BODE OLAGOKE, in this piece examines recent massive defection from the main opposition People Democratic Party (PDP) to the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) especially in the South-east, South-south regions and ask questions.
Like typical of some Nigerian politicians without ideology, principle and focus, the story of jumping from one party to the other still continue even after the 2015 general elections. Most affected is the People Democratic Party, (PDP) with most of its faithfuls abandoning what they described as a “wrecked ship” for the party in power, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The recent gale of defection from the PDP’s strongholds in Southeast and South-south seems to be alarming which bring about the integrity questions of the personalities involved.
In the last few days, we have heard of a former senator and Presidential aspirant of one time ruling PDP, who is also a voice to reckon with in South-east, Chief Jim Nwobodo, abandoning the PDP for APC. Another former PDP senator from Enugu State, Chief Fidelis Okoro, were also said to have defected to the APC.
For Senator Uche Ekwunife, her desperation to continue as a Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial district in March, 2016, election drove her to swallow her vomits in APC.
In the South-south, a former Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party in Akwa Ibom state, Chief Otu Ita Otoyo, alongside a former senator, Aloysius Etok and former member of the House of Representatives, Eseme Eyiboh have all resigned their membership of the party that gave them opportunities to serve and be known today.
Other decampes who had also joined the trend including former chairman of Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area and many others who last week received into the APC at a prayer summit and reception held in honour of Obong Umana Umana, candidate of the APC in the last governorship election in the state.
Stating the reasons for leaving the PDP, the decampees noted that the PDP was no longer the party they once believed in. They lamented that it has been hijacked by a few people.
Chief Toyo berated the PDP for deviating from the ideals upon which the party was founded. He said it was that deviation that caused Akwa Ibom people to seek change.
He called on people of the state to embrace the change which APC represents.
“We brought change to Akwa Ibom in 2007, but that change has
been hijacked by a few people for themselves. I screamed but
nobody listened, today, Akwa Ibom people have decided for
change and as such have moved to a new party”, he said.
Another two term senator on the platform of PDP, Aloysius Etok, on his part, thanked Umana Umana for “championing the struggle to liberate the state”, assuring that the APC administration will redeem the state and reposition it to acheive unfulfilled potentials.
Also speaking, Eseme Eyibo, who was former spokesperson of the
House of Representatives, said he was joining the APC, to “take
part in the struggle to rescue the state and its people”. He
maintained that things cannot be allowed to continue as they are.
For Senator Uche Ekwunife at the weekend revealed that she joined the APC because the PDP was no longer interested in winning the Anambra Central senatorial election which is expected to hold in March.
She said part of her reason was to ensure that her people are well
and equitably represented and have a voice in the national
Ekwunife who formally made her defection to APC known to her
Campaign Organization, said her desire to serve her people made
her to leave the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Insisting on the need to be in the ruling party to serve her people,
Ekwunife in the presence of the state Secretary of PDP, Chief
Okigbo and the Vice Chairman, Anambra Central, Hon. Kenneth
Enemuo said, “Somebody said sometime that for you to know if
something will work you have to try, without trying, you won’t
know whether it will work or not. And in life you must take a step.
“Some people said Iyom, why now, our people will they accept
APC? I said what did APC do? Why won’t they accept it? Why they
voted PDP before was because it was a national party so they can
be part of national government. Today APC is the national party,
will you continue to be in isolation? We must be part of the
government in order to have a voice in the government so that our people will be well and equitably represented.”
Continued on reasons she left PDP, Ekwunife stressed that the indefinite suspension of the scheduled primaries for the election of the party’s candidate for re-run election was the last straw that broke the camel’s back, as it made it obvious that PDP was not ready to present a candidate.
She said, “Now, when I came here I look at all that and I said no,
God you must speak to me, give me direction on how to go
because I want to serve my people and I cannot serve my people if I don’t have a platform, platform matters.
“We had the stakeholders meeting on Tuesday, unfortunately on
Wednesday evening one pressman called me and said we have
one publication here, are you no longer running? I said am running, he said we have something for publishing on Thursday, I said can you scan it to me and he scanned this thing to me where PDP suspended all programmes and activities concerning congresses and primaries until Olisa Metuh is released from prison.
