Chief Emeka Atuma who represented Ikwuano/Umuahia Federal Constituency (2003-2007) on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP before moving to Social Democratic Party, SDP, ahead of the 2019 general elections on Sunday, formally defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC), along with his supporters.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Atuma who was former National Organising Secretary of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) announcing his entry into APC at a ceremony in his country home in Ntalakwu Oboro, Ikwuano Local Government Area of Abia State.
The former lawmaker said that he was “elated” to join APC to be part of the struggle to transform the state.
He said: “I am elated to join men and women of like minds, who are desirous to see Abia on the wings of development because our state is backward.
“It is not by mistake that we are here today. We are here to form a force that will bring positive change in Abia,” adding that he realised that the change could only come through APC.
Atuma paid tribute to leaders of the party in the state, especially Sen. Chris Adighije, Chief Chima Ugboajah, former Chairman of Ikwuano, and Chief Donatus Nwankpa, the state Chairman of APC, saying that they were instrumental to his joining the party.
“If they desired that I be part of the force to achieve the desired change in Abia, I have no choice than to concede to the pressure,” he said.
He said that he was further persuaded to join APC because of the anti-corruption stance of President Muhammadu Buhari and visible infrastructure development across the country.
In a speech, Ugboajah described Atuma’s defection to APC as a great feat for the local government area and Abia.
He said, “Today is a great day for Ikwuano, Abia and entire Nigeria. It is not easy for great men to leave their comfort zone to join APC.”
Ugboajah, who was the Director-General of Uche Ogah Governorship Campaign Organisation in 2019, regretted the party’s loss at the poll but assured the people that “in 2023, we shall recover what we lost.”
He said that the massive infrastructure deficit and underdevelopment of the state under the PDP administration called for all prominent Abia citizens to join the struggle to deliver the state from PDP.
“Abia is the worst state in Nigeria today. If you travel to Ebonyi (which was created five years after Abia) you will weep because of the huge infrastructure decay and insecurity in Abia.
“What is happening in Abia is not tolerable to us and it is unacceptable to us.
“Eminent sons and daughters of Abia at home and in diaspora have said that they are no longer comfortable with the situation and have resolved to come together to rebuild the state.
“It is embarrassing, PDP has failed woefully in Abia and I can assure you that in 2023, no matter what they do, we will recover the state.”
Also, the state party chairman said that the ceremony called the launch of “Operation deliver Abia,” adding that it was an opportunity for all well-meaning Abia indigenes to interface on how to make the state great.
“Abia must be free in our time and a member of the comity of developed states in the federation.
“We know that with somebody as Atuma in APC, we are going to liberate Abia,” Nwankpa said.
He said that strategic efforts were being made to bring all the remaining four states of the South-East into APC “in order to join the mainstream of the nation’s politics.”
Major highlight of the ceremony was the formal presentation of the APC registration cards and broom (APC’s symbol) to Atuma and Chinedu Kanu, who defected from the All Progressives Grand Alliance.
The event was attended by members of the APC state working committee, local government chairmen and a former state Chairman of SDP, Chief Chidi Nwosu, who returned to APC, shortly after the 2019 polls.