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Defection: Our fortunes in South-East intact –PDP

Despite the defection of Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, from the party to the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said its fortunes in the South-East are intact. Also, governors elected on the platform of the party said they are working for the unity, stability and strengthening of the party.

PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, who addressed the 90th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party yesterday, said PDP will not succumb to blackmail of injustice against the zone raised by Umahi, which he described as provocative.

Secondus said he had assurances of party leaders in Ebonyi State that the state remains a PDP state. Former President of the Senate, Anyim Pius Anyim and former governor of the state, Senator Sam Egwu, were among PDP leaders present at the NEC meeting.

Thirteen out of 15 PDP governors also attended the meeting, while two were represented by their deputies. Secondus told the NEC meeting that none of the eight National Assembly members from Ebonyi State is following Umahi to APC, while Anyim assured him that prominent members in the state are not going with the governor. “We have refused to join issues with him in any way,but we cannot bow to any blackmail.

“What I can report to NEC is that the strength of our party in Ebonyi State and South-East is intact and the NWC has taken necessary steps to protect and guard it,” he added. Secondus said President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC government is helpless and incapable of providing the needed leadership for the country. According to him, “before the COVID-19 lockdown, our country was already going through some socio-political and economic challenges, all arising from the poor governance delivery by the ruling APC.

“The security problem of the country has refused to abate, instead, it has multiplied with no clear solution in sight. “A number of times, both in NEC and other platforms, PDP has had cause to cry out that the APC administration was doing nothing to improve the lives of the people; that the youth unemployment situation in the country was growing at an alarming rate. “We had also expressed deep concern at the growing human rights abuses in the system, all due to the glaring indifference of the APC administration.

“The consequences of all these came to the fore when the youth, last month, poured out their anger on the country through a nationwide protest. “Even though the protest was triggered off by accumulated police brutality, particularly by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), it developed into a wider rebellion against injustice and poor leadership in the country.” He alleged that the COVID- 19 outbreak was a huge window of corruption by Federal Government operatives, adding that this led to looting of suspected warehouses by youths in search of palliatives.

Secondus regretted the causalities recorded during the #EndSARS protest “including the Tuesday 20th October night shooting of protesting youths at Lekki toll gate.” He believed this would have been averted if government was responsive, noting that it took President Buhari almost two weeks to address the nation on the issue.

He called on the Federal Government to address the fundamental issues raised by the youth during the protest, describing the hounding and intimidation of perceived leaders of the protesters as counterproductive.

Secondus said Nigeria is in a very bad shape, adding that government was heaping so much pains on the already impoverished citizens. “This country is sliding into bankruptcy, but the government is instead embarking on endless borrowing with no accountability on the already borrowed ones.

“Federal Government themselves just reported last week that 428 agencies would not be able to pay salaries this November because of underfunding,” he noted. He called on NEC members to join other voices in charging the APC-led Federal Government to end borrowing, account for borrowed funds, stop persecution of #EndSARS protesters and to say no to censoring of social media. “At the last count, Nigeria’s debt profile is showing over N31 trillion, a lot of the debt misappropriated.

“While borrowing in economics is not bad, it depends on what the borrowed resources are being channelled into. “With the unprecedented corruption in the system under APC watch, it would be difficult to see the borrowed funds properly deployed.

“Amidst the frightening insecurity in the country accompanied by mass killings that has set fears in the people, what you get from government is multiple tariffs of electricity, VAT, fuel hike and more, with its operatives indulging in lies and propaganda,” Secondus regretted. Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, said all the 15 PDP governors are working together in the interest of the party.

“We are individually committed to good governance, providing leadership in our respective states, continue to make our party proud, to continue to make our electorate proud and we are repositioning our party for the future with the last drop of our blood. “We remain committed party members and we shall continue to work with the National Working Committee and the BoT for our party to continue to grow in strength and wax stronger and stronger,” Tambuwal stated. Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, commended the NWC for taking a proactive action that strengthened the party, especially in Ebonyi State after Governor Umahi’s defection. Abaribe, who assured that PDP National Assembly caucus is very strong and intact, said the social media bill before the National Assembly will be defeated.

“We are also going to ensure that in the Electoral Act that we are tampering with now, we will be putting all the safeguards and ensure that our vote will always count. “We also want to use this opportunity to appeal to the national party that as we work towards the 2023 elections, party discipline will be most important to us. “Our members need to always be sure that they can depend on the national party for protection in and wherever they are,” he further demanded. Only governors of Enugu and Zamfara states were represented by their deputies at the meeting.

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