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I’m ‘John the Baptist,’ says Uduaghan after defecting to APC

 

Former governor of Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan, has said he is ‘John the Baptist’ of his state after defecting from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Uduaghan confirmed his defection on Tuesday at a meeting of the APC national caucus held at the presidential villa in Abuja.

The meeting was attended by leaders of the party including national officers, state governors, former state governors, ministers and national assembly members.

He said his defection was to attract development and bring a permanent solution to the Niger Delta crisis.

In his statement Uduaghan said, “The toughest challenge for any leader in the Niger Delta since 1997 has been the issue of Peace and Security. For over 12 years, I was deeply involved in the management of the issues of the region, first as Secretary to State Government, SSG, and then as Governor of Delta State for eight years.

“Strategically, we had engagement as our major tool. This involved government officials, with me in the forefront (sometimes personally going into the creeks without security at nocturnal hours), community leaders, traditional rulers, religious leaders, our youths, retired military officers, activists, etc. Of course, ensuring that Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, was active was also part of the engagement process.”

He further said, since the inception of the current All Progressives Congress, APC, administration at the federal level, there has been an encouraging interest and activities by President Muhammadu Buhari to bring a permanent solution to the Niger Delta crisis. This has pointed in a direction that is at once progressive and developmental.

“Topmost in these activities are the engagement processes. Rather than using the military to harass our people, the Buhari administration has embarked on various engagement processes that have led to agreements and brought hope to the people of the Niger Delta.

“The Niger Delta is a major area of interest for me, because I staked my life going into the creeks severally without security and sometimes coming back at night negotiating peace. I will, therefore, give the strongest support to any President that shows commitment in the affairs of the Niger Delta. I call on, and enjoin, other well-meaning leaders in the region, who have very useful contributions to make, to come on board and join hands in helping this Federal Government to pursue a robust development agenda that would uplift our people. Whatever milestone that appears not to have been achieved yet is not for lack of efforts. Joining hands with and supporting the process will lead to a faster delivery on expectations.

“It is in the pursuit of this noble objective that I’m offering myself to help drive a process that would give the lives of our people in the Niger Delta more meaning. President Muhammadu Buhari needs people who will join hands with him to uplift our people.”

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