Yemi Adedeji, Abuja
Hope Uzodinma, The Governor of Imo State, has said that aside from the rumoured and purported defection of Dave Umahi, Governor of Ebonyi State, from the Peoples Democratic party to the All Progressives Congress (APC), more governors will still defect to the ruling party.
Umahi had last Tuesday told a delegation of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) led by the National Chairman, Uche Secondus, that he had made up his mind to leave the PDP.
The Ebonyi governor is however not leaving the party alone as it is believed to he has been making overtures to his Abia State counterpart, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, to go with him to the APC.
Umahi was reported to have hinged his planned defection to the agreement with the APC that the presidential candidate of the party would be zoned to the South-east.
He also claimed that the PDP had been unfair to the South-east since 1999, as it has deliberately refused to zone the presidential ticket of the party to the zone.
But, Uzodinma, while addressing journalists yesterday at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja after he had a private audience with the Caretaker Chairman, Mai Mala Buni and some members of the committee, said the South-east needs to be part of the ruling party.
Uzodinma stated: “If you recall when I addressed you here a couple of months ago, I told you that the moment I resume Office in Imo State as the Governor, that the impression and the perception of our party in South East will change and the resultant effect will be that more credible individuals and Governors will even join the party.
“Today, I am being vindicated because we are hearing it and I’m sure a few hours from now we get a confirmation that one of our best will be joining the party and is the Governor of Ebonyi State. Of course, I will be very glad and it will be my joy to welcome a Governor and more Governors, not only him, we are still talking more Governors to join. APC is the ruling party and for the interest of national integration and cohesion, Imo and South-East indeed needs to become part and parcel of the ruling party to make the Nigerian project a complete project.”
Uzodinma also revealed that his visit to the national secretariat of the party was to be able to touch base with the party’s preparedness for the upcoming Imo-North Senatorial by-election.
A Federal High Court sitting in Owerri had recently ruled that Senator Ifeanyi Ararume and not Frank Ibezim or Lady Uchenna Uba, was the rightful candidate qualified to represent APC in the forthcoming by-election rescheduled for December 5.
Recall that the seat of Imo North Senatorial district became vacant following the sudden death of Senator Benjamin Emeka Uwajumogu at his residence in Abuja last December.
Uzodinma added that the APC is prepared for the election adding that the ruling party is the party to beat in Imo State.
Reacting to the recent court judgement, he stated, “The most important thing is APC to win the election. The party has an internal mechanism of confirming who the candidate is. The Supreme Court has said it, the Electoral Act has said it. Every party has the right and it is only the party that sponsors a candidate. Of course, we have our candidate, there are some few legal issues going on. I don’t want to go into that now because the matter is pending in court is subjudice but at the end of the day we have a candidate.”