LOKOJA- The three Zonal and 21 Local Government Areas Chairmen of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) have defected to the APC in Kogi, an official has disclosed.
M Onogwu Mohammed, Media Aide to Gov. Yahaya Bello, made the disclosure in a statement in Lokoja on Thursday.
He said the SDP top executives, who made their decision to join the ruling party publicly at the Government House in Lokoja, said they weighed their options and chose the continuous development of the state and wellbeing of indigenes above other considerations.
SDP’s Zonal Chairman for Kogi East, Suleiman Isah, who is the spokesperson of the defectors, had reportedly promised to ensure victory of the APC Governorship Candidate, Alh. Usman Ododo in the Nov. 11 election.
Isah criticised SDP’s campaign, reportedly based on ethnicity, which he said was detrimental to the state’s socio-cultural wellbeing, and could undermine the peace enjoyed in the past few years.
“We are happy that this is happening today. Even while we were in the opposition, we were aware that you did a lot for the state.
“The infrastructure projects are what anyone cannot deny, Your Excellency. We have all decided to join the APC to support your efforts at further developing the state.
“We will give all the necessary support to ensure victory for the APC candidate in the governorship election,” Isah said.
He acknowledged Bello’s commendable accomplishments in health, education, road infrastructure, and agriculture, among others, over the past seven years.
The zonal chairman, who could now be referred to as a former SDP chieftain, assured the governor of the commitment of all the SDP chairmen to the Kogi Agenda through the APC candidate, Ododo.
Also, the Acting Chairman of SDP for Kogi Central Senatorial District, Zubairu Ibrahim, commended the governor for infrastructure development in the state and specifically acknowledged his significant efforts at ensuring security of lives and property.
He said the people of Kogi now enjoyed improved security and peace compared to what obtained in the past, stressing that well meaning residents would not sacrifice that on the altar of politics.
Bello, while receiving the defectors, commended what he called their “courageous step”, and “willingness” to contribute to the advancement of the state.
He reiterated his strong commitment to maintaining an inclusive government that extended equal opportunities to both longstanding and new members of the APC.
Bello stressed that the timing of their movement from SDP to APC was significant, given his administration’s noteworthy achievements in Kogi, which had earned the APC widespread support.
The governor emphasised the crucial significance of fostering unity among the diverse ethnic communities within the state.
He underscored the importance of collaborative, issue-based campaigns and noted that success in any election would depend on broad support.
Bello, however, urged the people to reject divisive tactics in the interest of all. (NAN)