“Meanwhile, any party that must produce candidate must do this
between this week to Wednesday next week otherwise that party
has lost the opportunity to present a candidate. When I saw this, I
say no, it can’t happen. Politics is about serving the people and
more political parties are there also as platform for you to use to
serve your people. What matters is the quality of representation, it doesn’t matter the party you are in, if you are not a good candidate if you are in any party you can work. In any party you are, if you are not patriotic to your people you can’t do anything for them.
“We have to also look at the involvement of our people in the
national party and looking at this, I don’t think I need any
soothsayer to tell me that I must try my luck elsewhere and I
looked at all the programmes of other parties and all the
characters and the stakeholders in different parties and I said who
has the best interest of Igbo man in all the parties. I look at the
former Governor of Anambra State, our son Dr. Chris Ngige, and
said with Onwa in the field, is it not over? I have been working with him and I won’t have any problem working with him. We did
campaign with him and everywhere we met, we joked and greeted and moved on and that is why I said I don’t want hates politics because you don’t know where you meet the persontomorrow.
“Today we are with him because without him accepting me I can’t
be in APC. He is the leader of the party here, so without him, is not possible, but God made him available, so I am there with him
now,” Ekwunife submitted.
Reacting to the development in the Southeast, Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige said that the latest member of his party in Anambra, Senator Uche Ekwunife will not get automatic ticket to contest for the Anambra Central Senatorial election in March, 2016.
Ngige said that the party accepted Ekwunife into the party because politics is a game of inclusion, and that the party cannot continue to shut out new members.
The minister alluded to Ekwunife consulting him and top members of the party at the national level, before moving into the party last week Friday.
He also said that he is aware that she has also spoken to members of the party in her ward, and awaiting the state executives.
On whether the senator who was sacked by an appeal court
judgment in December would be picking the ticket of the party
automatically, Ngige said that there was no such arrangement as
the party is preparing to hold a primary election to choose its
He said two other members of the party have indicated interest to vie for the senatorial position of Anambra Central, and that the
party will not hand its ticket to Ekwunife automatically, but would
ensure that the right thing is done.
“The court said it’s a fresh election, and so we have to also hold a
small primary election for them to be on the safe side.” Ngiige
But contrary to Ngige’s position, A member of Buhari Support Organisations (BSO) and staunch member of the APC in diaspora, Gloria Eluebo Adagbon, believed that the APC should refuse anyone decamping from other parties for the time being, until at least when Change has fully settled.
She said that he Party has every right to object to those with questionable characters indicating to join the Party. Adding that APC should resist any attempt by some political hoodlums to ridicule the Change Nigerians fought for, against all odds.
Hear her: “Yes, people have right to express interest or request to join and / or declare for APC, but common sense approach should be applied. But as a Party, APC has the prerogative to object individuals with questionable characters. Let the corruption purge and probes at least take effect.
“These political harlots, without any ideology, jumping from one party to another should be told off. How could Jim Nwobodo suddenly wake up and declare for APC? On what political ideology? On what principle? On what rationale?
“Shouldn’t Chief Nwobodo, a former Senator and presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), a senior figure, stay in PDP to rebuild his party and provide Nigeria with a viable opposition?
“What do these people take ordinary Nigerians who fought the wickedness and impunity, they helped entrenched for? Do they think we will fold our hands and let them cross over to come and destroy the New Nigeria we are helping to build?
“There are genuine and concerted efforts to sanitise the country and these decamping from end to the other is making a mess of the whole thing. This is not good for Nigeria, neither is it good for Change.
“We are gradually building up trust and confidence in governance, decampes will become a cog in the wheel of progressive change.
“The last thing APC needs at the moment is to unknowingly allow rogue elements, who have one thing or the other to hide to come in, with the disguise of hiding behind the ruling party. APC should take due note. God bless Nigeria,”Gloria submitted.
Political analysts are of the opinions that if the likes of President Muhammadu Buhari, former Lagos state governor, Bola Tinubu and Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu had abandoned their then opposition parties to PDP, what now emerged as governing party wouldn’t have been there.