The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, John Odigie-Oyegun, at a ceremony in Jos on Wednesday, formally received former governor of Plateau State, Joshua Dariye; a former deputy governor of the state, Ignatius Longjan; and a reported crowd of 343,190 members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state into the APC.
While Mr. Dariye, who was governor of the state between 1999 and 2007, had announced his defection into the APC since September, the decision of the others to change camp was made public only recently.
Mr. Dariye was last year elected to the Senate on the platform of the PDP.
Other prominent politicians among the defectors were a former minister, Jethro Akum; 2015 governorship aspirant, Jimmy Cheto; serving deputy speaker of the state assembly, Yusuf Garga; 2011 governorship aspirant, Pam Dung Gyang; former state PDP chairman, Maichibi Vwarji; and former Jos North local government council chairman, Daladi Atu.
Receiving the defectors, Mr. Oyegun assured them of full membership status as party faithful.
“The rescue mission of Governor Simon Lalong has just begun rescuing Plateau people into the APC”, Mr. Oyegun said at the ceremony.
Speaking on the economic recession, the APC national chairman appealed to Nigerians to endure the situation, stating that economic hardship will be history by the end of 2017.
“By this time next year, you will start having cause to smile and thank President Buhari for the good works he is doing. President Buhari does not talk much, but he is an action man.”
In his remarks at the ceremony, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, described the move of the former PDP stalwarts into APC as a homecoming.
“For me, these personalities who just joined us in the APC only returned home, and we will embrace them in warm reception,” Mr. Dogara said.
He also pleaded with Nigerians to bear the current economic hardship, stressing that the President Buhari-led APC administration has the capacity to resolve the economic crisis.
Mr. Dogara said the 2017 Budget at the national level will end the hardship of Nigerians.
In his address, Governor Lalong said with the arrival of the PDP stalwarts in his party, political opposition had ended in Plateau State.
The ceremony was attended by the north-central zonal chairman of the APC, Zakari Idde; Plateau State Deputy Governor, Sonni Tyoden; and state APC chairman, Letep Dabang.