A faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Senator Ali Modu Sheriff has formally joined the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The faction was yesterday led to the APC national secretariat in Abuja by Sheriff’s former factional deputy national chairman, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, who said he was there on behalf of the former Borno State governor who was not yet back from a foreign trip.
They were received by the APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha; the party’s National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni; governors Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), and Yahaya Bello (Kogi).
The defectors who were at the APC secretariat yesterday included the Borno State PDP gubernatorial candidate, Alhaji Gambo Lawan; all factional PDP chairmen under Sheriff with the exception of those from Borno and Yobe, senators Abubakar Umar Gada, Hope Uzodinma, Teslim Folarin, Gbemi Saraki, and Alhaji Ahmed Gulak among others.
Dr Ojougboh who fielded questions from journalists, said the decision was taken after embracing the manifesto and programmes of the APC-led government.
He said that he needed to lead the defectors to enable them join the party in view of the ongoing membership registration exercise because Sheriff was not in the country.
He said that the formal reception of the defectors would be held during rallies being slated for Sokoto, Imo and Delta states as soon as Sheriff returned to the country.
Senators Uzodinma and Gada spoke on behalf of the defectors.
Sen. Uzodinma who said the visit was to officially announce the decision of the PDP faction to collapse into APC, asked for equal participation and opportunity.
Sen. Gada on his part said that they were in the APC to work with the party to move the country to the next level.
Chief Odigie-Oyegun, who welcomed them into the party, said the event was a proof that the APC was a living and vigorous party.
He assured them that they would enjoy the same status with other members, and urged them to properly register at ward level, particularly during the ongoing registration exercise.
“Fortunately, you are men and women of quality. We will start process of congresses and primaries in a couple of weeks; those of you who are ambitious and popular will be able to participate as quickly as possible,” said Odigie-Oyegun.
The SGF, who said that the narratives of what would happen in 2019 had been defined with the ceremony, voiced his belief that the defectors would bring their value into the party. Governor Ganduje, who spoke on behalf of other governors, said the occasion was historic because the party had received the most accepted faction of the PDP with weapons that could bring victory.
Earlier in a statement yesterday, the APC National Publicity Secretary, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, who reacted to the purported planned defection of Sen. Sheriff, said, “While we are aware of such intentions, we wish to restate our earlier position that anyone who wants to join the party should do so at the ward level. We are happy to welcome new members to our party, but membership cards are not issued at the Party National Secretariat.”