A former Deputy Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River, Mrs Hellen Boco, has defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Boco, who deputised Usani Usani, a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs in the 2019 general elections, disclosed this at an interactive session with newsmen in Calabar on Saturday.
She hinged the reason for her defection to non-inclusiveness in the party affairs, even as a legacy member of the party in the state.
Boco noted that with her defection, she, alongside her supporters, had liberated themselves from the cabal that had conducted affairs of the party as their private business.
She said, “I was a foundational and legacy member of the APC right from 2014. We joined others to build APC across the 18 local government areas of the state steadfastly and with dedication with our small resources.
“There is no joy in the APC, people at the grassroots are not smiling, the legacy members are not happy, those of us that built the APC are nowhere.
“We are not appreciated, recognised, they want to retire us.
“We have been deceived, mortgaged, there is so much deceit and there is no truth in anything that has to do with the APC
“This is not the principles at which we built the APC, so many foundational members are not appreciated, the voice of the voiceless at the grassroots has been ignored.
“So, I am here to let the world and Nigeria know that I am not a member of APC anymore, I have resigned and I am now a member of PDP in Ward 9 and I am happy to be a member of a new political party.”
Boco posited that her defection would enable her and her supporters to canvass support for the PDP Presidential and Governorship candidates in Cross River.
She said that the state government has ignored people at the grassroots, and described appointments by the administration as “rubbish,”.
Boco alleged that the state governor and his party had not done well and that power must change hands, saying, “we don’t have to pretend about it.
“How many of us are happy with the present situation we are faced with, how much do you buy fuel today, power must change hands,” she submitted,” she said.
She commended the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar for appreciating the work she has been doing at the grassroots and appointing her into his Independent Campaign Council.
“So at this point in time I have been recognised by His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar to join his campaign team.
“He constituted an independent campaign council and I have accepted his appointment, I am ready, the grassroots are ready to work massively in his support for the 2023 elections.
I think, for once, a grassrooter has been heard, this appointment is not just for them but for those that have been denied, ignored, oppressed after all their sacrifices.
“That appreciation alone from another party of the sacrifices that has been made in the grassroots is worth smiling.
“If somebody out there can recognised that the grassroots need to be heard, that’s enough joy and happiness” she said.
Meanwhile, the State chapter of the APC in its reaction to the development wished Boco well in her new party.
The party, however, denied that she was forced out of the party due to Ill-treatment.
Mr Erasmus Ekpang, the State Publicity Secretary of the APC while reacting to Boco’s defection, alleged that she had been fighting the party since she lost out in the contest to be the national woman leader of the party.
“There was no ill-treatment melted on her but rather, she has been the one fighting the party since she lost out to Ebetta Edu as the national.woman leader of the APC, Ekpang said.