The ruling All progressive Congress (APC) has admitted their shock at the decision of the Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom to defect to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Ortom had hinted at his departure from the party last week, saying he had been given a red card but he was quickly pacified by the APC chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.
Ortom met with Oshiomhole and other parties leaders in Abuja, suggesting after the meeting that he was no longer planning to move.
However, the governor formally announced his defection to PDP on Wednesday.
Ortom made the declaration during the meeting with local government chairmen and their councillors at the new banquet hall of the Government House, Makurdi.
Thirteen local government chairmen and 276 councillors were in attendance.
Ortom said that despite the intervention of the national leadership of the APC, the “state chapter of the party has continued to launch attack on me.”
“This morning, I had wanted to go to Abuja to attend the meeting but some youths in the state refused, they asked me to go back.
“But let me formally inform this gathering that I have forwarded my resignation letter from the APC to the chairman of my council ward and he has promised to join me in the new party,” Ortom declared.
Immediately he announced his resignation from the APC, the governor displayed his resignation letter to the people.
“As I talk to you, 10 out of 17 state lawmakers of the APC are ready to follow me to the new party. May I formally announce to you that I have formally moved to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,” Ortom declared.
Earlier, the 13 council chairmen and leaders of the legislative council in attendance promised to follow the governor to the PDP to ensure his re-election aspiration.
Reacting to the Benue governor’s defection, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said the party was surprised because efforts were being made by the national leadership of the ruling party to ensure that Ortom did not dump the party.
Abdullahi said. “The party recalls efforts made by the National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, to address some of the grievances raised by the Benue State governor pertaining to the local politics in Benue State.
“The governor had left the meeting saying he was satisfied with the assurances given by party leaders. We are still working on giving effect to the resolutions from the meeting. Therefore, we are somewhat surprised by Governor Ortom’s decision.
“The party reiterates its earlier position that it respects the rights of every citizen to choose their political affiliation but expresses hope that those who have left the party will rescind their decisions.