The gathering of some of the country’s political heavyweights oscillating between the All Progressives Congress and the Reformed All Progressives Congress on the one hand and the Peoples Democratic Party on the other in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, raised speculations about the real motive of the meeting.
Among those that met in Ilorin were Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State; Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Katsina State; a former National Chairman of the defunct New Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje; National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Uche Secondus; and President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki.
Others included former Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido; Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State; Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwata State; Senator Barnabas Gemade; Senator Peter Nwoboshi; and Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ali Ahmad.
Though the occasion was said to be the fidau prayers for Baraje’s mother, Alhaja Haishah Omoagba Baraje, the speculation forced Governor Ahmed to issue a disclaimer on the purpose of the gathering.
Wike is in the forefront of the negotiation with disgruntled members of the APC, some of who are believed to be in the Reformed APC, which has the likes of Saraki, Baraje and Governor Ahmed.
Ortom on Monday declared that he had been given the red card by the APC and was thus shopping for a new political party.
The APC was quick in summoning him to Abuja for a meeting.
In a statement shortly after the news of the gathering went viral, Ahmed said he was yet to take a decision on his political future with the APC.
He said the gathering in Ilorin was for the burial rites of Alhaja Baraje and not for the purpose of a political realignment.
The statement, signed by his media aide, Dr. Muyideen Akorede, added: “While I have not been briefed on any planned defection, I am aware that my principal and other political leaders in the state are gradually being shown the way out of the APC.”