South-East governors have jointly decided to pitch their tent with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in order to bring more development to the region, Daily Independent has exclusively gathered.
The region currently has five states with Imo and Ebonyi states already among the states controlled by the ruling party.
While Hope Uzodimma, APC governorship candidate in the 2019 general elections became governor of Imo State through Supreme Court verdict in January 2020, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi dumped the PDP for the APC in November 2020.
Abia and Enugu are presently controlled by the PDP while Anambra belongs to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
There are reports that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State will soon dump the PDP for APC any moment from now while there are also speculations that his counterpart in Enugu State, Emeka Ugwuanyi, is also plotting to do the same.
A member of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee chaired by the governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, revealed that Ikpeazu’s delayed defection to APC is as a result of the disagreement between him and Orji Uzor Kalu, the Senate Chief Whip, who also doubles as the chairman of the APC caucus in Abia.
The disagreement between the duo is centred on who becomes the party leader of APC in Abia State if Ikpeazu eventually joins the party.
He, however, said the deal has been sealed following the peaceful truce reached between Kalu and Ikpeazu, adding that the “Abia State governor will formally be received into our party any moment from now”.
In Enugu, Daily Independent gathered that Governor Ugwuanyi who is also having a running battle with Senator Ike Ekweremadu, former Deputy Senate President, may soon be on his way out of the PDP.
He said the desire of Ekweremadu who wields considerable influence in PDP to succeed the governor in 2023 has polarised the party in the state.
In Anambra, the APC is banking on winning the November 6 governorship election in the state while Governor Willie Obiano who is seeking to have his anointed candidate succeed him is also in talks with the APC owing to the crisis that has almost crippled APGA in the state.
Speaking with Daily Independent, a member of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) from the South-East, said he won’t be surprised if the remaining governors in the region join the APC.
According to him, the PDP governors have severally complained that the party, which was in power for 16 years, has not done much to benefit the region in terms of development, hence the need for them to form a bloc in the APC so as to accrue more benefit to the South-East from the centre.
“Governor Ikpeazu is almost 80 percent out of the PDP. Ugwuanyi is also on his way out and we are patiently waiting for the direction the Anambra governorship election will take. With the crisis in APGA, I won’t be surprised if Willie Obiano declares for APC tomorrow.
“I know the South-East governors have always complained that APC has done more for them in less than six years than what PDP did in 16 years. And they have also decided to join the party in bloc so as to attract more developments to the region in all the five states”, he said.
Speaking with Daily Independent, Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP National Publicity Secretary, who said no governor in the party from the South- East has formally informed the party that he wants to join APC, however, said governors defecting from PDP to APC are being intimidated into doing so.
He said the three governors that recently left the party have issues with the Federal Government and “are being challenged internally by what they have committed themselves into.
“They moved to the other side because of the intimidation that is coming from the party in government. If you listen to all the three governors that have left the party, none of them has said that he has a problem with the leadership of the party,” he said.