A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member of the House of Representatives from Akwa Ibom State, Hon Emmanuel Ukoette, on Wednesday, defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In a letter to the Speaker, Hon Yakubu Dogara, notifying the House of his defection, which was read at the plenary, the lawmaker said he was leaving the PDP because of “irreconcilable” differences in the party which has led to its factionalisation.
The PDP is currently broken into two factions led by National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, and chairman of the party’s National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi.
Ukoete, who represents Ukanafun/Oruk Anam Federal Constituency, said the other reason for his defection was “the string of legal battles”, trailing the leadership crisis in the PDP, which might end in “fiasco”.
Immediately the speaker finished reading the letter, APC members present at yesterday’s plenary swarm round Ukoete to welcome in into their fold, with chants of “APC, Change!”
As the APC members celebrated the new entrant into their caucus, the minority leader, Leo Ogor (PDP, Delta) raised a point of order.
While recognising Ogor, the Speaker, jocularly told the minority leader to specify which of the PDP faction, he belongs to before speaking.
Speaking on the defection of the former PDP member, Ogor said it was not true that the opposition party is factionalised.
Ogor said the defection of Ukoete would be challenged in court, so that the latter can go back for a fresh election and see if he could win an election on his new platform.
The minority leader added that “democracy is not about jumping ship”.
After the Ogor’s speech, shouts of “PDP, Power to the People!” by the opposition party legislators, rented the air.
Speaking on the defection, the majority leader, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila (APC, Lagos) admonished Ogor to accept the lose with equanimity.
“I understand the feeling of the minority leader. But I believe that he should accept the lose and more to come,” he said.