President Muhammadu Buhari Monday received former Speaker of the House of Representatives Mr Dimeji Bankole and former Governor of Ogun state Mr Gbenga Daniel at the Presidential Villa in Abuja following their defection to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

They were led to State House by the chairman of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the APC and Governor of Yobe, Mr Mai Mala Buni and Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi state and Governor Mohammed Badaru of Jigawa state.

Fielding questions from State House correspondents after the meeting, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe state said the president expressed delight at the calibre of the defectors.

“We came to present new members of our party, Daniel and Bankole. Mr. President is impressed and happy that leaders of such caliber are joining our party at this time we are registering new members, because registering and validating our membership, and indeed this is the right time for them to join us. And that’s exactly what Mr. president is very happy. He’s pleased, he is impressed,” he said.

Also speaking, former Speaker of the House of Representatives Mr Dimeji Bankole said he joined the APC to give support to the effort the president was making in addressing the problems facing the country.

“There are issues we need to solve and any reasonable human beings should support at this moment. From Borno to Lagos, Bayelsa to Sokoto. These are critical times and we shouldn’t be found wanting.

“This is the time to step up and support so that these decisions can be taken, executed and owned by us as a nation. Because 10 years from now, 20 years from now, people ask who stood up when these things were happening? It’s every citizens, right and all we’ve done is exercise it today. But actions from now will speak for us,” he said.

On his part, former the former governor of Ogun state and Director-General of the 2019 Atiku Campaign Organisation, Mr Gbenga Daniel, stressed the need to deemphasise the issue of party in running the affairs of the country.

“Why APC? There are too many options in the party. One thing is sure that we are going through health and economic challenges, we must do less of political contestations and give support.

“One thing that is for sure, is that the entire world is going through challenges that are global challenges, economic challenges, health challenges. And when you are in a situation like this, as I usually opined, we should do less of partisan contestation, all of us must come together to support whoever is in power.

“And what we have decided to do is to come and give our support to the president so that jointly, we can continuously navigate the country that is what is relevant,” he said.

Commenting on suggestions that the APC was trying to create a one party state by fishing for members of other political parties, Daniel said the PDP was once in the same position in the country as the then ruling party.

“Definitely any political environment, whether it is multi party or two party, there will usually be a majority party and the minority party. So I don’t think that there’s anything new that has happened.

“A few years ago, when PDP was at the helm of affairs at the centre, I think the last count out of the 36 states, PDP was in charge in more than 24 states at that time. And the country did not become a one party state. So I think what is going on is quite healthy.

“The contestation is quite exciting. I think what’s important is that parties should look inwards and organise themselves very well, so that at any point in time, the people have an opportunity to make an informed choice. And that I think is what is going on,” he said.

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