By Peter Okutu
ABAKALIKI—AHEAD of April 11 governorship election in Ebonyi State, 16 executive members of Labour Party, LP, in the state yesterday defected to Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, following the crisis rocking the party.
Addressing journalists at the PDP secretariat in Abakaliki on behalf of other defectors, the state Financial Secretary of the party, Prince Augustine Nwankwo, who complained bitterly about the programmes and policies of LP, alleged that its activities had been hijacked by some forces in the state government.
He said they decided to defect to PDP because of the embezzlement of over N10 million belonging to the party by some politicians in the state, adding that the executives of the party had been relegated to the background in the affairs of the party.
He said: “On behalf of other state executives of labour party, LP, Ebonyi State chapter, we hereby formally defect to Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, with effect from today (yesterday).
“The reasons for our defection are too numerous, but permit me to mention few of them: there is internal crisis rocking the state chapter of LP executives, which was a fall- out of the unmitigated fraud and embezzlement of over N10 million belonging to the party by some people.
“There is also the high-handedness being exhibited by the state Chairman of LP in alliance with his hired fingerlings.
“We wish to contribute our quota in electing Engr. Dave Umahi on Saturday April 11 governorship poll as the next governor of the state.”
Prince Nwankwo lamented that LP was founded on a fraudulent plank and called on the people of the state to ignore the purported sentiment that LP would engender development, adding that the leaders in the party had no credibility to effect a change in the development of the state.
“We sincerely call on Ebonyi people to vote massively for PDP at the forthcoming polls to ensure greater development, equity, fairness, peace and nurturing of our nascent democracy.”
Receiving the defectors, Acting Chairman of PDP in the state, Chief Joseph Onwe, directed all ward chairmen of PDP to issue membership cards to the defectors, stressing that the party was ready to accept more members of opposition political parties in the state.