A former Kano State Deputy Governor, Hafizu Abubakar, has returned to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Mr Abubakar, a former staunch ally of the ex-Kano State governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, left the ruling party in August and resigned his position as deputy to the current governor, Abdullahi Ganduje.
After leaving the APC, he joined Mr Kwankwaso in the Peoples Democratic Party. He, however, later defected to the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) when he could not get the PDP governorship ticket in Kano.
Mr Abubakar’s return to the APC was confirmed by his spokesperson and the presidency.
Garba Shehu, the spokesperson to President Muhammadu Buhari, said the president had a meeting with Mr Abubakar and other former Kwankwaso loyalists in Kano.
Mr Shehu, in a statement said the meeting held on Wednesday night in Abuja.
He said the president appealed to stakeholders in the APC all over the country to work for genuine reconciliation “for the benefit of our people and our nation.”
In welcoming the party leaders back to the APC, Mr Buhari said the house was large enough to accommodate everyone and promised to speak to the leadership of the party and government in Kano to accommodate and work with the returnees.
“In addition to Professor Hafiz, a staunch ally of Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso who resigned as Governor Abdullahi Ganduje’s Deputy, the other returnees include a former Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Architect Aminu Dabo; the immediate past National Treasurer, Bala Mohammed Gwagwarwa; Security Adviser to Kwankwaso, General Danjuma Dambazau (rtd); Engineer Mu’azu Magaji, all of them staunch members of the Kwankwasiyya as well as Senator Isa Zarewa who left in protest against the last primaries.
“They were led to the President by the Governor of Jigawa State, Abubakar Badaru,” Mr Shehu said.
Responding to the presidential directive, Governor Ganduje reportedly welcomed the return of the party stalwarts and assured the president that he was ready to work with everyone to record yet another historic victory in the general elections.
The media aide to Mr Abubakar, Abdulwahab Sa’id, provided more details of the meeting to PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday.
“President Muhammad Buhari sent a private jet to Kano yesterday night (Wednesday) to convey Professor Hafiz Abubakar, Former National treasurer of APC Bala Gwagwarwa, former Managing Director Nigeria Ports Authority Aminu Dabo, and former Senior Special Assistant to President Jonathan on SURE-P Engineer Mu’azu Magaji Dan Sarauniya to Presidential Villa for a private meeting.
“The president has appreciated their contribution towards his election in 2015 and pleaded to them to return to APC and work toward his re-election in 2019,” Mr Said.
He said Mr Buhari will formally accept all the returnees at a rally in Kano soon.
On whether Mr Abubakar will work with Governor Ganduje again, the media aide said the goal is to ensure the success of APC at all levels in the state.
Mr Abubakar resigned as deputy governor in August and two days later decamped to the PDP along with 10 former aides to Governor Ganduje.
Mr Abubakar told his supporters then that he resigned his position because Mr Ganduje’s administration had deviated from the “ideology, policies and manifesto of ‘Kwankwasiyya,”’ the name of the political group led by Mr Kwankwaso.
Two months later, the former deputy governor abandoned the PDP for the PRP.
Mr Abubakar who failed to secure the PDP governorship ticket told his supporters that he left the party due to injustice meted on his supporters.
He said the PDP failed to grant his ‘only request’ that one slot in the Kano State House of Assembly should be given to one of his loyalists.
The former deputy governor has been complaining about the nomination of Salihu Takai as the PRP governorship candidate in Kano, a factor that may have informed his decision to leave the party.
Kano State, the most populous in Northern Nigeria, is also the state where President Buhari had the largest number of votes in the 2015 election. Then Mr Kwankwaso was the governor and worked for the president’s success.