Over 1000 members of the Peoples Democratic Party in Igueben Local Government Area of Edo State, including a former Local Government Transition Committee Chairman, Tom Adodo, on Thursday defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress.
They also declared support for the APC administration of Adams Oshiomhole.
Igueben is hometown of PDP chieftain, Tom Ikimi, a former foreign affairs minister, who until last year was a senior member of the APC.
Addressing Mr. Oshiomhole and other members of the APC at the Government House, Mr. Adodo said, “Today, many of us that are here are from Ward 1 to 10 in Igueben Local Government. We are here to pledge and affirm our support to the Comrade-Governor because it is only a foolish man that will not see the developmental strides of the governor in Edo State in the past six years.
“For so many years, PDP administration brought decay to our infrastructures, we have seen decay even in our moral lives and for the six years and three months of the Comrade Governor, we have seen transformation in Edo State and so we are here to pledge our loyalty to the government that have done so much for the people of Edo State.”
He assured the governor of their total support and to repeat the 2012 election success in all the local government areas in the state.
Also speaking, a former youth leader, PDP Ward 6, Otoide Precious, thanked the governor for his good work in the state.
“I will like to thank you Mr. Governor for the good work you have been doing for Edo State, we have been missing out. I am not here to criticize or to advertise but am here to tell you the major truth but I believe that in time to come, you will be the President of this great country,” Mr. Precious said.
“When I entered Benin City, I was amazed at the way things have turned around. What PDP could not do in 16 years, just one man, one government has come to turn things around.
“Is this not enough for us to leave PDP and join APC? Is this not enough reason for us to know that APC is the light of the country? We believe that the APC Presidential candidate will be better than the present President. That is why we mobilize ourselves to tell the world that there is need to dump PDP and join forces with the APC.
On his part, another defector, who simply described himself as Mr. Aligbe said, “It is in this administration of Comrade Oshiomhole that Igueben people have been enjoying good roads, infrastructural development and every school now wear red roofs. From Igueben to Udo which used to be 1hr driving now is now 20minutes and several okther on-going projects.
“PDP leaders have been pressurizing us to stay in the party that good things will soon start happening. I have waited for long yet no change so today, I and my followers from Ward 3 have decided to tear the umbrella and join APC.”
Receiving the defectors, Mr. Oshiomhole expressed delight at the development. He said he was overwhelmed with joy seeing the crowd of supporters
He said, “Just like the last speaker expressed surprise at the Igueben-Ugoneki road which connects Igueben Local Government with Uhumwode Local Government, you can see the way our state is connected from one local government area to another and with that road it has become shorter to get to Igueben. Many roads connecting Igueben have been fixed and there are more roads to be done.
“This is why we need to continue on the race because we are yet to arrive at the destination. The journey continues.”
While reaffirming one of the defectors position said, the governor said,“Today in everywhere in Edo including Igueben there is darkness. Do we have light? If there is no light, do you want darkness to continue?
As you tune on your radio and you hear that there is bomb blast here and there, killing everywhere, soldiers arresting people and insecurity everywhere, do you want these to continue? In 1999 before PDP took over power, was there anything called Boko Haram? Kidnapping?
“There is corruption everywhere. One man having several private jets yet has no business address, no instruments of work apart from the pen using in siphoning public funds. You do not work, you steal and that is corruption.”
Mr. Oshimhole recounted that the last time he travelled to Igueben, he told the people that the Federal Government supplied kerosene to them at N50 but that at the various filling stations, the product was being sold for more than N150, “which means when a poor woman buy kerosene for 150naira, PDP defrauds her of N100.”
He said in 1999 when PDP took over power, one dollar was equivalent to N70 but that currently the naira had been devalued to the extent that one dollar was now equivalent to N230.
According to him, the implication of this was that prices of goods had skyrocketed because PDP had devalued the naira.
Mr. Oshiomhole said “In Esanland, it is on their paper in Federal Ministry of Water Resources that they have given Esan people water to the tune of 2.3billion naira. Is there water in Esanland? In Igueben, if not for the State Government effort in providing boreholes, even the PDP leader there had no water but PDP say Esan People have water. Do you want to continue with these kind of lies?
The governor also stated that the APC government would change the nation from darkness to light, insecurity to security, corruption to transparency and accountability.
He alleged that everything evil that was unheard of before 1999 had now become the order of the day, asking, “Should we not change? Should we continue to pay electricity fixed charges bills when there is no light?”
Stating that change was imperative, Mr. Oshomhole said, “March 28th and April 11th, there is no fight at all. When they are preparing for fight, we are preparing for votes. If our brother cannot protect us and a foreigner can do it, what else do we need? Is it not the one who can protect that we will go for?
“Nigerians go to Dubai because it is a place where things work. When you enter Dubai, does the leader care whether you are a Christian or Muslim? Since they couldn’t provide the basic infrastructures, they must leave.”
The governor said he wondered why some religious leaders under the guise of religious sentiments preaching the gospel of divide and rule. According to him, what should matter to the average Nigerian is who has the capacity to restore the integrity and dignity of the Nigeria nation.
“When Kidnappers wants to kidnap, do they ask who is a Christian or Muslim? In Igueben, when there is hunger, does it matter whether you are a Christian or a Muslim? The road you drove on today, Ugoneki road, did it ask you if you are a Christian or a Muslim? So this matter is not about religion, it is not about tribalism. Anyone who has the capacity to put food on your table is your father and he who kills you is your enemy.
Mr. Oshiomhole asked the defectors to be careful shine, collect their Permanent Voters Card and vote wisely in the elections, insisting that on the APC could effect the needed change.
He also urged them to vote for the APC presidential candidates and other candidates of the party in all the elections.
When PREMIUM TIMES contacted Mr. Ikimi on the defection of the PDP members in his town, he said he was not aware of the development.
“I don’t know anything about that. I am in Abuja, “ the former foreign affairs minister told this newspaper in a telephone interview.