From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Some former leaders of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Delta State on Saturday described the main opposition party in the state as a carcass.
The former opposition leaders who were officially received into the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) with thousands of their supporters at a mega rally in Asaba, said the APC in Delta has being on life support, and that they were the engine room before now, noting that the party was now dead and buried as a result of their exit.
Those who defected include former state chairman of APC, Cyril Ogodo; state publicity secretary of the APC caretaker committee, Sylvester Imonina; and former senatorial chairman of APC, Ben Onwuka.
Others are leaders of various APC support groups including Ovie Omo-Agege Solidarity Movement, G30 APC group led by Sylvester Ogbokuni; Leaders and Elders Council of APC Delta central led by Sylvester Kohwo; among others.
But a founding leader of APC in the state and 2015 governorship candidate of the party, O’tega Emerhor, had described the defectors as stomach politicians who had been financially induced to declare for the PDP, noting that the APC would not miss them.
Regardless, the defectors who spoke separately at the PDP rally said they were happy in their new party, insisting that with their exit from APC, the opposition was dead in Delta.
According to Ogodo, “we have come here to collapse APC in Delta. The hand we used in building APC is the same hand we now use to scatter it today.”
On his part, Imonina who said he was the greatest critic of the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa-led administration as APC spokesman, noted that he has decided to join hands with the governor in PDP after a retrospection.
Imonina said with his exit and that of his numerous supporters, the APC has been reduced to carcass in Delta.
Also speaking on behalf of Delta north, Ben Onwuka vowed that within one month, he would harvest the remnants of APC to PDP.
Receiving the defectors, Governor Okowa assured that they would be given equal treatment with old members of the PDP.
An elated Okowa said with the rally, the PDP has made another loud statement across Nigeria that it is prepared to take over power at the centre in 2023.
“This rally today has made a statement across Nigeria that PDP is prepared to take over this nation. One good about us in the PDP is that we are one family, we are not like the other people fighting every time,” he said.
He urged all aspirants in the state for the 2023 general election to caution their followers to avoid unnecessary bickering, assuring that the primaries would be free and fair.
Also addressing the mammoth crowd, former governor of the state, James Ibori committed himself to the PDP both at the stage and federal levels, and called for support from party faithful for Okowa to finish his tenure strong in 2023.
“Democracy is about opening the environment for everyone to contest, where there is no intimidation. That is why l don’t believe his leadership will terminate at the end of his tenure,” Ibori said.
Chairman of the party in the state, Kingsley Esiso noted that with the defection of key leaders of APC, PDP has reduced the APC by 90 percent, boasting that the remaining 10 percent would be harvested in another rally in six months time.
Esiso said people were exiting the APC because of the hardship, pains, poverty, insecurity which he said the APC-led federal government has visited on Nigerians since 2015.