Several politicians on Wednesday decamped from the All Progressive Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Delta State Government has said.
The exact number of defectors is unknown but Delta State officials said they were up to 5000.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the PDP in the state, Kingsley Esiso, while receiving the defectors, said the PDP would have a smooth sail to victory in the 2019 general elections.
The decampees, who were from different local government areas that made up Delta Central Senatorial District peopled largely by the Urhobos, were received at a mega political rally held at the Ughelli Township Stadium, Ughelli North local government area of the state.
Notable politicians, including Morrison Ideh, Edward Ofomona, Ochuko Johnson, Reuben Oteri, and Samuel Umunedi, were among those who led their followers to join the PDP.
According to Governor Okowa, “It is a thing of joy that those who we described as big fish in the opposition have come to join us in the PDP.”
“With these persons that have joined us today, it is a smooth victory for PDP in 2019,” the governor continued, adding, “we are with God, we are with the people, we are not deceiving people, we tell our people the truth, we are working with our people.
“For the 2019 elections, we will hold on to our units and wards, we will not allow anybody to intimidate us, we will win the next election clearly with the massive support we have.”
Governor Okowa commended the defectors, saying with the work his administration was doing in the state, those remaining in opposition political parties would join the PDP before the 2019 general elections.
The Chairman of the PDP, Mr. Esiso, said, “Governor Okowa is working, we believe in the principle of rotation of the governorship seat, Governor Okowa will complete his eight years, we cannot be intimidated.
“Nigerians are tired of APC government, they are tired of hunger, we must have a President of PDP extraction in Aso Rock in 2019, today is to tell the world that the people of Delta Central are fully in support of Governor Okowa in 2019,” he said, emphasising, “we cannot follow a political rascal that will come to us every four years to deceive us, we will never accept those who will go to Abuja to disgrace us.”
Messrs Ideh, Ofomona, Johnson, Oteri, and Umunedi, in their separate speeches, disclosed that they were attracted to the PDP by the leadership style of Governor Okowa’s administration, especially in the delivery of democratic dividends across the state.
They said their movement to the PDP signaled the death of opposition political parties in the state.
They also pleaded with Deltans to rally round Governor Okowa to give him 100 per cent votes in the 2019 governorship election, in appreciation of good his leadership.