By Festus Ahon
ASABA—Members of the Modu Sheriff-led faction of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Delta State have defected to All Progressives Congress, APC.
It was gathered the cross-carpeting followed the dumping of PDP by its erstwhile National Vice Chairman, South-South and Deputy Chairman of the Sheriff group, Dr. Cairo Ojougbo.
Speaking at Agbor, where the defection ceremony held, Ojougboh said they were suffocated out of PDP, adding that after the Supreme Court judgment that affirmed the Ahmed Markafi national leadership, members of the Sheriff faction were sidelined.
According to him, “we asked the national body to open up the party after the unfortunate court judgment. The next thing we heard was that they were going to grant us amnesty as if we were criminals.
“When Raymond Dokpesi was nominated as member of the committee for the non-elective convention, his nomination was rejected because they said they spent money on the court judgment.
“As if that was not enough, during the Anambra State governorship primary election, Jerry Gana was made chairman of a three-man committee to midwife a transparent election, but Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State and Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State rejected it and came up with another committee that went to Anambra and handed everything to Peter Obi.
“Back here in Delta, we asked the state governor to remove impunity, but what we continued to see was not what we wanted to associate ourselves with.
“We now said it was time to look for people of like minds, people of progressive ideology, to meet because I know most of you have ambitions to pursue. If we do not make a decision to belong to the progressives, most of you will miss out.”
Also speaking at the ceremony, former factional chairman of PDP in the state, Mr. Austin Ogbaburhon, told APC chieftains at the event that the Sheriff faction was a beautiful bride.
He added that they had rejected offers from other political parties and enjoined APC to negotiate well.
Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, National Vice Chairman of APC, Mr. Hilliard Eta, Chairman of the party in the state, Jones Erue, O’Tega Emerhor, Chief Hyacinth Enuha and host of other APC chieftains were on ground to welcome Ojougboh and his teaming supporters to APC.
Chairman of APC in the South-South region, Mr. Eta, said the new members have further brightened the party’s chances to wrestle power from PDP in the state in 2019.
Eta said: “For us at the National Working Committee of APC, Delta is a low-hanging fruit for us to pluck, but the coming of Ojougboh and his teeming supporters has made the fruit even lower for us.
“We welcome you into the party and urge you to go to your units and wards to register. Registration is free and you will add value to APC.”
Highpoint of the ceremony was the symbolic dumping of PDP membership cards into a waste basket and the lowering of PDP banner, signalling their rejection of the umbrella party.
Meanwhile, the member representing Ika South Constituency in the Delta State House of Assembly, Mr. Festus Okoh, has said the defection of Ojougboh to APC was not the best option for him, insisting that Delta is a PDP state.