From Judex Okoro, Calabar
Former Cross River deputy governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Helen Boco Effiom, Esq, has defected to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), promising to join hands with other supporters to produce the country’s next president.
She was a running mate to the former Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Dr Usani Uguru Usani, in the 2019 governorship election and contested for the position of APC national women leader in the last party national convention held in Abuja and lost to Dr Beta Edu.
Announcing her defection to the PDP in an interactive session with journalists in Calabar on Saturday, she said one of the reasons for quitting is to enable her to liberate herself alongside other grassroots supporters who had been working for the APC.
Decrying the maltreatment of foundational or legacy members of the APC by the present leadership of the party, Helen said: “There is no joy in the party. I am pitching a tent with the opposition party and will campaign for Atiku Abubakar wholeheartedly.
“I was a legacy member of the APC right from 2014. We joined others to build APC across the 18 local government areas of the state steadfastly and with dedication with our small resources.
“There is no joy in the APC, people at the grassroots are not smiling, the legacy members are not happy, and those of us that built the APC are nowhere. We are not appreciated or recognised, rather they want to retire us.
“We have been deceived, mortgaged, there is so much deceit and there is no truth in anything that has to do with the APC. This is not the principle on which we built the APC.
“The voice of the voiceless at the grassroots has been ignored.
This is not the principle on which we built the APC.
“So I am here to let the world and Nigeria know that I am not a member of APC anymore. I have resigned and I am happy to be a member of a new political party”, she stated.
Explaining further, she said: “The leadership of the APC administration led by Governor Ben Ayade has not done well and there is no need to pretend about it and insisted that power must change hands.
“I commend the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, for appreciating the work I have been doing at the grassroots and appointing me as Deputy Director of the Independent Campaign Council.
“With this appointment, I am ready, the grassroots are ready to work massively in his support for the 2023 elections. I can tell you Atiku is on a mission to rescue the country.”
Reacting, the APC state publicity secretary, Mr Erasmus Ekpang, wished Helen Boco well in her new party but denied that the legacy members were maltreated.
He also said she was not forced out of the party due to Ill-treatment.