A former Secretary to Ebonyi State Government, Professor Benard Odoh has dispelled rumours that he may have dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC for the People’s Democratic Party, PDP ahead of the 2023 elections.
Odoh who made the clarification while addressing a mammoth gathering of his supporters across the State who he hosted to a lavish Christmas Party in his Umuezeokoha country home, Ezza North Local Government Area of the State said it has become necessary to address his supporters since speculations have continued to heighten following the defection of his erstwhile boss and Governor of Ebonyi State.
In his message of felicitations in the mood of the season, Odoh encouraged his supporters and indeed, all Ebonyians to always hope for a better tomorrow maintaining that he was still actively part of the progressive’s family of the ruling APC.
“I am still part of the APC family. I have not defected to any Party. I don’t operate in the dark. If I have any reason to do otherwise, I will communicate our people as and when due. But for now, I am fully deep in APC activities. So there is no reason for our supporters and Ebonyians to panic because there’s no election at the moment”, he stated.
The former Governorship aspirant in the 2018 primaries of the APC in Ebonyi also asked his supporters never to express any worry or anxiety over what was reported as discriminatory treatments given them in the Party in Ebonyi following the defection of Governor Umahi to the Party.
Speaking during a Press interview, Odoh said despite being in the same Party with the Governor at the moment, he is not considering returning to work with the same government he disagreed with on the basis of principles.
Said he, “I don’t waiver on issues and I am consistent in my style. So, if the issues that led to my exit have not been addressed, though we are now the same Party members, as a loyal Party man, when critical decisions are important, the Party will take decisions. I’m not against any man but I am strongly against the wrong priorities of government whether in my own Party or outside it”, he emphasized, insisting that whereas he wishes the Governor well in the APC, his position that whatever policy that must be driven should be that which lifts the people from poverty and not that which escalates it.
“We should talk more about governance and development now than to focus on an election that will come in (about) three years time. I have encouraged my supporters to focus on things that will improve their lives and on governance issues that will help our people. But as for 2023, definitely I will run for an election, but then, INEC and political Parties are yet to declare activities for the election and so, it is too early in the day to begin to heat up the system”, he informed.
Reacting to impressions in certain quarters that the APC was unpopular in Ebonyi before Umahi decamped to the Party, Odoh countered that the Party has been largely successful in Ebonyi even in the last general elections where it won some electoral wards and a Federal Constituency.
According to him, “The ANPP that was key in the merger that birthed APC was very strong in Ebonyi State before APC formation in 2014. In 2011 general election, ANPP won 1 Federal constituency and 2 State Constituencies namely Ezza North & Ishielu Federal Constituency, Ezza East and Ezza West State Constituencies”. This was a unique and spectacular outing achieved only in Ebonyi out of the whole South East. We made these happen”.
He continued: “In the 2019 general elections, Ikwo LGA and Ezza South delivered One Federal Constituency position to APC. In my LGA of Ezza North, Umuezeokoha and Oshiegbe electoral wards gave President Buhari and the Senatorial candidate of APC landslide votes. Many other LGAs like Abakaliki, Izzi did very well in the Presidential and National Assembly elections. So, for anyone to misinform people that APC wasn’t strong in Ebonyi before he joined the party is an outright fallacy. As a matter of fact, majority of APC supporters were maimed and votes casted in favour of APC destroyed by PDP hostilities”, he posited.
Odoh also cautioned some political actors in the State to stop supporting and encouraging youths to go into cultism and empowering them with guns and cutlasses to maim and kill themselves instead of providing them with skills and education.
“The level of cultism and cult activities going on in our State is very disheartening. I abhor, condemn it and I urge those who are supposed to provide leadership that have encouraged their activities to stop it because it is not a good thing for our people”, he concluded.
Highlights of the party included the donation of undisclosed tokens and items to his numerous supporters present.