AHEAD OF THE 2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS: DEFECTIONS by Opeyemi Abdullahi

It is no news that the defection of both major and minor politicians is as a result of the fast approaching general election. The interests of incumbent politicians and aspirants are either renewed or changed so as to propose a more convincing strategy to win over the electorates.
Until 2015, the People’s Democratic Party has dominated the big scene, winning the presidential election four times. The new coalition, the All Progressive Congress having won the 2015 presidential election, changed the reins of power. No doubt, these two have dominated the Nigerian political scene. Defection has come massively on both sides and ahead of the general elections, we look into some major defection.
THE ROAD FROM THE ALL PROGRESSIVE CONGRESS(APC) TO THE PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PDP)
The People’s Democratic party (PDP) look to rally around, regain composure and take back the presidency. Still maintaining the intensity and high pressure on the leadership hierarchy as the major opposition party, all these amidst major intra-party crisis in the All Progressive Congress(APC).
1. SENATOR BUKOLA SARAKI: The current president of the Nigerian Senate. He was formerly the governor of Kwara state from 2003-2011. He was first elected into the Senate in 2011 and then re-elected in 2015. Over the years, he established himself as the most prolific politician in Kwara state. On the 31st of July 2018 , he defected to the PDP.

2. RABIU KWANKASO: Arguably one of the most influential politician in Kano state. He was a two time governor of Kano state (1999-2003 & 2011-2015). Having lost his re-election bid to Ibrahim Shekarau in 2003 ,he was appointed Defense Minister by President Olusegun Obasanjo. In 2015, he lost to Muhammadu Buhari in the APC presidential primary election. He is currently a Senator representing Kano Central. On July 24th 2018, he defected from the APC to the PDP.

3. AMINU TAMBUWAL: He is the executive governor of Sokoto state. He was the former speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives. On October 28th 2014, Tambuwal defected to APC from PDP. He became governor on the platform of the APC. On August 1st 2018, Tambuwal defected back to PDP.

4. BUBA GALADIMA: An unpopular but influential personality in Nigerian Politics. Galadima was a major chieftain of the leading opposition(All Nigeria’s People’s Party) at the inception and fresh wake of Nigeria’s democracy in the Fourth Republic. In the formation of the Coalition that ousted the People’s Democratic Party in 2015, Galadima was one of the Nine Signatories that signed the merger agreement between the Political parties (APGA,ANPP,CPC and ACN). In 2018, amid intense disagreement within the All Progressive Congress, Galadima defected to the PDP and is currently the Spokesperson of the PDP campaign Organization.
Other major defectors to the PDP include : Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state, Senator Murtala Nyako of Adamawa Central Senatorial district and the ‘under-fire’ Senator Dino Melaye of Kogi West Senatorial district.

THE ROAD FROM THE PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PDP) TO THE ALL PROGRESSIVE PARTY (APC)
Not too many defection were made to APC as the progress of the Coalition has been marred by major internal conflict between its biguns raising a question on how prepared it is to hold on to the top in the coming elections.

1. SENATOR GODSWILL AKPABIO: He was governor of Akwa Ibom state from 2007 to 2015. He became the Senator representing Akwa Ibom North West (Ikot Ekpene) senatorial district. On 28th of July 2015,he was appointed Senate minority leader. In August 2018, Senator Godswill Akpabio resigned as minority leader and announced his defection to the All Progressive Congress.

2. MUSILIU OBANIKORO: One-time Senator representing Lagos Central Senatorial district between 2003 and 2007. Appointed Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana in may 2008. He lost the Lagos gubernatorial Elections to Babatunde Raji Fashola in 2007. In November 2017,he switched his allegiance from the PDP to the APC .

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