The fold of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos further swelled on Friday as many members, said to be about 5,000, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defected to the party. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the new entrants joined the APC at an elaborate ceremony at the ACME Road secretariat of the party.
NAN reports that some 500 members of PDP had on July 3 also defected to APC in the state.
The new defectors, who are members of the United Niger Delta group were led into their new party by Gabriel Ese, the group’s leader.
They were received by the state chairman of the party, Tunde Balogun, along with some other party officials.
Mr Balogun said the party was excited to receive the new members, particularly as they were many.
He said the decision of the former PDP members to join the party reflected the growing confidence in the party.
Mr Balogun commended the new entrants for their decision to join what he called the progressives fold, assuring them that the party would do its best to give them a sense of belonging.
“We are happy that you have made the decision to join the Progressive train today and we assure you that we will do our best to make you feel at home.
“Even as you are just joining us, we have accepted you as part and parcel of the APC and we will not treat you differently.
“I assure you, you will not regret joining the APC; we shall work together like brothers and sisters to ensure that APC becomes greater than what it is today in the state,’’ he said.
Mr Balogun implored the defectors to show commitment and give their best in order to ensure victory in 2019.
The party chairman urged the new members to obtain their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) as it was the only means by which they could secure victory for the party.
Mr Balogun said the party had commenced the registration of new members nationwide and urged the new members to register to be fully integrated.
Mr Ese said he and other members of the group were delighted to leave the PDP to join “the progressive party’’.
He said the decision of the group to leave the PDP was because of the strides of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode in Lagos.
Mr Ese said they were also motivated by the charismatic leadership of the national leader of the party, Bola Tinubu, and the achievements of the APC at the national level.
“We would have joined the APC a long time ago, we love the party, we love Tinubu but because Dr Goodluck Jonathan was the then President and we thought we could not work against our Niger Delta brother.
“But after so much pressure both within the Niger Delta and outside the region to join the APC, seeing the wonders of Ambode in Lagos and the charisma of Tinubu, we finally decided to be here.
“We are pledging our full allegiance to the party because we have realised this is the party to be.
“We are so happy to be here and we will do our best to take the party to the next level,’’ he said.
Mr Ese said there were about 500,000 registered members of the group in the state and that they would be mobilized to obtain their PVCs, in order to vote for APC in the 2019 general elections.