Scores of members of the All Progressives Congress, APC in the Edo North senatorial district of Edo State, including many political heavyweights, have dumped the party for the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
They were received into the party on Friday by the state deputy governor, Philip Shaibu on behalf of his principal, Governor Godwin Obaseki.
Prominent among the defectors were the serving senator representing the north senatorial district, Francis Alimikhena, Lucky James, one-time Etsako West local government council chairman, and a former commissioner in the immediate past Adams Oshiomhole administration, as well as many other leaders.
The defectors said they left the APC as a result of the injustice against Alimikhena, who was seeking a third term in the Senate, but was upstaged by Oshiomhole.
Receiving the new members, many of them returnees to the party, Shaibu said he was elated to reunite with the people with whom he had shared political journey in the past.
The deputy governor said the defection was the beginning of a movement that would swing victory in favour of the PDP in Edo North in particular, and the state as a whole in the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
“You have come to join us. We know the quality of decampees that are here and I believe that together, we can change the change and give our people a better representation.
“2023 will be a different political year for Nigerians as nobody can rig our votes any longer. We are wiser now; they did it before, but can’t do it again as we fought against them during the last gubernatorial election in Edo State. “What Oshiomhole did to Obaseki is what he has done to Senator Francis Alimikhena in Edo North; but God that fought for Obaseki will fight for you. He did not only disqualify you, but wants to use himself to replace you. With Alimikhena, we move forward; but with Oshiomhole, we move backward.
“You’re welcome to the PDP. Together, we will change the face of Edo North and the state in general.This is definitely a reunion to rescue the country. While I am very excited today, the aspect that gladdens my heart most is the invitation to Edo North to witness a tsunami of defection that will coast PDP to victory at all levels of government come 2023”, a visibly ecstatic Shaibu stated
Further knocking Oshiomhole, Shaibu said it was sad that some political party leaders were contesting elective positions rather than grooming and mentoring new generation of leaders.
He opined that “Leaders don’t contest elections, but today, it appears to be a different ball game. When there is trouble facing the party, who will settle it? There are no more leaders in Edo North because leaders are now contesting for political positions..”.
One of the high profile defectors, Lucky James, stated that “We have here leaders from Etsako West, East, Central, Owan West, and Akoko-Edo local government areas. We represent 64 wards of Edo North.
Representatives of the defectors from the six local government areas that make up the district, said they wished to join Alimikhena in the PDP due to his unmatched achievements.
“We are coming from a place full of lies, bad leadership, anti-party activities, and discrimination, among others; but today, we have joined the PDP to move Edo State forward.”
The new comers boasted that their entrance into the party signified an end to the APC, and resounding victories in subsequent elections in the area.
Welcoming them, Edo PDP chairman, Tony Aziegbemi, said, “This is the beginning of the fall of APC in Edo North; and with you joining the PDP, the party will get more votes to return our senator, Francis Alemikhena to the red chamber”