Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja and Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki.
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) has said it will intensify efforts to reconcile differences among its members across the country, even as it said the only thing it feels for Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi is pity over his defection to the APC.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, who stated this at an interaction with journalists, in Abuja, yesterday, said this was part of resolutions reached at the 90th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the opposition party, on Thursday.
Ologbondiyan said the NEC also resolved to retool the party’s manifestos, noting that both moves are part of efforts to make the PDP more formidable in the 2023 general elections.
He stated that contrary to the claims of the Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, none of the governors elected on its platform is considering joining the All Progressives Congress (APC). The Kogi governor, in the wake of Umahi’s defection, had said that about ten governors elected on the platform of the PDP are negotiating their entrance into the APC.
However, Ologbondiyan said there is nothing attractive in the APC to make the opposition governors contemplate joining the party. He added that it is fortunate that because the present administration is allegedly not performing, leaders of the APC are seeking to distract the citizens with talks of 2023 contests, more than two years to the next general elections.
According to him, “If anybody tells you that 10 governors will leave PDP who would believe such nonsense. What’s the attraction in APC? At the fullness of time the reason for Umahi’s defection will be made known to every Nigerian. “If you watch his defection yesterday, the only thing you will have for Umahi is pity; because he was empty. Look at the people around him. If he was fighting because of the South East, how come the people around him are APC members from a particular part of our country?
“How come you cannot find Ohanaeze people? How come you cannot find the egalitarian and educated-minded people of the South East standing with him on the podium? We are not going to engage him on whether he has left the party or not. He has crossed the bridge and burned that particular bridge and there is no coming back for him. What we have for him in PDP is just pity.”
He stated that the party has resolved to challenge the decision of some members of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly to defect to the APC, alongside the governor, and still retain their seats.
“I want to place on record that any legislator elected on the platform of PDP in Ebonyi state will not run away with our mandate. I want to assure Nigerians on that. We are going to challenge it. And for the first time, we are going to subject that process to judicial test, because it is clearly stated in the constitution that unless there is a division within the party, you cannot be a member of parliament and change parties,” the PDP spokesman said
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ebonyi state while reacting to the PDP statement said it was the opposition party that will regret losing Umahi. Caretaker Chairman of the party in the state and Commissioner for Internal Security and Border Peace, Stanley Okoro- Emegah, said that the governor’s defection to APC was a divine arrangement to position Ebonyi and the South East for greater development.
He asserted that Governor Umahi will never regret joining the APC because according to him, the govenor joined the progressive party on divine direction.
He said “they don’t have the capacity to speak for Ebonyi people. And Ebonyi people have spoken. From the day the governor made the move to APC was the day the entire Ebonyi turned to APC. And they should know that the governor’s target is no longer Ebonyi but the entire South East. And knowing who he is ,there is nothing he has embarked upon that he doesn’t come back successfully. He will never regret joining APC. It is the PDP that will regret losing him. Now that he is in the mainstream, he is going to attract more projects for Ebonyi state and the South East. There will be nothing to regret”