Defection: We’re not leaving PDP, say Abia, Ebonyi govs

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Mudiaga Affe, Ihuoma Chiedozie, Clement Nnachi and Ogbonnaya Ikokwu

Two governors on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party in the South-East geopolitical zone have denied insinuations by the All Progressives Congress that they are planning to dump their party for the ruling party.

They are governors David Umahi of Ebonyi State and Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State.

Similarly, Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, has vowed to remain in the PDP.

Cross River is in the South-South geopolitical zone.

They said they would continue to remain loyal party members of the PDP, stressing that it was laughable and unfortunate for anyone to make such insinuations.

The APC National Vice-Chairman, North Central,  Alhaji Suleiman Ahmed-Wambai, had on Thursday, while speaking in Lafia during a party stakeholders meeting, stated that in the next three days, about three governors from the South-East would join the APC.

The three states in the South-East governed by PDP governors are Abia, Ebonyi and Enugu.

But, in their separate reactions, the governors dismissed the claim.

Umahi emphasised that he had no plan to dump the PDP. He described the rumour as unfortunate, saying it was the handwork of mischief makers.

He said, “Due to my relationship with President (Muhammadu) Buhari, there were rumours that I was moving to the APC. I ask such people that my going to APC is it for what? It is not the will of God that I should join the APC. I pity people who jump from one political party to another; we are not going to do that.”

Also, the Abia State Commissioner for Information, Chief John Kalu, who spoke on behalf of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, said it was laughable to think that the governor would leave the PDP. He added that the claim was synonymous with “the lies and idol gossip associated with those running the APC.”

He said, “I do acknowledge the fact that just like former Governor Orji Kalu once said that if Governor Ikpeazu joins the APC they would give him automatic ticket, they are wishing that our performing governor is part of them. But our governor would contest the next election and win under the platform of the PDP.”

Also, Ayade, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Christian Ita, said his relationship with the President was purely on governance and not because he planned to join the APC.

He said, “There is absolutely no truth in it. It is the fertile imagination of the author of the report. The governor has a relationship with the President based on governance. There is need for us as a people to understand that governance is different from politics. Ayade is a committed PDP member.”

Meanwhile, in Enugu State, some of the close aides of the governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, contacted by one of our correspondents refused to speak on the issue. However, one of the officials close to the governor confided in our correspondent that there was no truth in reports that Ugwuanyi was dumping the PDP for APC.

The official said, “People are leaving the APC, so it is understandable that claims like this would be made to score cheap political points.”

Efforts to get the governor, the Commissioner for Information or the APC chairman in the state were not successful as they didn’t reply the text messages sent to them neither did they answer their calls.

But the state publicity secretary of the APC, Mrs. Kate Offor, said, “We are not aware that Governor Ugwuanyi is planning to join us; we don’t know anything about it.”

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