There is crisis in the North-West caucus of the House of Representatives, following its alleged endorsement of President Muhammadu Buhari’s presumed interest for the 2019 Presidency.

Although, the President still has over two years to serve his term, and has not indicated any intention to re-contest the position in 2019, the Leader of the 94-member caucus, Honourable Alhassan Ado Doguwa, had after a meeting last week Wednesday, told Newsmen that the caucus had unanimously endorsed Buhari, who is from the zone, to bid again for the Presidency, in 2019.

Doguwa said: “2019 will come, and we are also going to be there; we will be able to engage it as it comes. I want to tell you that Nigerians can’t afford to miss Mr. President in 2019, as it comes.”

THISDAY however, gathered that members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, were not happy with the impression that the caucus had endorsed the President.

The five-member PDP caucus, all of them from Kaduna State, Honourables Yakubu Barde, Gideon Gwani, Simon Arabor, Shehu Garba, and Sunday Marshall Kaltung, were up in arms at the weekend.
The Minority Whip, Barde, confirmed that the caucus did not endorse Buhari for the 2019 Presidential polls.

“I am of the PDP, so that is not possible. PDP has its own candidate for the polls, and we would soon present the candidate,” he told THISDAY in a telephone interview yesterday.

Also speaking, Kaltung corroborated Barde, by saying the issue of endorsement of Buhari never happened.
“I can tell you categorically, that it never featured in our discussions at the meeting, so if anyone says we endorsed anyone, it is a big lie.”

A PDP member, who spoke off the record, said the main issue discussed at the caucus meeting, was the under-representation of the zone in the 2017 budget.

The source said: “Many of our roads are becoming death traps, and we want to see how we can strategise, to attract more infrastructure to the region. We also want more attention for security.”

He added, that it would be funny for anyone to endorse the President at this time, explaining that Lawmakers needed to be sensitive to the mood of Nigerians.

According to him: “The President is being bashed in the public space for the hardships Nigerians are dealing with, so to support him for 2019, would be like insulting the citizens.”

Another PDP member, said no member of his party could be seen as endorsing Buhari for 2019.

The member from Kaduna State, who asked not to be named, accused the Chief Whip of misrepresenting the caucus.
“He just misrepresented our position and misinformed Nigerians. Yes, we commended Mr. President for improving the security situation generally, but that was it. In fact, we also discussed that while the security situation is improving in the North-East, it is getting worse in our zone. This is because, the North-East has been getting all the attention,” the Lawmaker said.

Another Lawmaker, noted that Doguwa simply used the statement to slight Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, the former Governor of Kano State, who is also believed to be interested in the nation’s top position.

“Doguwa is bringing Kano politics into our general caucus position. Kwankwaso’s interest in running for President in 2019 is visible, even if he has not publicly said so. And we all know the serious infighting in Kano APC. Doguwa just used that statement to throw a jab at his erstwhile mentor. We did not send him to make any endorsement,” the Lawmaker said.


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