After years of openly flirting with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, on Tuesday formally dumped the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for the party at the centre.
The defection was announced when some members of the PDP from the South-East, led by Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu visited Obi his Onitsha home.
Others in the delegation included Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, and Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum, Chief Theodore Orji.
Governors Godswill Akpabio and Martin Elechi of Akwa Ibom and Ebonyi were also present, as well as former National Chairman of PDP, Okwesilieze Nwodo; former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara, and Senator Uche Chukwumerije.
National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, was represented by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh.
The visit, according to Metuh, followed a resolution by PDP stakeholders from the South-East to persuade him to join the party for more meaningful contribution to national affairs.
He described Obi as an important part of President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election aspiration and told him “we need you not to sabotage the aspiration of the President. We have noted your importance and the party believes that at this critical point it is imperative for you to come and join the PDP. The PDP is the only party that fosters unity, others are ethnic based.”
Citing the recent defection to the PDP by Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo, Metuh said the time was ripe for Obi to follow suit, noting that “the PDP never lost any election to any party; we always lost to Peter Obi.”
Governor Orji of Abia described Obi as a man of integrity, who came out strongly on issues and would be an asset to the country at the federal level.
“We are here today to discuss the future and progress of the South-East geo-political zone with our brother Mr. Peter Obi, who was the immediate Governor of Anambra.
“Having reviewed with him the state of the country and how it affects our people, we came to the conclusion that our interest in the country is better served when we remain together as brothers and sister under one party and speak with one voice.
“We all agreed that politics globally is dynamic and changes from time to time. In Nigeria, for example, we have moved from regional parties to regional politics, which requires our people staying together and speaking with one voice,” Orji said.
Responding, Obi said: “I most sincerely appreciate this visit by people I consider as important political leaders from the South-East.
“I thank you for your continued belief and commitment to the welfare of our people and the progress of our country.
“I have in the past worked closely with all of you and you know my belief about our zone working together. I assure you that we will continue to work even closer as a team in the interest of our people.
“Regarding your visit of today let me assure you that I heard your kind and passionate requests and that your journey would not be in vain but in the best interest of our people.”
With Obi’s long-awaited defection formalised, incumbent Governor of Anambra, Willie Obiano, who rode to power on the structures created by his predecessor, is expected to crossover to the PDP before the 2015 general elections.
Obi’s supporters in the National Assembly had two months ago, defected to the PDP, while he resigned his chairmanship of the Board of Trustees of APGA.