The Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress‘ new caretaker committee has denied reports linking the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, to the defection of 27 members of the House of Assembly.
The Chronicle NG reported earlier that 27 of the 32 Rivers State lawmakers defected from the governing Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the opposition APC.
Top party members have refuted reports that Wike must have initiated the move to unseat the current state governor, Sim Fubara, just hours after the Tony Okocha-led committee welcomed the 27 new converts at its party secretariat in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
The speculation follows the recent political upheaval between Fubara and Wike, his predecessor, which has rocked the state in recent times.
In an exclusive phone interview with the press, Secretary of the APC caretaker committee, Eric Nwibani, stated that the viral report linking Wike to the defection contained no truth.
Nwibani went on to say that, while they see the defection as a positive development, the speculation linking Wike to the move was a figment of those peddling it.
He said, “That is speculation. There is no truth in it, and the people who defected are still alive and can speak for themselves. Every political party is interested in numbers. You see it reflected in the defection of the Rivers House of Assembly. I am talking about 27 of them.
“If the remaining four lawmakers can come and join us, we will be very happy. We also want members of the other political parties to join us to make Rivers State better than it is today under the PDP.
“As I said earlier, politics is a game of numbers. We are interested in as many people as possible who want to join the party. We will welcome everybody.”
Chibuike Ikenga, the acting spokesman for the Rivers APC committee, echoed the secretary’s sentiments, saying the recent development was a reflection of their efforts to rebuild the party following the dissolution of the former excos.
“It is a welcome development. We are happy that our ranks are being swollen by this movement.
“You will recall that we said our doors were open to attract more purposeful and stronger elements who would help us rebuild the party ahead of the election.
“We have consulted and engaged a lot of people. With this defection, we have just started reaping the fruits,” Ikenga said.
While receiving the lawmakers at the Rivers APC secretariat in Port Harcourt on Monday, acting State Chairman Tony Okocha promised that the party would treat them with the same respect, treatment, and dignity as every other member in the state.