Former Aviation Minister Femi Fani Kayode on Thursday said he defected to the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) to unify the country against disintegration, Nigeria Tribune reports.
This is even as he said he was instrumental to three Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors decamping to the APC as he was formally presented to President Muhammadu Buhari as a member of the ruling party.
Speaking to the newsmen after being introduced to the president at the presidential villa, Abuja on Thursday – by the Governor of Yobe state and Chairman of the APC national caretaker committee, Mai Mala Buni and his Zamfara state counterpart, Bello Matawalle – Fani-Kayode said he was moved by Holy Spirit to decamp from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC, pointing out that he was a founding member of the ruling party.
The former spokesman of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council – explained that his move to the APC became pertinent to help Nigeria to survive the last two years of the present administration.
When asked why he joined the APC, the former minister, who famously declared that he would rather die than join the ruling party, stated: “Why not? The point is that I felt that this was the appropriate time to do the right thing, to put Nigeria first and to appreciate the efforts that have been made, particularly in the last couple of years in terms of security, fighting insurgency, fighting terrorism, and most importantly, it’s the appreciation of the fact that we must remain one as a nation, build bridges, work together to move the country forward.
“The efforts of the governor of Yobe State, the governor of Zamfara State and a number of others, including the governor of Kogi and a number of others in their respective states and in moving this country forward and helping Mr. President move this country forward, cannot be ignored.
“It’s very important for us to appreciate the fact that when we see that there are good things that are happening, we appreciate those good things. It’s not always negative and when the time is right, we change direction to join forces and join hands to move the country forward.
“Doing this doesn’t mean we’re enemies to anybody. All of us, even if we’re in another party, the PDP or any other party or any other group, we can still work together across party lines, regional lines, ethnic lines, and religious lines. The most important thing is for us to understand and appreciate the fact that Nigeria must not disintegrate and those that want us to end up fighting one another in a war will be put to shame.
“There are people that think like that and that is what informed me to come here to meet Mr. President. He was very gracious, he was very good to me today, spoke so well and it’s an honour for me to be here and we will move the country forward together.”
On how he thinks his former party, the PDP, would react to the defection, he said. “Well, that’s left to them. I have many friends in the PDP. If you remember, in 2013, I was actually one of those that formed the APC. There were a few issues and I went back to PDP, but I think it’s an individual thing. As a party, of course, they may not be too happy, but I have no enemies there and I have nothing negative to say about anybody there.
“I believe in moving the country forward together with everybody that believes in Nigeria and wants Nigeria to progress and I also believe that we must recognise the fact that there are two more years for this administration or there about.
“We must come together to make sure we survive it, we must come together to make sure Nigeria is a better place and we must work together, regardless of party affiliation, but whatever they say, whatever they choose to say, is entirely up to them. I have many friends there, let’s hope that they don’t feel too bad about it. We’re all Nigerians.”
Fani-Kayode pointed that he had caused the defection of PDP governors to the APC even while he was a member of the main opposition party.
He explained: “There are many, people. If you ask my friend and brother, Governor Matawale here, there are many people within the PDP, who really do want to come over to the APC, I can tell you that.
“I was there and very instrumental when Governor Umahi joined the APC. I was there and very instrumental when Governor Ayade did the same thing. I was there and very instrumental when my friend and brother governor of Zamfara, Governor Matawale did the same thing.
“There are many others, some of the most remarkable men in this country are still within the ranks of the PDP, it’s our job to try to win them over.
“Now, if you don’t mind me mentioning names, somebody like the governor of Enugu State, the governor Oyo State, and of course, my good friend, the governor of Bauchi State, great friends of mine, and I sincerely hope that they too may end up coming in this direction.
“But whether they do or not, the most important thing is that we work together as a people, as a country, and move our country together and fight and kill the terrorists and put to shame the foreign elements and I emphasise that word, foreign elements, that want us to end up fighting one another in this country and turning our country into a massive refugee camp.”
On what he would tell those who criticize his constant movement from one party to another, he said: “I’ll say that the only constant thing in life is change. You can’t hold me to what I’ve said in the past if circumstances change and I will always bow to superior argument and logic.
“For me, the primary cause today and let me say this, there’s no way I will renege on my fundamental core values and principles, anybody that knows me will tell you that.
“I believe in certain things; how the country should be moved forward. I will fight for that from within this party to ensure it’s done. I believe in fairness and equity. But the most important thing for us today is we must not allow our country to fall apart based on disagreement and misunderstanding amongst one another.
“I’ve recognised the fact that we’re very close to war, a lot of people don’t know this and God forbid we should go into that. We should come together build it.
“If they criticise me for that, it’s their right to do so.
“I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings, but I’ve made a choice, I believe I’ve been led by the Spirit of God and I will fight the … and fight for what I believe is right within this party as I would anyway. I will never give up on my core values and principles.”