It was a boost for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Imo State ahead of the November 11 governorship election, recently, when the party’s leadership at the state and national levels received defectors from the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other political parties.
Top on the list of the defectors were Hon Bede Eke (Aboh Mbaise/ Ngor Okpala Federal Constituen- cy), Hon Henry Nwawuba (Mbait- oli/ Ikeduru Federal Constituency) and Hon Ikenna Elezianya (Owerri Federal Constituency), all PDP chieftains and federal lawmakers from Imo East Senatorial District.
Others were Hon. Bruno Ukoha from Ezinihitte/Ahiazu Federal Constituency; PDP Apex Leader in Ngor Okpala, Hon. Emma Nwogu and Pastor Frank Onwumere from Okigwe. On hand to receive the defec- tors into APC’s fold were Governor Hope Uzodimma; his deputy, Prof. Placid Njoku; APC National Vice Chairman (South East), Dr. Ijeomah Arodiogbu; Imo APC chairman, Dr. MacDonald Ebere; Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Chief Cosmas Iwu, the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Nnamdi Anyaehie and members of the state executive council.
Also, leaders of the APC in Owerri zone like Prince Lemmy Akakem, Prince Charles Amadi, Chief Henry Njoku, Chief Malcolm Nlemigbo and Chief Justus Ogu, among others were on ground to witness the event. In unison, the defectors, with their supporters, who took every available space at the Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu Square, Owerri, to be formally received into the APC and were handed the broom, which is the party’s symbol, endorsed the second term bid of Governor Hope Uzodimma.
They also pledged to work for his reelection. The governor, in his response, said: “My heart is full of joy. First, I will start by giving God glory. He set aside today for a reunion of men of good conscience from Imo State, those who understand the need for a united Imo State and a new Imo State, a state where everybody must be his brother’s keeper, a state where people must support a winning team to continue to play the match. I want to thank the Al- mighty God for that.
“I am particularly very happy that prominent leaders of our state, representing the political class have decided to give peace a chance, have bought into the idea that Imo State must be united and Imo must develop and there must be an economy in the state. I want to thank them, particularly those of them with national name rec- ognition; those who have been at the National Assembly speaking for and on behalf of our people.”
Uzodimma assured the defectors of equal opportunity in the APC, saying they will not regret their decision to join the party. His words: “I am very happy that we have bought into the acronym that charity begins at home. My promise is that there are no new members of APC and there are no old members of APC. I want to assure you that you will not regret your decision because there is nothing to fight for.
“For some of us, we are praying but sometimes we don’t even know when God has answered our prayers. I am indeed very happy that these great brothers of ours’ and sisters have seen the new dynamics of national politics. They have seen the new dynamics of the global economy. It is only when we are united and on the same page that we will be able to attract good development into our state. If we are not united, we will be divided but if we are united we will not be divided as united we stand.
“One assurance I will give you is that power belongs to God. The power we are holding; God gave to us to hold and only God can remove it. Human beings cannot. So, come together, I can- not do it alone, nobody can do it alone. Today the only economy that has global acceptance is the digital economy. Communication and technology have taken over the world. We must buy into the new world order.
“The new world order is about development and prosperity. If the stomach is empty the body is angry, if the stomach is filled up, the body is relaxed. We must create prosperity together. We must cre- ate prosperity for our people, our children must go to good schools, there must be food for our people to eat, there must be good hospitals, and there must be good schools for people to go to.
“We must love ourselves, we must reduce anger in the land, and we must discourage those who want to get power at all costs, knowing that power belongs to God. We must continue to develop Imo State. The only state we can call our own is Imo. We must be united and understand the need to move our people from where they are at the moment to the next level. “It is not about being a governor, it is about coming to sit over the commonwealth; over the money of the people and using the money for the people. I challenge anybody here in Imo State or outside Imo State who will accuse Hope Uzodimma of having taken Imo people’s money. I challenge any accountant, any cashier that Hope Uzodimma has asked for money that has no official ledger.
“So, I am not here to exploit my people. I am here to develop my people. I thank my brothers, they have come to add value, they have not come to reduce value. I know every one of them based on their credentials, they are people with impeccable credentials, they have something to offer and I can tell you that I know how to use the value they are coming to add.” Earlier, the deputy governor, Prof. Njoku, had described the gathering as a carnival, saying that “the people are happy because they have a performing, passionate, loving and listening governor.” He thanked the defectors for the decision they had taken, saying that “the decision is ordained by God.” In congratulating them, Prof Njoku urged them to join hands to build Imo State. Welcoming the defectors, the Imo APC chairman, Ebere, said the new members came to endorse the governor for a second tenure and that the gathering was symbolic and memorable. “By the performance of the governor, he has surpassed the expec- tations of his admirers and sur- prised his detractors,” Ebere said.
He assured the defectors of equal attention and opportunity in the activities of the party, say- ing: “There will be no segregation, marginalization or dichotomy.” In his brief remarks, the APC South East zonal chairman, Arodi- ogbu thanked the defectors for “taking a wise and deliberate decision to join and help develop Imo State, their constituencies and communities as well as help build the APC in Imo State and Nigeria at large.” He specifically thanked Gover- nor Uzodimma for his contributions to the growth and strengthening of APC in Imo State, South East and Nigeria through his giant strides and achievements.
The key defectors, who took turns to speak, commended the governor for his giant strides. Hon. Ekeh told the mammoth crowd that the PDP in Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala has collapsed into APC, describing APC as “in- deed a progressive party with a pro- gressive governor” and expressed his support and endorsement of the governor for another term of four years.
Hon. Nwawuba, on his part, said: “Governor Uzodimma is a man of focus,” adding that “Mba/Ike has decided to return him with very large number of votes in the November 11 election.” Hon. Elezieanya said: “I am happy to be in the midst of the Progressives and Progressive Party.” He expressed happiness with the level of infrastructural development that the governor has given to Imo people and Owerri zone in particular, saying that he and his supporters are joining APC to add value and support the governor to actualise his second term bid. Pastor Onwumere, a former Chairman of Okigwe Local Government Area and former head of Imo Security Network during the Rochas Okorocha administration thanked Governor Uzodimma for the quality roads he gave to the people of Okigwe.
He reminded the governor that he and his team are always avail- able and ready to work whenever he desires.