The Peoples Democratic Party in Ebonyi State, yesterday suffered a major setback as its embattled chairman, Onyekachi Nwebonyi formally defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Nwebonyi defected alongside all members of PDP State Executive Committee, all chairmen of 13 local government chapters and 171 ward chapters at Pa Ngele Oruta Township Stadium, Abakaliki.
Announcing their resignation and subsequent defection yesterday, Nwebonyi said the decision was as a result of the undemocratic practices bedevilling the PDP.

At the stadium, the APC Caretaker Chairman in Ebonyi State, Mr. Stanley Emegha received Nwebonyi and other defectors to the fold of the APC.
He, thus, urged them to go to their various wards and register with the APC.

In a communiqué, Nwebonyi had expressed dissatisfaction at the leadership in Southeast PDP and the national secretariat on the issue of zoning of the 2023 presidential ticket
The communique said: “It is worthy of note that the national and zonal leadership of the party had intentionally excluded Ebonyi State Chapter from the Zonal Executive Committee (ZEC) that organised the recent zonal congress of the party.

“This is in total disregard to the ruling of the Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki which recognized the elected executives of the party in Ebonyi State.

“The national leadership of the party also blatantly rebuffed all efforts made by the leadership of the state chapter of the party for due process to be followed.

“We want to use this opportunity to express our dissatisfaction and
rejection of the recently held Southeast Zonal Congress and the stand of the party on zoning in respect of the 2023 presidential ticket.

“Daily Sun on March 18, 2021 reported that the 2019 Election Review Committee of the PDP rejected zoning in the 2023 presidential election and recommended open bid for the party’s presidential ticket. This is a clear violation of the existing zoning arrangement of the party.

“This stand is a sabotage of the genuine efforts and unalloyed support the people of the Southeast have given for the success of the party since 1999. It has shown that the power brokers in the party are bent on marginalizing the Southeast which is contrary to the principle of federal character.

“In the light of the foregoing, we wish to express our total rejection of the anti-democratic practices in the party and therefore resign our positions as well as our membership of the party.

“We have made genuine efforts to get things done the right way but some leaders of the party are bent on using antics and gimmicks to achieve their inordinate ambitions.”
In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Silas Onu yesterday, the PDP said Nwebonyi had since lost his membership of the PDP after his expulsion.

He noted that the resignation from the party and defection to the APC was a mere jamboree.
He called on all PDP faithfuls “to remain resolute and focused on the responsibility of reinvigorating themselves for a successful and total takeover of government come 2023.”

On its part, the state government described the defection of the former PDP executives as an indication that everyone is leaving the Party.

In a statement by the Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Mr. Uchenna Orji said: “Everybody is leaving PDP. Every governor in the Southeast is leaving PDP.

“Every leader of PDP is abandoning PDP for APC to take our pride of place in the party at the centre. What about you? Change before it’s too late,” the commissioner said in a statement.