The Senate minority leader and former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, has said that about 20 senators of the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, are planning to defect to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Mr. Akpabio said all the senators were waiting for was for the PDP, which lost power at the centre to the APC in 2015, to resolve its internal crisis.
The PDP has been factionalised since its national convention in Port Harcourt last year.
One faction is led by a former Borno State governor, Ali Sheriff, while the other is led by a former governor of Kaduna State, Ahmed Makarfi.
Mr. Akpabio spoke Thursday in Abuja at the party’s National Executive Committee, NEC, and expanded caucus meeting of the Ahmed Makarfi faction.
Some senators including Nelson Effiong representing Akwa Ibom south recently left the PDP for APC citing the division in the party.
Mr. Akpabio said just as some were leaving the PDP, many more were planning to join the party.
“As I speak, so many senators from the opposing party are eager to join the PDP. All they want is a return of peace to the party, once that is done, I can assure that 20 senators are on their way to joining the PDP,” he said.
The former governor advised others thinking of leaving the PDP to rethink and also said those who left the PDP will regret it because according to him “PDP is bouncing back to victory in 2019”.
Mr. Akpabio warned PDP members that now is the time to tackle the crisis within the party otherwise, they risk losing the forthcoming governorship election in Ekiti state.
South East defectors, looking for contracts
Speaking earlier, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said that the gale of defections from in the South East will not affect the PDP.
He said those leaving for the APC have no electoral value and were only after jobs and government contracts.
A former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, former governor of old Anambra state, Jim Nwobodo, and former Abia governor, Orji Kalu, defected to the APC recently.
Mr. Ekweremadu said it was unfortunate that some persons were taking advantage of the ongoing APC membership registration in the southeast zone, “to further their business interests”.
“My response is that my brothers and sisters from the South-east who are defecting know the electoral value of each and every one of us.
“We should allow them get the contract and employment they are looking for. At the appropriate time, we will know who is who in the South-east. There is nothing to worry about, we are completely in control,” he said.
Also, the recently elected chairman of the PDP governors forum, Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti, described the defectors simply as “food is ready” politicians.
He said he would not be silenced and would continue to criticise the APC administration.
“Unfortunately, people don’t learn from yesterday, the same people who promised change but could not deliver is the same place that some people are decamping to. It’s like they want to tell us that hunger is better than plenty and that fasting is better than eating all the time.
“Anything that is built on deception cannot stand, that is why you see them crumbling today. Nigerians are tired of the story of corruption, especially when those who claimed to be fighting corruption are running and chasing people who stole squirrel whereas on their part, they are stealing cows and elephants. They spent millions to cut grasses,” he said.