The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday formally welcomed Senate President Bukola Saraki, Governor of Sokoto Aminu Tambuwal, Samuel Ortom of Benue, former Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Nigeria’s former High Commissioner to South Africa, Ahmed Ibeto and Sen. Dino Melaye as they attended the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Abuja.
All the men were former members of the All Progressives Congress and also former members of the PDP. They have simply returned home as party’s national chairman Uche Secondus said in his opening speech.
“The bold steps you took to return to the party where you truly belong, is a sacrifice not for yourself but for Nigeria and history will be fair to you,” he said.
Secondus described Saraki as the key to “the renewed struggle to free Nigeria”.
“Today is the beginning of the great journey to freedom, the great journey to free our people and rescue this country from the damage done to it by the APC in the last three years.”
He condemned what he described as kangaroo attempts by some lawmakers to impeach Saraki, as Senate President. He said the move will be resisted.
Saraki said he and other colleagues were happy to be back home where they truly belong.
He said that the ongoing defection was a great sacrifice done for Nigerians who have suffered deprivation.
“This sacrifice that we are all making is just the first part because we are doing this for Nigerians and that exercise will not be complete until we make a better country for our people.”
He appealed to the party to fully receive the defectors and those who would still join the party, down to their local government and wards.
“What we are learning in the history of politics is that everybody is important in this journey we are embarking on and no sacrifice is too much for us to make to reach that promise land.
“It is only when we reach that promise land that this sacrifice we are making comes good, when we see a better tomorrow for our people.
“When we get back to our constituencies, please, let us continue to open our arms and receive the numbers that will give us victory come February 2019.”
Tambuwal, the Governor of Sokoto warned the APC led government not to deploy unconstitutional methods to remove the leadership of the National Assembly.
“When I hear that some people were trying to break into the chambers of the Senate, to steal the Mace and install a pseudo Senate President, I wondered whether they actually know the rules of our democratic engagement.
“It is not a gestapo, we are in a democracy and the constitution of this country is very clear that members of the Senate and House of Representatives can choose from among themselves their own president of the Senate and Speaker.
“It is a conference of members of the two chambers and if the members have confidence of the Senate President, they are free to retain him and so be it with Speaker Yakubu DogaraSpeaker Yakubu Dogara.
“Nobody should be afraid and we must respect due process and rule of law if we are in a democracy.”
Tambuwal added that: when they talk about cross carpeting I began to wonder, when I cross-carpeted the other time, did they complain?”
Gov. Ortom appreciated PDP for accepting the defectors adding that he suffered in the APC.
“I am happy for all of you that have kept this home together and am happy coming to meet you intact.”
He said that working with the party leaders in Benue such as former Senate President David Mark and former Governor Gabriel Suswam, victory was sure for PDP in the state.