Defection: Dogara Not Our Member – APC

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) has debunked claims by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has defected to its fold.

The return of Dogara to APC was announced at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on July 24, last year, after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari along with the chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of the APC, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State.

The defection of Dogara is being celebrated as one of the achievements of the committee.

Daily Trust reports that Dogara officially defected to PDP on January 29, 2019, in the build-up to the general elections. He won his re-election to represent Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa Balewa Federal constituency of Bauchi State on the PDP platform.

A member of the PDP, Alhaji Hamza Koshe Akuyam, had approached a Federal High Court in Abuja seeking an order to compel the leadership of the House to declare Dogara’s seat vacant.

Those joined in the suit as defendants were: Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, Attorney General Federation, Independent National Electoral Commission and APC.

But in a counter-affidavit filed before the court and deposed by the Head of the Legal Department, Dare Oketade, on behalf of the National Legal Adviser of APC, the party stated that it was not aware that Dogara has defected from PDP.

Oketade said he had checked the membership register of the APC but did not find Dogara’s name in it.

“That in fact the 5th defendant (APC) has not received an application for membership from the 1st defendant (Dogara) or any other person acting under the instruction of the 1st defendant (Dogara); neither has the 5th defendant (APC) issued any membership card to the 1st defendant,” he said.

While urging the court to dismiss the suit in the interest of justice, the APC described it as “speculative” and “instituted in bad faith”.

Meanwhile, the presiding judge, Justice Okon Abang, has granted an application seeking to abridge the time for the hearing of the suit seeking to declare Dogara’s seat vacant.

Justice Abang, in a ruling on Monday, abridged the time for the matter to be heard on February 4 from an initial March 5 date.

This followed an application for variation moved by counsel to PDP and Akuyam, Jibrin S. Jibrin, to hear the suit at an earlier date.

Meanwhile, reports from Bauchi State showed that Dogara has not registered in his Bogoro APC ward, five months after dumping PDP.

The former speaker had in a letter of resignation addressed to the Bogoro ‘C’ ward chairman of PDP, dated July 24, 2020, announced his exit from PDP.

To formally receive him, the APC in Bauchi State had planned to organise a ‘welcome reception’. However, the event was not held and no explanation was given by party officials.

Dogara played a key role in the campaign of the candidate of the APC, Bala Ali Lukshi, during the by-election for Dass State Constituency in the Bauchi State House Assembly last year.

Contacted, a close associate of Dogara, Iliya Bulus, said the event to receive Dogara to APC was rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The defection of Dogara to APC is yet to be announced on the floor of the House of Representatives five months after.

This is a deviation from the tradition of the House in which defection of members is announced on the floor by the presiding officer.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of APC National Caretaker Committee, John James Akpanudoedehe, neither responded to text messages sent to him nor picked his calls as of the time of filing this report.

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