The Chairman of the Reformed All Progressives Congress, Buba Galadima, said President Muhammadu Buhari was against forming an alliance with a former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, who had nominated Prof. Yemi Osinbajo as Buhari’s running mate before the 2015 elections.
He also said he blocked the Serving Overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, from becoming the running mate of Buhari during the build-up to the 2015 Presidential election.
Galadima said this during an interview with ‘The Interview’, an Abuja-based monthly magazine.
He, however, said he was the one who insisted that he would not sign the correspondence to the Independent National Electoral Commission unless Bakare’s name was removed.
Galadima said, “Buhari was the one who was against the alliance with Tinubu and I don’t want to say anything. Let Buhari deny what I have said. I was for it and I organised it and I wrote a memo and even produced a candidate for the Vice-Presidency, this same Osinbajo.
“We were a committee of three: Osinbajo, Sule Hamma and me. Sule Hamma promoted the alliance more than anybody else. It was Buhari that refused. Let him deny before us and we will show him. Whenever you see him, ask him why Buba Galadima said he wouldn’t sign INEC’s form with Tunde Bakare’s name.
“I don’t want to say much. Buhari cannot challenge all these things we are saying.”
The R-APC chairman said his disagreement with the President was based on principles and not selfish interest.
He said it was Buhari, who gave out his (Galadima’s) daughter in marriage, adding that his grandson was named after the President.
Galadima added, “There are no differences between Buhari and me. My daughter visits him in the Villa. He gave out my daughter in marriage. Her first child was named after him. What we are doing is on the basis of principles.”
The R-APC chairman said he would not blame those around the President but only Buhari.
He said he would not blame the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, or Buhari’s nephew, Mamman Daura, because the buck stops on the President’s table.
Galadima added, “I don’t believe in any inner circle. The buck stops on Buhari’s table. If Buhari says he doesn’t want to see Mamman Daura or Abba Kyari or any other person, they will not spend two seconds in the Villa.
“So, if there is any inadequacy or shortcoming, it should be that of the President, not an aide. After all, they can only advise. They can’t force his hand. For example, the Nigerian ambassador was in Israel and was said to have attended the official opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.
“And there was this huge outcry by all Nigerians because this is counter to Nigeria’s policy on Israel. Buhari said he would investigate. Now it has been three months. Where is the result of the investigation?”
Buhari’s undoing, he said, was responsible for the gale of defections that hit the ruling All Progressives Congress.
But the President Muhammadu Buhari 2019 Presidential Campaign Organisation has dismissed the defection of some APC lawmakers and other members from the party, saying it will not have any negative impact on Buhari’s re-election.
The group, in a statement on Sunday by its spokesman, Festus Keyamo (SAN), said the defection of the lawmakers and the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, would not harm the President’s re-election.
He stated that even if two more governors, who were said to be planning to defect, left the APC, it would not affect Buhari.
Keyamo stated, “The President won with wide margin in the past in some states without the support of majority of the politicians from those states who moved recently to join the opposition party.
“Also, we are all witnessing the significant gains Mr. President is making in several places where he lost in the past, notably in the South-South and the South-East.”
According to him, 12 northern states of Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Yobe and Niger have 30 million registered voters.
He said that these “are states the President had consistently won with considerable wide margin in past elections, especially in 2011 and 2015.”
This, he said, was achieved despite the fact that most of those states were being controlled by political parties other than his own.
“In 2011, when the President was in the Congress for Progressive Change, despite being states with sitting opposition governors, National Assembly members, state assembly members and local government chairmen, the President posted close to 11 million votes against all odds, defeating all his rivals in these 12 states.
“In 2015, despite the majority of these states being in opposition after the merger that formed the APC, the President posted close to 11 million votes again with the PDP not scoring up to 20 per cent of the votes.
He recalled that in Kano, during the 2011 presidential election, the President scored 1,624,543 votes as the CPC candidate, while in 2015, he had 1,903,999 votes as the APC candidate.
Keyamo also analysed the effect of defections in nine states Buhari lost in 2011, but won in 2015. These, he said, included Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Kwara, Kogi, Adamawa and Benue.
He stated, “The five south-western states have registered voters strength of more than 14 million out of the about 20 million voters in these nine states. Today, those five states are being controlled by the APC. Ekiti will join before the 2019 elections after the Governor-elect, Kayode Fayemi, is sworn in.
“All the political gladiators in those south-western states that helped to tilt the election in favour of the President in 2015 are still solidly with him and more have joined. The entire defunct ACN structures that moved into APC are solidly behind the President.”
Meanwhile, some members of the House of Representatives on Sunday described as “laughable,” the current moves by the APC to stop the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, from defecting to the PDP or any other party.
The lawmakers spoke under the aegis of Parliamentary Democrats Group, dominated largely by the PDP members and other opposition party members.
They spoke after their meeting in Abuja. They expressed surprise that the APC suddenly began to appreciate the worth of Dogara amid the gale of defections that hit it since last week at the National Assembly.
In a statement by its spokesperson, Mr. Timothy Golu, the group advised the APC not to waste its time as the Speaker would leave whenever it pleased him to do so.
The group also said Dogara would remain the Speaker upon defection as the APC alone did not have the two-thirds majority (240 out 360 members) to remove the Speaker.
“It is a futile one and a sheer waste of time. It is laughable that the APC is running cap in hand, begging the Speaker to remain in a party that has for so long failed to acknowledge his relevance and contribution to its existence…
“Nemesis has now caught up with the party as the Speaker and other men of conscience have decided to pitch their tents with a party that recognises that the collective gain of Nigerians is greater than a few primordial interests.”
There were indications over the weekend that the APC had initiated a reconciliation meeting between Dogara and the Governor of Bauchi State, Mr Mohammed Abubakar, to settle their local political dispute in the state.
The Speaker is from Bauchi State. The APC’s alleged indifference to the disputes, which weighed heavily against Dogara, was the main reason the Speaker sought to dump the party.
However, the ruling party was said to have intensified reconciliation moves since the emergency of Adams Oshiomhole as the national chairman and the start of the latest defections.
But, the PDG urged Dogara to ignore the APC and defect to another party as soon as possible.