Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The electoral fortunes of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the South-East geo-political zone has continued to diminish as the Senate Minority Leader Enyinnaya Abaribe, has dumped the party for the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA.
This is coming less than 72 hours after a leading presidential aspirant of PDP in the South-East, Peter Obi, announced his exit from the ‘Big umbrella’, citing manipulations in the party’s presidential ticket.
Hundreds of PDP members in Anambra State left the party in droves on Thursday, in solidarity with Obi.
Senator Abaribe’s defection to APGA was due to his dissatisfaction with the PDP’s handling of its primaries which he alleged were not credible.
Abaribe confirmed his defection to APGA on Friday, saying he is no longer in PDP.
In a separate letter to the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, Abaribe also confirmed his resignation as Senate Minority Leader, having resigned from the PDP.
The former Deputy Governor said he would be seeking a renewal of mandate under the platform of APGA in 2023.
Abaribe, had on Tuesday, withdrawn from the PDP governorship race, alleging lack of transparency and non conduct of three-man delegate congress.
Six other governorship aspirants of PDP also pulled out of the race before the party’s primaries on Wednesday, alleging foul play and plot by some forces to foist a preferred candidate on the party.
The leadership of APGA, had last Sunday, visited Abaribe, and begged him and other progressives to cross over to APGA.
APGA offered free senatorial ticket to Abaribe if he wanted, but the Senate Minority Leader had requested time to consult with his constituents and political associates.
Speaking with our Correspondent, Abaribe said he had made up his mind to join APGA, adding that he will be participating in the party’s senatorial primaries on Saturday.
He also said that he had resigned his membership of the PDP, and had fully registered with APGA.
With the latest development, Abaribe will be contesting his seat with Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu, who is the PDP flag bearer for the position.
When contacted, a member of APGA Board of Trustees BoT, Chief Ahamdi Nweke, confirmed that Senator Abaribe “is now fully with APGA”.
According to him: “The most-ranking Senator in Abia has joined the progressives to deliver Abia from the evil grip of the forces that have held the state down.
“He is coming with hundreds and thousands of PDP members who are aggrieved by the lack of internal democracy in the party.”
PDP Chairman, Rev. Augustine Ehiemere, had on Thursday, told Ikengaonline that the party would soon confirm whether or not Abaribe was with them.
He said that by the time what was about to unfold happens, the PDP in Abia would crumble.
More aggrieved members of the PDP in Abia are expected to leave the party in the days ahead.