The Vice-Chairman (South West) of the All Progressives Congress, Pastor Bankole Oluwajana, says the reasons politicians are currently switching parties under President Muhammadu Buhari are different from those during ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration in the run-up to the 2015 elections.
Oluwajana, who linked the three main reasons, said politicians left the PDP for the APC in 2015 because they were fed up of the massive scale of corruption during the Jonathan administration.
He, however, exuded confidence that Buhari would win his re-election bid in 2019 despite the gale of defections from the ruling party to the main opposition party.
The APC vice-chairman spoke in Lagos.
He said, “I am more than hopeful that Buhari will be re-elected in February 2019. Going through the breadth and length of Nigeria, people that really matter appreciate what Buhari is doing for this country. They are not confused by the gale of defections blowing across the federation, especially from the APC to the PDP. The defection we experienced under the Goodluck Jonathan administration is different from the defection that is going on now.
“Under Jonathan, people were just fed up with the PDP. It was odious. You could not even say then you were a member of the PDP anywhere. The moment you identified yourself with the PDP, people would say you were a thief. In fact, they would laugh at you. That was the story then. There was a congregation of opinion that the PDP government was not good for Nigeria. But this time around, the defections we are experiencing has three categories.”
He explained, “First, a lot of these people won the election with Buhari’s credibility, the same way some people used the name of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo to win the election in 1999. In 1999, most elected officials in the South West did not win the election on their own merit. The moment you belong to Awolowo’s political lineage, you would win the election on a silver platter.
This was similar to what happened in 2015. Because of the situation then, people preferred any person other than the PDP. Even the PDP chieftains that joined the APC then, more than half of them did not make it on their merit. Now, people know better. They know they cannot secure the APC nomination. Many of them have not gone to their constituencies for a long time. The only way they can try their luck is to change party because APC will not produce them again.”
Oluwajana said the second category of defectors were the people who were trying to negotiate with the ruling APC over certain issues, which had not been granted.
According to him, the third category of defectors is the political godsons who have no choice but to leave with their leaders.