I joined APC to push for Igbo man to become Nigerian president – ex-PDP senator

A former Nigerian senator from Enugu State, Chukwuka Utazi, has revealed why he defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Mr Utazi, who represented Enugu North District in the 9th Senate under the PDP platform, defected to the APC during a meeting of the party leaders in Enugu on Saturday.

He resigned from the PDP in October, shortly after the 2023 general elections, explaining that “those ideals that attracted me to the party have since receded into oblivion.”

The former senator defected to the APC alongside other politicians from other political parties, including a 2023 governorship aspirant of the Labour Party (LP) in Enugu State, Dave Nnamani and a former Nigeria’s minister of Aviation, Fidelia Njeze.

The senatorial candidate of the African Democratic Congress for Enugu North District, Chuka Idoko, his All Progressives Grand Alliance counterpart for the same district, Jonathan Eze and an entrepreneur, Goddy Jinegwo, equally defected to the APC.

The chairperson of the APC in the state, Ugochukwu Agballah, received the defectors to the party, with other top leaders of the APC in attendance.

‘Why I joined the APC’
Speaking shortly after joining the APC, Mr Ukazi said he was joining the party to realise Igbo presidency ambition.

“Today is a special day in my political career. As a national politician, I want to join politics at the centre. What we are doing in Enugu cannot take Enugu anywhere. I resigned from PDP. Nothing is coming to Enugu. If you are not at the centre, you are failing,” he said.

“The only way to get Igbo presidency is to serve as a servant at the APC. I want to serve in the party. APC is the only way to join the mainstream nationally. We will ensure that (other PDP) members join the party (APC). With the party discipline, we will go far,” the former senator stated.

While receiving the defectors into the APC, the Deputy National Chairperson, South, of the party, Emma Eneukwu, said with the calibre of persons who joined the APC, the party is now in good stead to win elections in the state and pursue Igbo presidency.

“It is a new beginning for the party in 2027. We need more people (from the PDP). The South-east must take their place in Nigeria. Igbo presidency is long overdue,” he said.

Background
Before the 2023 presidential election, there had been calls from South-east leaders that the region should be allowed to produce a Nigerian president for the first time in 2023.

The hope of many residents of the South-east was dashed when the ruling APC and the main opposition PDP, the two dominant political parties in Nigeria, picked their candidates outside the region during their separate presidential primaries in May last year.

But the hope was rekindled after a former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, dumped the PDP and defected to the LP, where he later emerged as the party’s 2023 presidential candidate.

Although Mr Obi was not the only presidential candidate from the South-east, the LP candidate enjoyed swelling support across the country ahead of the general election, mainly in the South-east and South-south regions.

The LP candidate was seen as a “potent instrument” for realising the Igbo presidency ambition in 2023.

But he lost in the 2023 presidential election after coming third in the exercise with 6,101,533 votes.

Bola Tinubu of the APC was declared the winner after polling 8,794,726 votes to defeat his closest challenger, Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, who scored 6,984,520 votes.

Mr Obi and Atiku challenged the election outcome at the election courts and to the Supreme Court but lost in all the courts.


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