The All Progressives Congress in Rivers State has continued to lose more members to the PDP.
On Thursday 25th August 2022, two groups of defectors from the party visited the PDP Secretariat to renounce their membership of the party.
The first group was led by a former Commissioner in the state and former governorship aspirant on the platform of the PDP, Chief David Briggs.
Chief Briggs led the group of decampees from the APC to the PDP Secretariat where they interacted with the party chairman Ambassador Desmond Akawor. The decampees comprised mostly of prominent APC members from Kalabariland.
Also today another group of decampees this time around members of the Forth Estate of the Realm and Newspaper Publishers in the state who were members of the APC came to the PDP secretariat to denounce membership of the fold.
The decampees who are under the auspices of the Port Harcourt Press were led to the party secretariat by a chieftain of the PDP and publisher of the PH Telegraph Newspapers, Chief Hon Ogbonna Nwuke.
Also in the team that visited the PDP chairman with the decampees were Pastor Jerry Needam, publisher of the National Network Newspaper and Chief Ngor Martins Yellow, publisher of the Top News, both PDP chieftains.
Receiving the decampees, Chairman of the PDP in Rivers State Ambassador Desmond Akawor expressed gratitude to them for taking the bold step, saying that they had come at the right time.
Ambassador Akawor who told them that the PDP is a household name in the state said the party is in the DNA of every Rivers person.
He disclosed that the present administration under Nyesom Wike has achieved so much for Rivers people in terms of development even when no one gave him any chance in the state.
Ambassador Akawor said the emergence of Siminialayi Fubara as the party’s Governorship candidate was the best thing that happened to Rivers people as the PDP candidate does not have boys or belong to any group in the state.
He narrated the circumstances that led to the choice of Siminialayi Fubara as the Governorship Candidate of the PDP noting that, his choice was for purposes of fairness to the three senatorial zones of the state especially the riverine part which has not produced the governor since the advent of the present democratic dispensation in 1999.
“In the Rivers West, Dr. Peter Odili has taken it and so Rivers West should be eliminated for fairness. For the Rivers East, Sir Celestine Omehia, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and Nyesom Wike have emerged from that district, so Rivers East was also ruled out.
The focus now was on Rivers South East district which comprises of Ogoni (Khana, Gokhana, Tai and Eleme), Oyigbo, Opobo/Nkoro and Andoni.
Since all the people that have emerged from Rivers West and East were from the upland part and remember the APC has taken their governorship candidate from the riverine, we decided that our candidate must also come from the riverine part of Rivers South East Senatorial district”.
He disclosed that the issue of governorship came up on the eve of Governor Wike’s birthday when the elders of the state came to pay him a surprised birthday visit, explaining that the issue came up after the elders called on the Governor to vie for the position of president of the country.
“The elders’ forum met in the house of Chief Alabraba and agreed to go and wish our Governor happy birthday by 12 midnight. We also agreed that night that the Governor has done all he needed to do in the State and that we think he is a product we can sell to the nation.
So we drafted a letter to wish him happy birthday and included two clauses there, urging him to run for the presidency.
“When we got to his (Governor) house, it was already past 12 midnight.
We woke him up and handed the letter over to him. He read it and saw the clause where we said he should run for president.
He said you people say I should run for the presidency, let us settle home first. You people should decide who should be the governor”.
He disclosed that out of those who wanted to be governor, seven of them were at the meeting and they were told to go and choose one person from among themselves who will run for the position of governor, but they couldn’t do so.
“So what we did was that we called one of our Lawyers, former NBA Chairman, Chief OCJ Okocha to draft a form of an agreement that if at the end of the day you are not the person selected you will be willing to work with whoever will be selected, and everybody signed.
As we were getting to the primary, the governor invited the Elders’ forum and said now we have reached the peak of the problem, what do we do”
So we now asked who were the candidates that collected the forms from the riverine of South East.
They were Amaopusenibo Siminialayi Fubara and Tele Ikuru, former Deputy Governor, while the upland people were Olaka Worgu, Senator Lee Maeba, Dr Pidomson and kamalu, Comissioner for finance.
These were upland so automatically they were eliminated and of course Sim Fubara and Tele Ikuru who is the cousin to Secondus who was also eliminated. and it remained only 2 of them, Commissioner for Finance and Accountant-general. The elders then asked 2 of them to go inside and decide who should go and Sim Fubara became the choice’.
Speaking separately Hon. Ogbonna Nwuke and Chief David Briggs said they had come to introduce their brothers and colleagues who have indicated interest to leave the APC and rejoin the PDP.
Hon. Ogbonna Nwuke said as information managers, the decampees would join forces with those of them who are already in the party to provide robust platform for the PDP to disseminate information and demanded that they be provided with timely information from the party leadership.
On his part, Chief Briggs said he was bringing to the PDP, great politicians who had made the APC in the area stronger, promising that they would deploy their experience as political juggernauts towsrds strengthening the PDP.