Barring any last minute change, at least five lawmakers from Imo State who are current members of the Eight House of Representatives, may soon dump the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
As part of last minute moves to finalize the defection, about four, out of the five, on Sunday, met with the Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha in Owerri, the state capital.
Those who attended the meeting were Hon. Raphael Nnanna Igbokwe, who doubles as the chairman of Imo State Caucus in the House of Representatives. It was gathered that he led other members of his party to the meeting with Governor Okorocha.
Others are Hon. Goodluck Opiah; Hon. Obinna Onwubuariri; and Hon. Jerry Alagboso. The other unnamed member who did not attend the meeting, it was gathered, had other official engagements outside the state. “But he has indicated interest to ditch the PDP,” a source familiar with the development said.
Of the eight PDP members from Imo State currently in House, three have however vowed to remain with a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, who is the defacto leader of the party in the state.
“Hon. Igbokwe led other members of PDP to the meeting. The plan has been on for a while and I am certain that there is no going back for them. You can take my word to the bank.
“The meeting speaks volume. As of now, seven out of ten members are working with the governor. The other three members are still with Emeka Ihedioha. We cannot force them and we wish them well.
“Whenever there are major events in the state, they invite us and we attend. That speaks volumes and it also conveys a strong political message,” a member who was at the meeting, told Ripples Nigeria.
It was gathered that Hon. Igbokwe has been at the forefront of those spearheading the planned defection. Igbokwe who hails from Mbaise area of the state, alongside Ihedioha, is particularly bent on dumping the PDP over his alleged frustration by the former Deputy Speaker.
The PDP members are also relying on the current crisis rocking the PDP to defect to APC, ahead of 2019 general elections.
Speaking on the issue, Hon. Igbokwe, told Ripples Nigeria that there is nothing wrong with defection. Although he did not confirm or deny the claims, he however maintained that since the PDP was in disarray, it was safe for anyone to ditch the party.
He said: “There is nothing wrong with defection if it becomes necessary. When you are in a house divided against itself or cannot protect you, there may be nothing wrong if you move into another house that can give you protection.
“Lawmakers from the state have decided to look at the interest of the state and not that of political parties. We need to work with the government in the state in order to attract infrastructure to the state. What is critical for us is the development of the state.
“No governor has given attention to members of the National Assembly like Governor Okorocha. We can also attest to the level of development in the state. There is massive development going on in the state.
“Every politics is local. If it becomes expedient, there is nothing wrong if a politician defects to another party that serves his or her interest. Imo state is a peculiar case. A certain man who contested election and lost is now openly boasting that he will frustrate us. He is talking as if he is God.
“Yakubu Dogara was formerly in the PDP, today, he is the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Bukola Saraki was governor for eight years on the platform of PDP. Today, he is the Senate President on the platform of APC.”
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