A former candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance for the November 6 Anambra Governorship Election, Chukwuma Umeoji, has defected to the All Progressives Congress, a week to the poll.
Umeoji, who is the current member of the House of Representatives representing Aguata Federal Constituency in Anambra State, was recently sacked by a Court decision after his name had been listed by the Independent National Electoral Commission as APGA’s candidate.
The court then ordered INEC to replace Umeoji with Professor Charles Soludo, a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, as the validly elected candidate of APGA for next Saturday’s governorship election.
Umeoji defected to the APC along with two House of Assembly members and thousands of party supporters.
This is contained in a statement on Saturday by the factional APGA National Publicity Secretary, Ikechukwu Chukwunyere, made available to our correspondent, in Abuja.
It was titled, ‘Umeoji, two state lawmakers dumps APGA for APC, declares Support for Andy Uba.’
The Caretaker Committee Chairman of the APC, Governor Mai Mala Buni, the statement added, had received Umeoji with excitement.
It explained that Buni described Umeoji as the game-changer for the election and declared that with the development, APC would win the election.
Part of the statement read, “With this development, APGA has lost its simple majority in the House of Assembly and has become a minority party in the state while APC has become the majority party in the State House of Assembly.
“This is clearly not the best of times for the All Progressives Grand Alliance as the November 6 Anambra State governorship election draws nearer.
“The gale of defection that has so far hit the ruling party in the state in the build-up to the election is clearly an indication that APGA has lost its political grip on the state and hence may lose the forthcoming election.
“The latest defection that hit APGA like a thunderbolt is that of the party’s former governorship candidate in the election who is also a top-ranking legislator representing Aguata (Anambra) Federal Constituency, Hon. Chukwuma Umeoji.
“APGA’s loss in the person of Hon. Umeoji is a political gain for the All Progressives Congress.
“The highly elated Yobe State Governor and Chairman APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Mai Mala Buni, personally received Umeoji to the party on Friday and promised him equal opportunities with other leading members of the ruling party.
“Buni told Umeoji that APC will stand for you and your supporters, and protect your political interests at all times.
“You will enjoy every privilege enjoyed by every member of the party.
“Last-minute efforts made by the Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, and the party’s governorship candidate, Charles Soludo, to stop Umeoji from leaving the party failed.
“Umeoji’s defection is not the only one unsettling APGA in Anambra State. The party has also lost its majority position in the state House of Assembly with two other state lawmakers dumping the party.
“The defection of the Njikoka and Awka South lawmakers, coming after the recent mass defection of APGA lawmakers, had made the party lose its leadership role in the state legislature.
“This is also after the state Deputy Governor, Nkem Okeke, has defected from APGA to APC.
“All signs are already pointing to the fact that APGA has lost out in the state and the forthcoming election may be the last straw that will break the camel’s back.”