The Speaker of the House of Representatives , Mr Yakubu Dogara , has kept his next political destination close to his chest amid growing speculations that he will finally pitch his camp with the Peoples Democratic Party .
Findings by SUNDAY PUNCH
showed that as of Saturday , Dogara had not made any contrary official declaration on his continued loyalty to the All Progressives Congress or whether he would defect to the PDP as rumoured or not.
The expectation , a few weeks back , was that Dogara would join the Senate President Bukola Saraki in moving to the PDP, but his camp kept mute after Saraki exited the APC .
Dogara came to the fore again on Thursday last week when he was absent at the National Executive Council meeting of the APC held in Abuja .
He has not been attending ward , local government and state meetings of the party as well .
However , a letter the speaker’ s Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr. Cyril Maduabum , sent to the National Chairman of the APC , Mr Adams Oshiomhole , gave the reason for the speaker’ s absence on Thursday . The letter indicated that Dogara was out of Nigeria .
His Deputy , Mr. Yussuff Lasun , was also absent .
However , investigations by SUNDAY PUNCH showed that the speaker would leave the APC eventually .
Some of his close associates confided in SUNDAY PUNCH that Dogara was doing some “ calculations to get things right ” before leaving.
One of them said , “ The issue about defection or no defection is that at the appropriate time , things will take their natural course .
“ For Dogara , it is not too late . He is neither vying for the Presidency nor governorship ; so , he has time on his side.
“ If he were to vie for the Presidency like Saraki, he would have long made a public declaration because time would have been against him .
“ But in the case of the House of Representatives , which is a localised constituency election , he can still defect at the last minute . There is still time for that. ”
Another Dogara close colleague in the APC described the speaker as “ APC in body” but “ a PDP member in spirit . ”
The source added , “ What I see is that Dogara is still negotiating with the APC , taken that he is a speaker on the party ’ s ticket .
“ If the negotiation does not end in his favour , he has time to announce his next move. ”
Incidentally , the House of Representatives primary of the PDP will be held on September 19.
Another associate pointed out that Dogara ’ s area in Bauchi State, Bogoro Local Government Area , was under the firm control of the PDP , saying this was a sign of what to expect from Dogara in the days ahead .
“ During the last senatorial bye -election in Bauchi State , PDP won the speaker ’ s ward and local government .
“ A number of his friends and associates are already seeking elective positions on the platform of the PDP, ” the associate said .
His media office frustrated every effort by SUNDAY PUNCH to get a reaction on the official position .
His Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs , Mr Turaki Hassan , declined to speak and generally gave no useful responses to enquiries by SUNDAY PUNCH.
Regarding his absence at the APC NEC , the spokesman for the House , Mr. Abdulrazak Namdas , informed SUNDAY PUNCH that the speaker was away to the United Kingdom at the time of the meeting .
“ The speaker is in the UK ; at least , I am aware of that. If he is not in the country, he is not in the country , ” he stated .
On his part, Lasun is set to remain committed to the APC , but he is said to be nursing a grudge against the party .
Findings indicated that Lasun was unhappy that the party “ deliberately schemed ” him out of the July 20 Osun governorship primary of the party won by Alhaji Isiaka Oyetola .
The APC opted for direct primaries to pick the candidate as against the indirect primaries said to have been used for the Ekiti State governorship election primaries and others.
A National Assembly official , privy to the deputy speaker’ s grouse, spoke more on why Lasun , an engineer , is unhappy with the APC .
“ Lasun has a grudge and he believes that it is justifiable . Remember that he protested the sudden decision to use direct primaries to pick the party candidate (in Osun ). He feels he was the target , ” the official , who should know , said .
“ What he complained about came to pass and the APC failed to address it . Worse still , since the primaries ended , the APC has not called any reconciliation meeting in Osun .
“ The deputy speaker feels that there are issues to be discussed to keep the party united , but nobody cares . Reconciliation has long been done in Ekiti , but not in Osun.
“ That is not to say that he will leave the party . He is a loyal APC member and has repeatedly said that he would swim and drown with the party . ”
SUNDAY PUNCH also spoke with his Chief Press Secretary , Mr Wole Oladimeji , who confirmed that his boss had no plans to dump the APC.
Oladimeji said , “Leave APC ; how ? To where? A grudge does not mean leaving the party . Who said that he will leave?”
Asked why Lasun did not attend the NEC meeting , the CPS claimed that Lasun travelled out of the country , but declined to name the destination of the federal lawmaker .
“ He is not in Nigeria and he wrote Oshiomhole to say so . This is the period for the annual recess of the National Assembly. Members usually travel at this period , ” he added .
Also , the Secretary, Lasun Yusuf Campaign Organisation , Prof Aderemi Ajala , said the deputy speaker got the notice of the NEC meeting very late and that was why he could not attend the meeting .
Ajala said , “ The deputy speaker did not attend the meeting because he is outside Nigeria and he sent apologies which Comrade Adams Oshimhole read at the meeting . He is not leaving the APC. ”
Lasun had, two weeks ago , said in Osogbo while speaking with journalists that he was not ready to leave the ruling party despite losing the governorship ticket to Alhaji Isiaka Oyetola