The only surviving member of old People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Sokoto State, Barrister Mukhtar Shehu Shagari, who also held the position of Minister of Water Resources in the previous administration under President Olusegun Obasanjo, has officially switched his allegiance to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Shagari, who served as a Minister for an extended period in President Obasanjo’s cabinet, was formally handed his APC membership card by the party’s secretary, Abubakar Yabo, along with other state APC executives.
As a founding member of the PDP, Shagari had maintained his affiliation with the party for more than 25 years. However, in August of this year, he made the decision to transition to the APC. Critics of the move have pointed out that the national leadership of the PDP did not treat Shagari fairly, given his long-standing loyalty and respect for the party.
It is noteworthy that many of Shagari’s contemporaries in the PDP, including former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who was the PDP’s 2023 Presidential candidate, have also left the party. Atiku had initially switched to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and then to the APC before ultimately returning to the PDP to vie for the Presidential ticket.
Confirming the former Minister’s change of party, the state APC secretary, Alhaji Abubakar Yabo, affirmed that Shagari, alongside a former Deputy Governor of the state, had received their APC membership cards, officially making them registered members of the new party.
Shagari’s defection has sparked speculation within the state, with some assuming that his traditionally conservative political ideology would have kept him in the PDP regardless of circumstances. His APC membership card is inscribed with the party’s motto, “All Progressives Congress APC Justice, Peace and Unity,” and its registration form bears the details: “Mukhtar Shehu Shagari (CFR) SOKO/SGR/014/26001 dated 27th May 2023.”
The Sokoto state PDP leadership responded to the former Minister’s departure by labeling it a betrayal, highlighting his six-year tenure as a minister and his decision to leave the party without bringing along his followers.
The party’s spokesperson, Alhaji Hassan Sahabi Sanyinnawal, emphasized that Shagari’s move would not weaken the party or alter the state’s political landscape, as the PDP remains the strongest opposition force. He further emphasized that the party’s representatives in both state and national assemblies continue to effectively represent the people of Sokoto state.
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