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2023: Babachir Panel Reveals 192 Lawmakers Plan Defection From APC

Following the outcome of the party primaries that caused some members to lose a return ticket, the Planning and Strategy Committee of the Tinubu Campaign Organisation has warned the All Progressives Congress that there is a chance that 192 members of the National Assembly will leave the party and join other parties.

The committee’s “Report on the Actualization of the Presidency of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the Coming 2023 General Election,” written under the chairmanship of a former secretary to the government of the federation named Babachir Lawal, made the proposal.

The committee asked the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd. ), the party’s presidential candidate, Tinubu, leaders of the National Assembly, and other party leaders to intervene. The committee also listed the factors the party should take into account when choosing a running mate and the potential options the party could choose from. It issued a warning that the party would be harmed by the members’ defect.

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The report’s 23 members, 22 of whom signed it with the exception of Nuhu Ribadu, a former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, were made public by a copy that our correspondent saw on Saturday.

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Yakubu Dogara, a former speaker of the House of Representatives, Opeyemi Bamidele, Ishaku Abbo, Grace Bent, and Basiru Ajibola, as well as Musa Sarkin-Adar, Komsol Longgap, Olawale Raji, and former senators Adesoji Akanbi, Abu Ibrahim, and Magnus Abe were also members of the committee.

Others were Umar Mohammed, the director general of the Tinubu Support Group, Silas Agara, the deputy governor of Nasarawa State, Safaa Adam, Amina Indala, Kashim Imam, Akin Awodeyi-Akinseyiwa, Saadatu Garba, Abubakar Sanusi, and M.T. Usman, a former deputy governor of Lagos State under Tinubu.

The report of the committee, which was said to have been handed over to Tinubu for consideration and implementation, partly read, “Defecting to other parties is quite common during electioneering but it is more worrisome for this election as a lot of influential members feel aggrieved with the processes of the elections.

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“There is a need to reach out to the principal officers of the National Assembly and the party leadership at the national, state, zonal and local government levels to mitigate and assuage the aggrieved persons.

“It is worrisome that 22 serving senators and 170 National Assembly members are set to defect from the APC. There is no doubt that this can weaken our strength and there is an urgent need for intervention from the President, our presidential candidate, governors, leaders of the National Assembly, the APC national, state, zonal and local working committees as well as influential party stakeholders.”

According to the article, the committee met multiple times in June to discuss topics such as gender equality, defections among party members, branding and packaging of the candidate, and running mates while keeping religion in mind. It was further stated that the members had taken a representative sample of views from the general public, political, and religious groups, and that the religious demographic ratio from the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory had been employed.

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Concerning the running mate, the committee acknowledged that Muslim-Muslim and Muslim-Christian tickets each have advantages and disadvantages, but cautioned that the running mate’s zone and religion were delicate matters that needed careful study.

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A Muslim-Christian ticket, according to the committee, would uphold the established religious balance in presidential ticketing since 1999 and might help the party win because it would meet the expectations of Christians in the North-Central and North-East. However, it issued a warning that Muslims in the North-West and North-East would support candidates from the north in the NNPP and PDP, which could cause a major loss for the party.

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Concerning the Muslim-Muslim alternative, the group claimed that it will serve to balance out the voting power of the PDP and NNPP and appease the Muslim population, which possesses the necessary vote power to ensure victory. But on the demerit of such a combination, the committee said the uncertainty of the possible outcome must not be ignored as it would sharply divide voters along religious lines.

The report added, “It will trigger a large-scale revolt from the Christian communities across Nigeria against our party, thereby resulting in substantial loss of votes that may affect the overall victory of the election. In our current nascent democracy, it has never been tried but when tried, the winner was not sworn in, even though it was adjudged as the most free and fair election.”

 

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