By SIMON EBEGBULEM
BENIN CITY- OVER ten thousand members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State including former National chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Mr Felix Akhabue, yesterday at the mega rally of the APC in the state, defected to the APC in Edo state.
Akhabue popularly known as Joefel and former political foot soldier of the former chairman Board of Trustees of the PDP, Chief Tony Anenih, said they decided to quit PDP for the APC so as to attract development in Esanland and due to the developmental strides of Governor Obaseki.
Governor Godwin Obaseki declared that the APC will have 1.2 million votes in from the state in the 2019 general elections, asserting that the chairmen and councillors of the party for the saturday Local government elections will reciprocate the developmental strides of his administration in the 18 Local Government Areas.
The immediate past governor of Edo state and leader of the party in the state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who expressed shock that ¨for the first time the PDP, which is the party of the godfathers surrendered from participating in the Saturday Local Government election without a punch¨ urged the people of the state to reject the PDP come 2019, ¨since they said Local Government election is too small for them¨.
Oshiomhole who addressed the mammoth crowd, said, ¨we are here to reinforce the power of the broom so that it can continue to sweep and sweep and the dirts across the country particularly in our state in those bad days of PDP misrule. The broom is just getting better and stronger. Ten years ago, around this time, we made a promise that the beginning of our struggle require that we eradicate godfatherism in our polity. And we say we have to dismantle the PDP rigging machine.
¨On this ground in this stadium, we launched one man one vote. On December 16, 2007, in the name of local government, PDP roll out the armed forces, they roll out the police, to ruthlessly rig local government election. We fought them but with the power of the armed forces, they stole the election in the 18 Local Government Areas.
¨And I said, in this state, in the name of God and our ancestors, I said we will work to liquidate and banish the system that oppressed our people. For me it is a thing of joy that that machine that deployed those forces on December 16, 2007, today with their leaders alive and all of us alive, that party called PDP is dead¨ he stated.
The mega rally which held at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium Benin City, was to end campaigns for the Local government Council election scheduled for this Saturday, March 3 2018. The well attended rally was attended by the National chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Deputy governor of Edo state, Comrade Philip Shaibu, Deputy Governor of Ondo state, Àlfred Agboola Ajayi, Vice chairman South South of the party, Mr Ntufam Hilliard Eta, Cairo Ojougboh, Minister of Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalong, former governor of the state, Prof.Osarhiemen Osunbor, National Auditor APC, Chief George Moghalu, former Deputy governors of Edo state, Rev.Peter Obadan and Dr Pius Odubu.
Others are Senator Francis Alimikhena, Secretary to the Edo state Government, Osarodion Ogie, Senator Ehigie Uzamere, Ehiozuwa Agbonayinma, Mathew Iduoriyekenwem, Prof.julius Ihonvbere and many others.
The state chairman of the party, Anselm Ojezua in his welcome address, explained that ¨this rally is the ground finale of our efforts in the past one month campaigning for this coming election. The crowd here today reflects our level of preparedness and mobilization and we are going to bury the PDP this Saturday. But I have told the remaining members of the PDP that since their leaders have abandoned them in the high sea, we are ready to accommodate them. We are receiving over ten thousand PDP members today and by 2019 there will be no PDP anymore in Edo state¨.
Chief Oyegun who received the decampees, reminded them that ¨APC is not a lazy party or party for cowards. I congratulate Obaseki for his silent works in the state and Comrade Oshiomhole for laying the foundation for development that we are enjoying today. APC is a party passionate about the destiny of our nation and we are going to move this nation forward come 2019 and beyond¨.
Governor Obaseki in his address, asserted that ¨with the crowd today at this stadium, we have told our President that Edo is APC and nothing more. We are going to give APC 1.2million votes come 2019. I want to also assure you that the chairmen and councillors we have, will reciprocate what we are doing today at the state level in their wards and councils. We have shown our numerical strength in Edo and APC will continue to deliver the dividends of democracy across the state¨.