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Prominent Southeastern Opposition Governor Joins Ruling PDP

In Nigeria, an influential opposition governor has joined the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The governor, Chief Theodore Orji of the southeastern state of Abia, was a member of the All Progressives Grand Alliance.

Most of the defections to the PDP are for personal reasons, says Chris Ngige, a former governor of the southeastern state of Anambra and now a top official of another opposition party, the Action Congress (AC).

“What you have now is a penchant for people to go into party politics not for public service but for what they can get to line their pockets,” he says.

“So this thing you have seen is fueled by the elitist tendencies to acquire illegal wealth.” He called the PDP “a cabal of elites that have banded together with the sole aim of cannibalizing the common wealth of the nation.”

PDP chairman Okwesilieze Nwodo disputes those statements. He says the PDP is a party of patriots working to ensure growth and a better life for the people.

President Goodluck Jonathan has said he is working hard to curb corruption and improve the lives of Nigerians by providing essential service and repairing crumbling infrastructures.

AC official Chris Ngige disputes a claim by PDP officials that people are joining the party without pressure from the government.

“They (PDP) are using divide and conquer to the extent that they want to be seen to be expanding. They woo sitting governors who are in opposition parties to join them. They dangle all sorts of carrots, like they have done to Theodore Orji in Abia state; now they have offered him a second ticket.

But the opposition In Nigeria is not helping its cause by refusing to join together and work to take on the PDP, Ngige says.

“No one wants to give up a position in his minority party. Everyone wants to go try his luck and it is not helped by the proliferation of parties; we have 57 at the last count. So some opposition officials want to be kings in hell rather than be servants in heaven.”