A former governor of Edo State, Oserheimen Osunbor, on Wednesday said he decided to defect from the Peoples Democratic Party to All Progressives Congress because the former does not have the interest of the people at heart.
Osunbor, a professor of law, was governor of the state on the platform of the PDP between 2007 and 2008 before he was sacked from office by the Edo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which declared his election invalid based on several irregularities.
He approached the Appeal Court in Benin, which upheld the election tribunal’s ruling that incumbent, Adams Oshiomhole, was the validly elected governor of the state.
Speaking at a rally where he formally decamped to the APC, the former governor said: “sometimes in February 2012, I reflected on my journey in politics and realized that the people in my party at that time (PDP) did not have the interest of the people of Edo State in mind and that was why during that election I cast my vote in favour of the re-election of the Comrade Governor (Oshiomhole).
“I told all my supporters across Edo State to give their votes to him and what did we see – 18 over 18.
“I did that because I was convinced that the Comrade Governor has the interest of the ordinary people at heart but the people in my former party, the PDP, didn’t have the interest of the common man at heart”.
Mr. Osunbor, who was a senator from 1999-2007, also said when local government election were held in the state, he supported the then ACN and had been doing so ever since.
He said he voted for the All Progressives Congress in the March 28 presidential election and that upon reflection, he realized that his friends were in the party.
“Why should I be in exile while my friends are in APC? So I decided to come home from political exile to realign with the Comrade Governor and APC in Edo State”, the former governor said.
“The government at the Federal is APC and the government at the state is APC, what will you benefit if you vote for PDP?”
Apart from Mr. Osunbor, other politicians that dumped the PDP for the APC in Edo State included Emma Arigbe-Osula, a former deputy minority whip of the House of Representatives and a factional President of the Edo State Drivers Welfare Association, Adams Ehigiamusoe.
The duo led their supporters to the APC.
Mr. Arigbe-Osula said “the fact that I am coming out today to openly say I am joining the APC is a mere formality because your superior position in the upliftment of this state more than any one has done in recent history has earned you the total support of all Edo people.
“We can say today that you (Oshiomhole) have done a true transformation in the real sense of it, not just transformation in words. Edo State was left totally shattered after 8 years of PDP maladministration. In fact, you are a miracle worker”.
While receiving Prof. Osunbor into the APC, Mr. Oshiomhole said, “Today for me is historic for several reasons. This is the first formal public display of the bond of unity, friendship and comradeship between Prof. Osunbor and Comrade Oshiomhole.
“I am sure you all know that I took over from Prof. Osunbor under very hostile condition and today it is to his credit, his large heart and my own purity of heart that whereas governors who smoothly change power today are at war against each other in many parts of Nigeria, in Edo State, the immediate past and the present are bonded together by the broom in a common commitment to work and sustain positive changes in our state and indeed in our great country”.
The governor thanked his predecessor “for his courage for putting the bigger issue before the smaller one and like you said demonstrating publicly what you have always done with us privately”.
He added, “For me, it is a fulfilment of a long dream. Like he said, Prof. has shown a large heart. For many people, once you have a little quarrel they never forgive and politicians are worse for that and like he recalled, before my second re-election, Prof. Osunbor was there for me not secretly, he told everybody to vote for me and he made a statement that will be recorded in our history.
“There are many who will say, ‘I will never forgive him’ but that is not Prof. For me, your coming has not just completely healed wounds, it has strengthened us and it will make a very important mark in the heart of many of our young people who should learn the spirit of forgiveness, the spirit of downplaying personal issues and supporting the bigger question”.