The All Progressives Congress has taken over the Imo State House of Assembly after Peoples Democratic Party was hit by massive defection.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo State yesterday lost eight of its lawmakers to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) after the speaker of the Imo State Assembly, Chiji Collins led the defectors on a massive move.
As it stands, the All Progressives Congress has taken over the Imo State House of Assembly.
According to a report by NewTelegraph, so far, 17 lawmakers elected on the platforms of the PDP, Action Alliance (AA) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) have defected to the APC.
Yesterday’s defection came barely two weeks after the party’s victory in the March 2019 governorship election was nullified by the Supreme Court and its candidate, Emeka Ihedioha, sacked as governor of the state.
The lawmakers who dumped the PDP for the APC alongside the speaker are Dominic Ezerioha (Oru West), Chigozie Nwaneri (Oru East), Kanayo Onyemaechi (Owerri West), Kennedy Ibeh (Obowo), Uche Ogbuagu (Ikeduru), Michael Njoku (Ihitte Uboma) and Eddy Obinna (Aboh Mbaise).
This brings the total number of APC lawmakers in the state to 18 as nine other lawmakers had, on January 21, dumped the respective platforms through which they were elected for the APC that had just one member in the state Assembly before the January 14 judgement of the Supreme Court that sacked the PDP-led government.
Yesterday’s defection of the eight lawmakers also brings to 11, members of the Assembly elected on the platform of the PDP, who have dumped the platform since Hope Uzodinma took over from Ihedioha.
Amarachi Iwuanyanwu (Nwangele), Chidiebere Ogbunikpa (Okigwe) and Okoro Hercules had, last week, dumped their party for the APC.
The development equally hands the APC, control of the 27-member state Assembly. The PDP that formerly led the Assembly now occupies the minority position with nine members, with one lawmaker of the AA, who emerged in last Saturday’s supplementary poll, yet to be sworn in.
Other lawmakers, who had earlier dumped their parties for the APC, are Arthur Egwim (Ideato North), Obinna Okwara (Nkwere), Johnson Duru (Ideato South) and Ngozi Obiefule (Isu) all of Action Alliance (AA).
Paul Emeziem (Onuimo) and Ekene Nnodumele (Orsu) of the APGA, also dumped their party for the ruling APC.
The Imo PDP had also, in a dramatic turn of events, lost its chairman, Chief Charles Ezekwem, to the APC. Ezekwem dumped the PDP for the ruling party on Monday.
Reacting to the development, the State Secretary of the PDP, Nze Ray Emeana, said there was no crisis in the PDP to necessitate the defection except for the fact that the affected lawmakers and other defectors were merely playing transactional politics devoid of any value or principle.
His words: “We were engaging most of them before they defected and they told us that Governor Hope Uzodinma offered to pay them N50 million each with additional two plots of land with a ready Certificate of Occupancy for each of the lawmakers if they defect. We do not know what was eventually given, but we know they have been meeting with Governor Uzodinma. We have also been informed that they were given N20 million, but whatever be the case, they must realize that the money belongs to Imo people.”
On whether the party has been depleted with the recent gale of defection, Emeana said PDP in Imo State is very much intact.
“On a very serious note, no substantial person has left the PDP, except the gullible few the party brought to relevance. Nevertheless, the party will be meeting on Wednesday (today) to look at the issues and take a decision. We will reorganise our party and it will be as if nothing happened,” he told New Telegraph.
Imo State chairman of the APC, Daniel Nwafor, on his part, said the massive defection to his party is good for democracy.
He said: “It is a new dawn in Imo as many, who have seen the light will naturally defect. This is also bearing in mind that the PDP put Imo in reverse gear and inflicted retrogressive policies on the state.
“From what has been happening, it is easy to see that Governor Uzodinma means well for Imo and we are duty bound to support him. So, every progressive-minded politician will not wait for too long to dump PDP for APC as Imo is back to the mainstream.”