By Ben Agande
The national chairman of the Progressive Peoples Alliance, EngrÂ Larry Esin,Â is unperturbedÂ byÂ the defection of GovernorÂ Theodore Orji of Abia StateÂ fromÂ the PPA to the All Progressive Grand Alliance. He says the governorâ€™s exit is a non-issue and will not in any wayÂ affect the fortunes of the party in the state.
In anÂ interview with Sunday VanguardÂ in Abuja, Esin said the defection ofÂ the governor to the APGA has further endeared the people of the state to PPA andÂ the party would benefit positively.
â€œAbia is a PPA state. The people of Abia are solidly behind the PPA and in aÂ free and fair election, it will be difficult for any party to beat PPA in Abia Stateâ€ he said, adding thatÂ the defection of the governor,Â thoughÂ â€˜disappointingâ€™,Â has gone to confirm the rumour that had been makingÂ the rounds that the governor was indeed on his way out of the party.
He pointed out that the queries raised by the National Working Committee of the party to the governor which the governor used as anÂ excuse to dump the party â€œwasÂ in no way antagonistic but to react to genuine fears of the teeming supportersÂ of the party.â€
â€œThe PPA boss went on: What we did was to react to the complaints of the electorate and by doing thatÂ we reassured them that we did not abandon the cause of the people. Look at Lagos State for instance, Governor FasholaÂ had had to deal with such similar situationÂ but he has not left the party. He has honoured his social contracts with theÂ people.Â The Orji that I know is a man of honour. I think he has been misled by some groupsÂ of people to leave the house that he helped to buildâ€.
Asked whether the party would challenge the defection in court,Â Esin saidÂ though some people are of the opinion that the action should be challenged inÂ court, the party would not likely do that in the interest of the people of theÂ state.
â€œWe are at all times considering the plight of PPA in Abia. If we do thatÂ (challenge the defection in court), the people will suffer. We are few monthsÂ away from elections. We will maintain the status quo. We donâ€™t want the peopleÂ of Abia State to have more troublesâ€, he add