Mariam Ali, the wife of a former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ahmadu Ali, on Thursday defected from the party to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Mrs Ali was received by the APC National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, at the party’s National Secretariat in Abuja, the ruling party said in a statement.
She was accompanied to the event by the Delta State APC Chairman, Jones Ode Erue, and party leaders including Frank Kokori, Great Ogboru, Ovie Omo-Agege and top APC stalwarts and supporters from Delta State.
Mrs. Ali had contested for the Delta North Senatorial District seat in 2007 and 2011 elections but lost.
With Mr. Oyegun at the ceremony were the party’s National Woman Leader, Ramatu Tijjani, and National Auditor, George Moghalu.
Mrs. Ali, a one time special adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan, is a politician and medical doctor from Delta State but is married to Ahmadu Ali who was the PDP boss under the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Speaking at the ceremony on Thursday, she said: “A lot of persons may wonder why I am joining the APC. The answer is simple. I want to continue to render service to my people and Nigeria at large. I believe I will be doing myself a lot of disservice if I don’t fulfill this burning desire in me.
“I know also a lot of people will wonder why I have chosen to opt for a political party different from my husband’s. Again, the answer is not far-fetched. My family is a unique family, it is a family devoid of religious and ethnic differences.
“You are all aware that Dr. Ahmadu Ali is a Muslim and I am passionate Catholic. Also, Dr. Ahmadu Ali is from North Central and I am form the South South.
“Therefore, religion and ethnicity do not play a role in our lives. It therefore suffices to say that my becoming an APC member and him being an active member of the PDP further displays the uniqueness of my family.
“We symbolise a people who want to serve a nation, a nation where oneness, love and peace reign supreme. Today marks the beginning of greater peace, love and oneness amongst all Nigerians. It is a new dawn, one nation, one destiny, one people. It is about an indivisible nation, Nigeria.”
The APC National Chairman, in his remarks, said Mrs. Ali’s entrance added value and quality to the party and its leadership, both in Delta State and at the national level.
“It is very clear from the spread, the quality of those who are here today that this is indeed a major event. l am glad that this day has come that you are joining APC because of your determination to render service to your people and the nation, which means that you have looked around, you have looked at your environment in the PDP and you have decided consciously after deep thought that the best vehicle available today on which platform you can render that service is the APC and l want to congratulate you.”
“Yes, your husband was the longest serving National chairman of the PDP. But it is my hope that what you have started would turn into a family thing.
“I welcome you especially because you are adding to the quality of membership in Delta State and also adding to the quality of leadership in the APC family in the whole nation. The quality would propel us not just to victory in Delta State, but also in Nigeria.”
Mr. Omo-Agege, the senator representing Delta Central, said the coming of Mrs. Ali with her immense grassroots support base was “a major strategic achievement for the party”.
“It is a carefully thought-out game changer in our reengineering of the grassroots machinery of the APC in Delta North and Delta State as a whole. It is clearly a practical demonstration of our firm belief that true political strength only grows when reputable, courageous and competent leaders join a Party.”
“Many may have thought this was impossible, but we have proved again today that the Delta APC will do all that is necessary to increase its gains, decimate the PDP in Delta State and win convincingly in 2019.”
“This is yet another real testimony of the increasing strength of the Delta APC and an evidence of our determination to carefully organise ourselves for landslide electoral victories in 2019.”
Great Ogboru said Mrs. Ali’s joining the APC was a paradigm shift in the political equation in Delta State.
“Your coming into this party today is a confirmation that there is a paradigm shift from the wanton years of the PDP to the glorious years ahead for the APC. For this reason we are lucky,” he said.