On Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari received former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, and former governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel, who recently joined the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Also present at the meeting was the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof Ibrahim Gambari.
Mr Buhari expressed his excitement to have Mr Daniel, saying that having the likes of Mr Daniel and the former Speaker in the ruling party gives him hope of good things to come.
“Gbenga Daniel has made my week,” a visibly elated Mr Buhari was quoted to have said by a source present at the meeting.
Mr Daniel, while addressing the press afterwards, explained that defections cannot turn Nigeria into a one party state. He recalled that there was a time when PDP was in control of more than two thirds of the states of the federation, yet the current the APC was able to win take over power. The former Ogun helmsman was accompanied to the Villa by the Acting National Chairman of the APC and Governor of Yobe State Mai Mala Buni, Governor Badaru of Jigawa State and Governor Bagudu of Kebbi State who happens to be Mr Bankole’s in-law.
Villa’s newfound fraternity with Mr Daniel highlights APC’s resolve at poaching important opposition arrowheads from the People’s Democratic Party. Before his resignation from the PDP shortly after the 2019 general elections, Mr Daniel led the presidential campaigns of aspirant Atiku Abubakar, securing the party’s ticket for the former vice-president in an historic feat.
Mr Daniel was governor of Ogun State from 2003 to 2011, while Dimeji Bankole was the Speaker of the House of Representatives from 2007-2011 both running under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).