A former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa, has alleged that the five Peoples Democratic Party governors, who defected to the All Progressives Congress in 2014, paid N100m each, before they were admitted into the then opposition party.
The former PDP governors, who defected to the APC in the build-up to the 2015 general elections, were Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Abdulfattah Ahmed (Kwara) and Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto).
Bafarawa told SUNDAY PUNCH in an exclusive interview that the former PDP governors agreed to pay N100m each to the national secretariat of the party so that they could automatically become leaders of the APC in their respective states.
But Ahmed, while reacting to Bafarawa’s allegation through his spokesperson, Dr. Muyideen Akorede, told one of our correspondents that he did not pay any money before or after defecting from PDP to APC.
Akorede said, “It’s not true. We deny the claim as false and lacking in substance. Governor Abdulfattah Ahmed didn’t pay money to anybody or group before or after he decided to join the APC.”
Also, a close confidant of Nyako, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said the case of Adamawa was different.
He said, “I am not aware of such donations by PDP governors who crossed over to the APC.
“Our case in Adamawa was different. We needed the APC platform and the APC needed high calibre members to break the back of the PDP.
“The national leadership of our former party, under the leadership of Bamanga Tukur, handled the party like a personal estate and the APC welcomed us with open arms. It was a mutually beneficial marriage.”
However, giving the background to the issue, Bafarawa, who said he was one of those who drafted the APC constitution, explained that some chieftains of the party, who were already recognised as leaders of the party in their states, were dislodged by the governors when they allegedly dropped their millions.
The former governor stated, “After the party was successfully registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission, we heard that five governors of the Peoples Democratic Party were leaving their party to join the APC.
“The affected governors did not get in touch with the stakeholders of the party in their respective states but decided to meet directly with the national leadership of the party.
“Our party leadership told us (at a meeting) that they (the governors) were ready to make their own financial contributions for the takeoff of the party. I was shocked to hear that while we were working hard for greater change, other members of the PDP were coming to join us.
“Unfortunately, what we saw was that the pillars of the PDP – because the governors are pillars of any party – were coming to give their financial contributions of N100, 000,000 (One hundred million) each.
“I was there, (at the meeting). Instantly, I said well, I am not a governor of my state, but I am willing and ready to give my personal N100, 000,000 (One hundred million) to safeguard my state from the PDP (invasion).
“Unfortunately, they (party leaders) decided (in favour of the governors) and they had their way. Hence, all the PDP governors, who defected to the APC then, automatically became the leaders of the party in their states.
“I was told to hand over the party (structure) to my governor, who was a member of the PDP. Some of us, who felt it would be an insult to us to remain in the party, decided to leave.”
Efforts to get Amaechi, Kwankwaso and Wamakko for their reactions were unsuccessful as they neither answered their calls nor respond to text messages sent to them by our correspondents.