Former minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, has joined the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), seven years after he attempted to scuttle the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari, as Nigerian leader.
LEADERSHIP learnt that Buhari is set to receive Orubebe into the ruling party in the next few days. Orubebe had in apparent loyalty to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and President Goodluck Jonathan, on March 31st, 2015, disrupted proceedings at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) collation centre in Abuja.
He acted to forestall the admission of election results from the states favourable to the emergence of Buhari as president-elect. Orubebe, was appointed a substantive minister on April 6, 2010, when Jonathan constituted his new cabinet as the acting president.
As a polling agent to Jonathan at the collation centre, he accused then INEC’s chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, of taking sides with the main opposition at that time, APC. But he later apologised to the nation over his conduct, adding that he regretted the action.
However, in a fresh twist, Orubebe on Monday dumped the PDP as a prelude to his formal defection to the ruling party. It was learnt that Orubebe’s defection was perfected by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and Delta State chairman of APC, Engineer Omeni Sobotie.
LEADERSHIP gathered that an elated Omo-Agege had last week, told Buhari that he had successfully persuaded Orubebe, who was said to be angered by the emergence of a Nigerian of northern extraction, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, as the presidential candidate of the main opposition party, to join the ruling party.
Omo-Agege and Sobotie were said to be on the neck of Orubebe to join APC. LEADERSHIP gathered that Orubebe eventually carved in to the request. It was learnt that Buhari was excited by the development and expressed readiness to personally receive the former minister into the party.
Further investigation revealed that the national chairman of APC , Senator Abdullahi Adamu and Omo-Agege, were billed to usher Orubebe into the Presidential Villa to meet with Buhari within the next few days, as part of the process of his formal admittance into the party.
Orubebe allegedly opted for APC because the party acted in line with his conviction that power should shift to the southern part of the country after 8-year reign of a northerner.
He had acted in line with the leaders of the Niger Delta, PANDEF, Middle-Belt and South East (Ohanaeze Ndigbo) who had also rejected the emergence of Atiku as the presidential candidate. The southern leaders, in tandem with Orubebe, maintained that power must shift to southern Nigeria.
Findings showed that Orubebe was convinced to pitch tent with APC because the ruling party picked its presidential standard bearer from the Southern part of the country. The former minister was said to have expressed readiness to spare no effort to work towards the victory of APC’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu. Orubebe said the mood of the country favoured a southern candidate, adding that Tinubu was best fitted.
The minister in the letter addressed to the national chairman of PDP, Dr. Iyiorchia Ayu, dumping the opposition party, yesterday, lamented that it was obvious that the PDP was not ready to win the 2023 presidential election because of alleged wrong choice of candidate.
He stated in the letter, “I write to formally inform you of my resignation from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). This has been communicated to the Chairman of Burutu Ward 3, Burutu LGA, Delta State, effective 20th June, 2022. Consequently, I am by this letter intimating you of my total withdrawal from all activities at the ward, local, state and national levels of PDP.
“I am highly honoured and privileged to have been part of a political party that successfully transformed a pariah nation to one that commanded respect in the comity of nations. When we lost the presidential election in the 2015 in bewildered circumstances to say the least, it was my belief that the party would use the opposition period to strategise with the aim of taking back power at the earliest opportunity.
“However, the present situation in the party does not inspire confidence that the party is ready to regain power in 2033. Against the mood of the nation, and in complete disregard to (sic) the provision of the party’s constitution, the party, threw the zoning of the Presidency open, which created a situation that led to the emergence of a northerner as the party’s presidential flag bearer, thus making the two topmost positions in the party, after your emergence as the national chairman, to be occupied by northerners, contrary to section 7.3 (c) of the party’s constitution.”
Orubebe praised the Rivers State governor, Mr Nyenson Wike, for raising the bar in favour of the southern part of the country by trying to wrest power to the advantage of the south.
He added, “ I salute and commend the governor of Rivers State, His Excellency, Nyesom Wike, for his efforts and gallantry at the primaries. Posterity will be kind to him when the history of the party is written. There are very lot to be said, but out of respect for the party, I leave some stories untold at this time.
“My belief in the sanctity of Nigeria is unshaken and I will continually work for the progress and development, even if it is through another route.”
Reports available yesterday showed that Orubebe formally submitted his resignation letter to the Wadatta Plaza headquarters of the party in Abuja in the early hours of Monday.
It was gathered that top officials of Delta State government, who were immediately contacted, made futile efforts to stop Orubebe, who rebuffed the entreaties.