BusinessDay

Why there’s mass defection to NNPP – Party chairman

Rufai Ahmed Alkali, national chairman of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), has said many politicians have defected to the party because it is a better alternative to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Alkali said this while welcoming, on behalf of the NNPP National Working Committee, a former Kano State governor and serving Senator, Ibrahim Shekarau to the party.

Shekarau recently joined the NNPP from the APC. The development happened a few days after Abdulmumin Jibrin, a former member of the House of Representatives and director-general of the Bola Tinubu Campaign Group, joined the party.

The duo’s defection and that of others came despite efforts by Abdullahi Ganduje, Kano governor, to prevent them from leaving the APC.

Before the latest defections, at least 17 members of the Kano State House of Assembly and Ganduje’s chief of staff had left the PDP and the APC to the NNPP.

Reacting to the defections, Alkali said: “They are pointers to the fact the NNPP has become the party to beat, not just in Kano State but all over the country.

“Senator Ibrahim Shekarau’s movement to our party, as well as other movements, in various parts of the country, has now changed the permutations and political alignment in the country ahead of the 2023 general elections.

“Recall that before the emergence and sudden growth of the NNPP, PDP was hitherto considered as the main opposition party in Kano and other parts of the country and was expected to provide a formidable competition to the APC in 2023 as it did in 2019.”

He added: “But with the PDP and APC engrossed with leadership problems, our party has become the precious bride being sought after by many politicians across the country.

“Unlike in 2019, the political calculation in 2023 will be a different ball game. This is because we have taken far reaching steps to re-launch and reposition the party as one of the major political parties in the country.”

According to Alkali, given the massive support the party has received and continued to receive from people across the country, it is optimistic that very soon it would move from its current ranking as the ‘third force’ to the top in Nigeria’s political space.

He said: “So far, we have successfully conducted ward congresses in all the local government areas across the country. The local government congress, state congress and national convention were also conducted peacefully.

“We are therefore bold to say that our presence is now felt in all the 774 local government areas as Nigerians continue to embrace our party.”

According to the party chairman, the NNPP is the only party in Nigeria that has offered youths below 35 years of age a 50 percent discount for the purchase of nomination forms.

Read also: 2023 Presidency: Kwankwaso, north’s joker, set to emerge NNPP consensus candidate

He said: “This has led to an influx of youths to the party, and the party is equal to the task as it has put in place all measures to avoid rancour during the election.

“It is not in doubt that Nigerians are tired and are therefore looking for a better option. Happily, with the calibre of people joining our party such as Senator Shekarau, the New Nigeria People’s Party is today that new option that Nigerians have been yearning and waiting for. And we promise Nigerians that we shall do everything possible to ensure that every Nigerian is carried along. This party is all about correcting past and current mistakes done by the APC and PDP and with your support, we shall achieve a better Nigeria, and very soon it shall be the number-one force in the country.”

The party has announced a shift in the dates for its senatorial and governorship primaries.

According to Dipo Olayoku, the national secretary of the party and chairman convention planning committee, the action was taken by the party leadership to ensure transparent and hitch-free primaries/elections

It said in a statement: “The National Working Committee, at its Emergency meeting on Thursday, May 19, 2022, approved the shift in dates for the senatorial and governorship primaries.

“For the Senate, all the processes will take place in the states, while for the governorship, only the primaries slated for Monday, May 30 will take place at the states while the other processes will take place in Abuja. For the states in the South-East, because of the sit-at- home order on Mondays, any programme fixed for Mondays will be held on Tuesdays.”

The NNPP urged all members to cooperate with the primaries/elections committees in the interest of the party.

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