Monday’s defection of a Delta State chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), and former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe, to the All Progressive Congress, (APC), has rattled the PDP and the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa-led state government, SaharaReporters has gathered.
Orubebe’s defection is coming barely five days after Okowa was picked as a running mate to the PDP’s presidential flag bearer in the forthcoming 2023 general elections, Atiku Abubakar.
Orubebe, in his letter addressed to the party’s national chairman, Senator lyorchia Ayu, stated that he took the decision because he saw that the party was not ready to regain power from the ruling APC in the 2023 general elections.
“I write to formally inform you of my resignation from the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP). This has been communicated to the Chairman of Burutu Ward 3, Burutu Local Government Area, Delta State, effective 20th June 2022. Consequently, I am by this letter intimating you of my total withdrawal from all activities at the Ward, Local, State and National levels of the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP).
“I am highly honoured and privileged to have been part of a political party that successfully transformed a pariah nation to one that commanded respect in the comity of nations. When we lost the Presidential election in 2015 in bewildered (sic) circumstances to say the least, it was my belief that the party would use the opposition period to re-strategize with the aim of taking back power at the earliest opportunity.
“However, the present situation in the party does not inspire confidence that the party is ready to regain power in 2023. Against the mood of the nation and in complete disregard to (sic) the provisions of the party’s constitution, the party, threw the zoning of the Presidency open, which created a situation that led to the emergence of a Northerner as the party’s Presidential flag bearer, thus making the two topmost positions in the party, after your emergence as the National Chairman, to be occupied by Northerners, contrary to section 7.3(c) of the party’s constitution.”, the letter read.
SaharaReporters had in February 2022 exclusively reported that Orubebe and a former Director of Finance in the defunct President Goodluck Jonathan’s Campaign Organisation, Ngozi Olejeme, secretly dumped the PDP for the APC, but Orubebe had then debunked the story when contacted.
Meanwhile, the defection of the former minister, SaharaReporters reliably gathered, has rattled and thrown off balance the PDP and Governor Okowa even as the governor made several futile efforts to reach out to Orubebe on phone and have a word with him.
SaharaReporters reliably gathered that series of meetings as of Monday took place to find a way to woo the defecting former minister and save the party from further cracks.
Okowa is still battling his rejection as the PDP’s vice presidential candidate by elder statesmen, Edwin Clark, leader of Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF; Ayo Adebanjo, leader, Afenifere; Dru Bitrus, President-General, Middle Belt Forum; and Ambassador George Obiozor, President-General, Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide.
They had accused Okowa of betraying the Southern region by accepting the VP slot.
Confiding in SaharaReporters, a political ally of Orubebe, disclosed that barely few hours that Orubebe’s letter was dropped at the party’s National Headquarters in Abuja, the Delta State governor started calling Orubebe on phone and “kept calling for a number of times.”
“I was right there with Orubebe when all the calls from Okowa were coming in and Orubebe rebuffed all the calls. As the governor’s calls were coming in, Orubebe was asking; when last it was that Governor Okowa called him and whether it was now he (Okowa) knew someone like Orubebe existed in the PDP,” the source revealed.