THE rank of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi State further depleted on Sunday as the immediate past speaker of the state house of assembly, Umar Imam, on Sunday ditched the party for the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
The legislator, who said he had already written the state house of assembly about his defection, said he was shut out of the party by the leadership of the party in the state.
He said he defected from the APC because of the lingering crisis in the party that had led to its fictionalisation at both the state and the national levels.
Addressing newsmen in Lokoja, the state capital, Imam, who also expressed his intention to contest the forthcoming by-election into the Lokoja/Kogi federal constituency seat on the platform of the SDP, said the current leadership of the party in the state betrayed those built it.
He said virtually all those that worked for the success of the APC in the last general election were shut out by the state government.
He said as a foundation member of the APC and a former speaker of the house, he was instrumental to the stabilisation of the Yahaya Bello led government which was heralded with crises because of the circumstances of its emergence.
He added that before deciding to quit the ruling party, he made several efforts at reconciling aggrieved members by meeting the former national chairman of the party, John Odigie-Oyegun and other members of the leadership of the party.
He, however, noted that he was vilified by the state government because of his refusal to support the botched recall of the senator representing Kogi west senatorial district, Dino Melaye, following which he was completely shut out of the party.
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Imam said, “I was vilified for not supporting the recall of senator Dino Melaye, I made my stand known that I was for reconciliation, I spoke for the people, I was attacked and removed for it, those who suffered to build the party were not rewarded.
“There were three national efforts at about Kogi reconciliation but they all failed. I told the newly constituted reconciliation committee that they were behind time and that the committee was not a sincere one, if they are sincere they should go back to Tony Momoh’s committee report”.
The former speaker, however, said he left his defection late because he hoped that the leadership of the party would encourage participation of every party member in its affairs and decision-making process and genuinely reconcile with aggrieved members to unify it.
He, however, said following due consultations he and his followers had joined the SDP, saying it was the only truly progressive party in the country.