Another big blow has been dealt the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Edo State as the former deputy director general of the party’s Campaign Council for the re-election of Governor Godwin Obaseki in 2020, Gideon Ikhine, on Sunday dumped the party for the All Progressives Congress, APC.
This latest high-profile defection came on the heels of the dumping of the party by renowned educationist, Kenneth Imansuangbon, popularly called ‘Rice Man’, who recently joined the Labour Party, LP, and has declared his governorship ambition.
Ikhine, an engineer, who is also aspiring to govern the state in 2024, said he would be leaving the PDP with about 30 percent of its members. He was one of the party’s governorship frontrunners who stepped down for Obaseki in 2020 when he was denied a second-term ticket by the APC.
In his letter of resignation addressed to the chairman, PDP Ward 7 (Ukpenu/ Ujolen/ Emuhi) Ekpoma, Esan West local government area, and dated July 8, 2023, made available to journalists on Sunday, said it was a great honour contributing to the party in the last 24 years.
The letter reads in part: “It has been a great honor to contribute to the growth and success of this party over the years, with Peoples Democratic Party recording outstanding results from my Ward all through the 24 years of working with you.
“My commitment to the people of Ward 7, Esan-West Local Government, and Edo people, remains firm and resolute to keep serving them in other capacities,” he added.
Ikhine explained that he was leaving the party majorly because of the “unending impasse” which he said had pitched the Obaseki-led group against the legacy group. He said with a vision of leading the state and the people out of obscurity, it was therefore going to be difficult for him to realise his ambition of serving his people.
Ikhine argued that having worked for the APC in the last election, and ushered in the presidency of Bola Tinubu, it would be wrong to continue to stay in the PDP.
Amidst allegations of money changing hands, Ikhine denied collecting $ 1 million dollars from Obaseki to step down for him in 2019, insisting that he supported the governor based on his conviction that he had a good programme for the state.
He also dismissed insinuations that he left the party because of speculation that the PDP had zoned its governorship ticket to Edo South.
According to him, “The impasse in the PDP was a major factor for my exit because I don’t feel I can realise my ambition in the state with Obaseki and the legacy group still at loggerheads. I am taking 30 percent of the membership of the PDP with me to APC.
“I also worked with the APC in the last election because of some injustice and anomaly that was perpetuated in Esan in the last election. So, going to APC was logical for me”.