised that Kwankwaso and his followers would surely show a political difference under the PDP, which he helped formed. “Let me said clearly that by 2019, we will show to the whole world that Kwankwaso is truly a force to reckon with when it comes to Nigerian poli-tics”.
2019 will decide, says Reps Atunwa Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Justice, Hon. Razak Olatunde Atunwa, who coordinated the defection of members in the lower chamber, has said he will not join words with Oshiomhole.
Atunwa, who described Oshiomhole as a factional chairman of the APC said: “I won’t join words with Adams Oshiomhole. But I am sure you know and the whole world knows the value of the caliber and quality of leaders and politicians that have exited the APC”.
Continuing, Atunwa, who represents Ilorin West/Asa Federal Constituency of Kwara State, said Oshiomhole couldn’t say that of their leaders, who any politician could ignore at his own peril. “In Kwara State, you can check whether the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, is a politician that would lose an election.
Has he ever lost an election? You should also check in Sokoto if Governor Tambuwal is a pushover; you can also go to Kano and check if Senator Kwankwaso, a two-time governor, a former minister and a serving senator does not have electoral value. “So, for anyone to be saying that we are of no electoral value, I will ask them to wait until 2019 and see who has no electoral value.
It is not about shouting on the pages of newspaper” The former commissioner and one-time speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly noted that; “As I said before, our defection is not about individual interests but it is about the people; it is about democracy and it is about good governance.
“If you had listened to Buba Galadima, he said Nigeria is sliding into anarchy. There is impunity and lack of respect for rule of law. We are not in a popularity contest but when the time comes, we will all know who has no electoral value”, he concluded.
Defection has jolted APC –Rep Ossai
Also reacting to Oshiomhole’s declaration, chairman of the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges, Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai, said it was laughable that the party chairman suddenly discovered that the defecting lawmakers were of no electoral value.
“It is laughable that Oshiomhole is now saying our colleagues who defected have no electoral value. Is it now that he discovered this? When he was going about begging them and visiting their houses, they were of electoral value?
“The fact of the matter is that the defection has jolted the APC and the chairman has seen defeat starring him in the face so he can afford to describe our members who strayed to the APC but have now come back home. PDP is a party of peace, a party of honour and a party that respects human life and dignity”.
Ossai who represents Ndokwa East/Okwuani Federal Constituency of Delta State said: “I have just been honoured by the people of Benue State with an award. I can tell you that the people are angry with the APC, nobody there will vote for APC.
So, is Oshiomhole saying Governor Ortom is of no electoral value? Why were they begging him not to dump the APC? “I think his outburst is a cry of impending defeat. The APC is disorganised and of course, more defections are expected in the days ahead. But the simple point is change has collapsed”, he stated.
Oshiomhole ignorant, combative labour style, disservice to the APC –Rep GBillah
Also responding to Oshiomhole’s position, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (up stream), Hon. Mark Terseer Gbillah, said “it is unfortunate that Oshiomhole has come with his combative labour union style into the chairmanship of the APC and is going to be the greatest disservice to the APC”.
Gbillah who represents Gwer West / Gwer East Federal Constituency of Benue State opined that Oshiomhole’s “unguarded comments are only confirming to some of us that there is no democracy in that party.
“When he talks about no electoral value, does he realise that the President did not come to my constituency to campaign? The President came to my state but stopped at the state capital and he forgets that I carried out the campaign for him? When he talks about going back to where we belong, he forgets that some of us have never been members of the PDP.
“I have never been in politics before 2014, but I saw the APC as a decent platform where I could realise my dream of serving my people diligently; but I found out that is not the case.
“What is the APC saying about the imposition that is going on under Oshiomhole as chairman in Bauchi, where the governor has singlehandedly picked somebody to run for the Senate as replacement for the late Senator Wakil? “But all I can say is that when 2019 comes, we shall know who actually have electoral value because it was the president that rode on our backs to win elections in 2015.
“So, for Oshiomhole to think that people who won elections to come here (National Assembly) have no electoral value is very unfortunate and it shows the ignorance of the chairman of the party himself.
“He said he was not losing sleep over our defection yet, he is not sleeping till 2am holding nocturnal meetings. So, he is talking from both sides of the mouth and eroding the credibility that he had in him