R-APC Reps shift mass defection to next week

A planned defection of the members of the Reformed All Progressives Congress in the House of Representatives earlier scheduled for Thursday (yesterday), was shifted to next week, The PUNCH has learnt.

This came as the All Progressives Congress caucus convened an emergency meeting on Thursday, reportedly to drum support for President Muhammadu Buhari and seek ways to convince the R-APC faction to stick with the caucus.

Findings by The PUNCH indicated that Thursday’s meeting, which was convened by the House Majority Leader, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, lasted from 3.30pm to about 5.28pm.

One R-APC source said, “Discussions are ongoing and members want to concretise on strategies before the mass defection will take place.

“What is known is that the APC has given us signals that there is no accommodation for us in the party.

“We are looking forward to any time before July 26, which is Thursday, next week, to move.”

Lawmakers, noticeably from Oyo, Benue and Kwara states did not show up at the caucus meeting.

The PUNCH made fruitless efforts to get the comments of the members from those states on why they were absent at the meeting, which was held behind closed doors.

The Speaker of the House, Mr Yakubu Dogara, also stayed away from the meeting, though he presided over the plenary of the House on Thursday.

The Deputy Speaker, Mr Yussuff Lasun, too was absent, but his case was attributed to today’s primary of the APC for the Osun State governorship poll.

When Gbajabiamila hurried out of the venue of the meeting as it ended, he declined to make any categorical statement on the deliberations that took place indoors.

“I don’t dwell on rumours, I dwell on reality. Let that reality come first.

“There is no fire on the mountain, not at all”, he responded to a reporter’s question.

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Gbajabiamila made efforts not to be drawn into speaking on the defection plot.

“Where did you find that out from? Let them (R-APC) go first. Talk is cheap,” he snapped.

Feeling confident, the Lagos lawyer added, “I am not scared at all.”

He would also not speak on speculation that Buhari was on the agenda of discussion as he continued to walk briskly away from the venue.

Recall that in an exclusive interview with The PUNCH last week, a member of the R-APC, Mr Razak Atunwa, said the group had tentacles across the country and would make real its plan within the shortest possible time.

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