From Judex Okoro, Calabar
The battle for the soul of Cross River State has continued to gather momentum as about 5, 000 All Progressives Congress (APC) members have defected to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the northern senatorial zone.
The defectors include former APC wards and chapter officers, women leaders, leaders of the Hausa community in Ogoja, Yala, Bekwarra, Oabnliku and Obudu as well as candidates in the last Ogoja/Yala federal constituency and aspirants in the làst congresses.
Receiving the thousands of defectors at TTC field Igoli-Ogoja on Saturday, the Vice Chairman of PDP Northern Senatorial district, Chief Austine Edibe, commended them for their courage to join the party at this nick of time.
He enjoined them to go back to their respective wards and work for the success of PDP in 2023, adding that the wards that deliver the highest votes would be rewarded.
Also welcoming the defectors, Sen Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, advised them to be loyal to party leadership at their various wards and be steadfast, assuring them of more empowerment programmes to accommodate them.
According to him, “this is the time for the defectors to tie their belts and reject any form of inducements in readiness for the battle ahead.”
Earlier, the former Deputy Governor, Efiok Cobham, said the defectors should join the “operation vote APC out” and called on them to get their PVCs ready to bring back PDP.
Some of the defectors expressed their readiness to work for PDP, saying “we are back to our root.”
One of the defectors and a former chapter treasurer of APC Obudu, Agim Joseph Agim, said they came back to PDP because of their love for Sen Jarigbe and to be part of the success story ahead of 2023.
Also speaking, Ushie James Odey, former APC secretary Ukpah ward in Bekwarra, said: “We have worked for APC for seven years and I got nothing neither was I empowered. So, I decided to defect to PDP where I can be given human treatment.”
For John Brown Ugbada from Yala, he said: “I came over with about 300 APC members. We are returning to PDP to enable us to work for PDP and reposition Yala Local Government Area.”
According to Dominic Ebi, a former LP candidate for the last Yala/Ogoja federal constituency by-election: “I have returned to PDP because it is a family that has a reward system.”