Thirty-four state chairmen of the Ali Modu Sheriff-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday formally defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC), in what political pundits termed a big blow to the Uche Secondus led PDP.
And the ceremony was held at the APC national secretariat in Abuja, contrary to the statement by the publicity secretary that they should join the party in their wards.
Among the former PDP big guns that joined the APC were Sen. Hope Uzodinma, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki and Sen. Teslim Folarin.
The defectors were led to the APC National Secretariat, Abuja by Dr Cairo Ojougboh where they were received by the National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
Ojougboh, who was the Deputy National Chairman of the Sheriff faction of the PDP, said the decision of the defectors to join the APC had been on for seven months.
Odigie-Oyegun, who received the defectors in company of governors of Kaduna, Kano and Kogi states and the Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF) Boss Mustapha, described the development as the first in the history of the party.
´´ This is the first time this magnitude of event is happening since the amalgamation of the party and since the APC came into being.
´´It is the first time we are receiving a total party with all the structures all over the nation fusing into the APC.
´´We have three of our Governors from three of our most potent states and the SGF to be here and to receive you all, because seeing is believing,’’ he said.
Odigie-Oyegun added that the movement of the defectors to the APC gave lie to the fact that PDP was a vigorous and leading party, adding that people did not join a losing party.
He advised the defectors to ensure that they formally register as members of the party at the ward level, assuring that they would be accorded same privileges like old members.
´´Fortunately, you are men and women of quality, attainment and achievement, and so it will be easy for you to fit into your proper place and role in APC´´ Odigie-Oyegun said.
He, however, gave the defectors the party´s Constitution to study and for them to be abreast with it.
Sen. Uzodinma, who spoke on behalf of the defectors, thanked the APC leadership for accepting them into the party.
The Senator represents Imo west in the Senate.
´´We have seen the goings on in our country.
‘’We think that as a country, it would take the very good sense of judgment and the participation of all of us to solve the problems of our people and develop our country.
´´We are here, officially, to let everyone know that we are now collapsing into APC.
‘’We ask for only one thing, the enabling environment and equal participation which you had graciously approved,´´ Uzodinma said.
He added that the coming of the defectors was deliberate, saying that it was to become part of the population of the APC and part of governance of the country.
He also said that their entrance into APC would change the narrative for the better and in the interest of their people.
Gov. Umar Ganduje of Kano state, who also spoke at the occasion, said the defection was historic because the most accepted faction of the PDP joined APC.
´´It is our luck that we are taking the better part of PDP, ´´ he said, adding with the new entrance, APC was sure of victory in 2019 general elections.
He assured that being politicians of repute, the new members were in a familiar terrain.