Nigeria's ruling party confirms parl't speaker's exit

By Rafiu Ajakaye

Lagos Nigeria (AA) – Nigeria’s ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) on Thursday downplayed Parliament Speaker Yakubu Dogara's resignation from the party as "no threat" to its chances in the coming polls.

"We don't consider his exit as a disadvantage, although we would not like to lose any member. We wish him well. But he is not a loss to us because he has no electoral value anymore," APC spokesman Yekini Nabena told Anadolu Agency by phone.

Nabena, however, said the party was "still awaiting" a formal resignation from the lawmaker who hails from northeastern Bauchi state, one of the strongholds of incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari where one of his proteges recently won a senatorial rerun ballot by a landslide.

Dogara is yet to formally announce his defection from the ruling party to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as required by the Nigerian law but local media have reported him as obtaining nomination form to contest for the same seat. He was long rumored to be contemplating leaving the party following disagreements with its top leadership.

Neither Dogara nor his media spokesman Turaki Hassan has denied reports of his resignation from the APC.

Senate President Bukola Saraki recently quit the ruling party weeks after some 50 parliamentarians left the APC.

Some opposition lawmakers, including senate minority leader Godswill Akpabio, have joined the APC from the PDP in what locals derided as political transfer window ahead of the next election.