The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State and the senator representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District in the upper chamber of the National Assembly, Magnus Abe, have disagreed over the recent defection of two out of three Rivers senators to the All Progressives Congress, APC.
While Rivers PDP said the defection will not affect its fortunes in the state, Senator Ake described the party’s reaction as pretentious and contradictory to the realities on ground.
Abe, who is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), alongside his colleague representing Rivers West, Senator Wilson Ake, defected from the PDP to the APC.
But the state PDP, in a statement signed by the Special Adviser on Media to its State Chairman, Mr. Jerry Needam, explained that rather than having a negative impact on it, the lawmakers’ defection would strengthen the party.
“Rather than having any negative impact on the PDP, the defection of Senators Magnus Ngei Abe of Rivers South-East and Wilson Ake of Rivers West Senatorial District further strengthens the party as they (the defecting Senators and their allies) have been a thorn in our flesh.
“The PDP therefore welcomes the exit of the senators. For about two years now, the senators (Abe and Ake) have been flirting with the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, which merged with other opposition parties to form the APC.
“As a party, we are saying the defection of Senator Abe and Senator Ake makes no meaning and it’s not a shocker to us. We should rather celebrate their exit because they were bad eggs in the party and their continued stay among us will do us more harm than good”, the state PDP said.
But in his reaction, Abe described the state PDP statement as the ranting of a weeping child, claiming that his exit from the PDP was a ‘big minus’ to the party.
Insisting that the PDP was dead in Rivers State, Abe, who spoke through his Media Adviser, Mr. Honour Sirawo, likened the PDP’s reaction to his defection as an unnecessary display of bravado.
Abe, who was last month purportedly shot by the police with rubber bullets during an aborted Save Rivers Movement, SRM, rally in Port Harcourt, punctured the state PDP’s argument further, saying if the party at the national level was already worried about the defection of senators, PDP’s reaction at the state level was of no significance.
He said, “The Rivers PDP is not correct. The senator representing Rivers South-East has clout and credibility. He has numerous followers and is always the desire of any political party.
“Any political party that loses Senator Abe needs to do a lot of work to attain at least 20 per cent of the value the lawmaker has added to the system.
“If the national level of the PDP is worried (about senators’ defection), whatever the Rivers State PDP thinks about it is of no significance. If the Senate is worried that senators are moving to the APC, why would the state PDP not worry?”