Bauchi State Governor, Mohammed Abubakar, says senators who recently left the All Progressives Congress (APC) in his state were merely playing to the gallery.
Addressing journalists after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, Mr Abubakar said the defection will not affect the fortunes of the party in 2019.
He added that the senators and their parties will lose in the 2019 elections just as they did in the recently held by-election in the state.
Senators Isa Misau (Bauchi Central) and Suleiman Nazif (Bauchi North) both left the party for PDP in July.
Mr Abubakar said even though the defectors ‘spent a lot of money in order to defeat the APC’ in the Bauchi South Senatorial by-election, the party came out victorious.
“I don’t want to boast but you know election is local. Some people want to come to Abuja and play to the gallery, and I am talking about the defectors. My answer is the congresses in Bauchi State along with other states in the APC and in many states that parallel congresses were conducted, because some members of the party were in opposition to the governors who were strong enough to conduct these parallel congresses.
“In Bauchi State, there was no single parallel congress that was conducted. Secondly, the 11th August election took place and the APC won resoundingly. Let me tell you that all of those people who decamped, including these two senators, rallied round and spent a lot of money in order to defeat the APC in the election but the results like I said is out in the public and we have won resoundingly, so I am sure the results of 2019 elections are not going to be any different.”
Mr Abubakar stated that the purpose of his visit was to brief President Buhari, who was out of the country on vacation during the by-election.
As part of what he discussed with Mr President, he said the party has more work to do to avert high rate of vote cancellation as experienced during the by-election.
“This is the first opportunity I have had since the election of 11th August to brief Mr. President because when the election took place, the President was away on short leave abroad and I just came in today to brief him adequately about what transpired in Bauchi.
“The results are out in the public and the APC won resoundingly in the election and I have told him that we have learnt a lot of lessons from the the election. For example, close to 200,000 votes were cancelled. This is an eye opener for us that we have to work very very hard and train agents very well to be able to safeguard this kind of situation,” he said.