Barely one week to the March 28 presidential election, Rivers State Deputy Governor, Mr. Tele Ikuru, on Sunday announced his resignation as member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He also called on his supporters to vote for President Goodluck Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate in the state, Chief Nyesom Wike, in the coming elections.
Ikuru, in a statement titled: ‘A Call on the Conscience of the People of Rivers State’ issued in Port Harcourt, described the APC as “a party of rebels, insurgents and anarchists, clothed in robes of pretence and deceit”.
He said he could no longer continue to mortgage his conscience as he had come to see the true nature of the APC.
His words: Today, I address you out of the fullness of my heart. Recall that in December 2013, out of extreme loyalty to my boss and friend, I joined the All Progressives Congress (APC) along with other then disillusioned Rivers People.
“Ever since, as the true nature and motives of APC are unveiled, I have continued to twist and turn in extreme mental and emotional agony. The more I struggle to belong, the more the Rivers man in me rejects the APC. After carefully studying, interacting and analysing the leadership of the party, I have come to the sad conclusion that the APC is a party of rebels, insurgents and anarchists, clothed in robes of pretence and deceit. APC is a party founded on deception and it thrives on unholy propaganda and falsehood.
“I therefore, on behalf of my teeming supporters and my humble self, denounce the APC and we all jointly and severally resign our membership of the APC.”
Ikuru noted that in the past 48 years, people of the Niger Delta had been supporting leaders from other parts of the country with their votes and resources, and wondered why people of the same region would be the ones to persecute their own.
“My dear people of Rivers State, we of this generation will not in good conscience expect forgiveness and compassion from our forebears, posterity, and the spirit of our unborn generations if it is recorded in the annals of history that after 48 years of Rivers people supporting leaders from all other parts of this country with our votes and resources, we were the same that witch-hunted and hounded down the very first ever president from this region, granted us by providence. I wash my hands off this treachery,” he said.
He concluded: “In the light of the above, I wish to urge all my supporters, the good people of Rivers State to join hands with other well-meaning Nigerians to massively vote for President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR) and the transformation agenda that has brought so much relief and succour to the greatest number of Nigerians.
“I also urge all Rivers People to vote for Chief Nyesom Wike (CON), who has shown by his antecedents, track records and boundless capabilities that he will deliver good governance to the people of Rivers State.”
He was however silent on if he would be joining the PDP.
But in his reaction, Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, has described as shocking the reasons advanced by his Deputy, Ikuru, for leaving the APC.
A statement issued by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, yesterday said although Amaechi had not been formally informed of Ikuru’s defection, he wished him well in his decision.
The statement said: “Whilst the news remains unofficial at this time, as the Deputy Governor is yet to notify His Excellency the Governor of his move, Governor Amaechi however wishes Mr Ikuru all the best in his future political endeavours.
“He however wishes to note that the reasons adduced by Ikuru are shocking (because) as Deputy Governor, lkuru has consistently been the one driving political activities in his local government area of Andoni. He has also been the second in command driving politics and governance in Rivers State.
“On a personal note, Governor Amaechi has accorded Mr Ikuru all the privileges and respect due the office of the Deputy Governor and has treated him with love as a friend and brother.
“Though the Governor had hoped that the numerous rumours of Ikuru’s double-faced membership of the APC and open romance with the PDP were not true, he however appreciates the fact that every individual has a right to pursue his political dreams, as he deems most appropriate.
“It is however regrettable that Mr Ikuru has chosen the dishonourable path of bare faced lies and name calling rather than the more honourable path of simply retracing his steps to where he has always been.”
In its own reaction, the state chapter of APC said it was not surprised at Ikuru’s defection as the party had always seen him as a mole.
The state Chairman of APC, Dr. Davis Ikanya, said: “Yes, Ikuru is deputy governor of Rivers State but from inception, we in APC never believed that he was in APC.
“After Amaechi declared for APC with other governors, it took quite a while before Ikuru could identify with APC.”
On the effect of Ikuru’s defection, “There is no effect at all. Such an unstable character in politics cannot have supporters,” he said.
He noted that Ikuru is the first cousin to the Deputy National Chairman of PDP, Uche Secondus, and that there was no way Ikuru could confront Secondus at the polls.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organisation (PDPPCO) has called on other leaders of the APC to emulate Ikuru by defecting to the PDP.
Director of Media and Publicity of PDPPCO, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, said in a statement yesterday in Abuja that the PDP was happy to receive Ikuru back into its family.
According to Fani-Kayode, “We are glad to hear about the return of the deputy governor of Rivers State, Tele Ikuru, to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) family. This was a deeply courageous step and we welcome him with open arms.
“We encourage other key leaders of the APC to abandon the ranks of the doomed party and to join the PDP. We urge them to see the light and retrace their steps in the same way that the deputy governor of Rivers State has done.
“The defection of the deputy governor at this critical time represents a deep and grievous spiritual wound on the APC. They are falling apart at the seams and they are crumbling. We agree with the deputy governor that the APC are a party of rebels and anarchists and they are a party of deceit.”
In a related development, the Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, disclosed yesterday that following his nation wide consultations and discussions in the last couple of weeks, some governors and their deputies on the platform of the APC would in the next few days return to the PDP.
Secondus, who noted that towards the last days of campaigns the APC would totally crumble, however stressed that with the defection of the Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Ikuru, to the PDP, it was a clear indication that President Jonathan has the vision to take Nigeria to the next level which the presidential candidate of APC does not have.