John Ameh, Abuja
There was drama on the floor of the House of Representatives on Thursday when the Peoples Democratic Party members celebrated the defection of one of their colleagues to the All Progressives Congress.
The defector, Mr. Johnson Agbonayinma, hails from Edo State.
Unlike in previous cases where the PDP lawmakers protested against the defection of their members, the lawmakers jubilated as they wished Agbonayinma well.
Agbonayinma became the eighth member of the PDP to defect this year and the second this week.
He described the PDP as “darkness”, where he could no longer belong because he had seen the “light” in the APC.
“The PDP has shut the door against me”, he told the House in his letter read by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara.
PDP members, including the Minority Whip, Mr. Yakubu Barde; Deputy Minority Leader, Mr. Chukwuka Onyema; Deputy Minority Whip, Mrs. Binta Bello; Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Relations, Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje; and the Chairman, Committee on Public Petitions, Mr. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, danced as they bade Agbonayinma goodbye.
They chorused, “Agbonayinma, bye-bye; Agbonayinma, bye-bye; we wish you luck.”
Onyema raised a point of order to give the position of the caucus on the defection.
He said, “Even though we oppose defection; in the case of Agbonayinma, we are actually happy that he is leaving.
“He is like a tumour. You know when you have cancer and it is cured, you feel happy because it has left you.
“The PDP house will be better without Agbonayinma being with us. So, Agbonayinma, bye-bye.”
The lawmakers danced and sang again amid laughter.
Agbonayinma was a member of the Ali Modu Sheriff-faction of the party before the Supreme Court recognised the then Senator Ahmed Makarfi faction as the authentic leader of the party.
The Edo State Deputy Governor, Mr. Phillip Shuaibu, witnessed the defection.
Agbonayinma later addressed journalists in company with the Majority Leader of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, at the National Assembly.
Agbonayinma said he had observed that in spite of efforts being made to rescue the PDP, it appeared to be set on “dying, dying, and will be dead.”
He cited the recent national convention of the party as another “wasted opportunity to check the reign of impunity in the PDP.”
“PDP is totally factionalised and a house that is divided against itself will not stand. I decided to leave because I couldn’t face the heat in the dark house.
“I left darkness for light. The so-called unity list that produced the current leaders of PDP only brought more disunity to the party.”
On his part, Gbajabiamila said he was elated that Agbonayinma joined the APC, saying he had always known him to be a man with a “progressive mind.”
He added, “If you know Agbonayinma, he is the kind of person that should be in the APC, not in the PDP. I knew that it was only a matter of time he would join the APC.”
Only on Tuesday, a member from Imo State, Mr. Raphael Igbokwe, defected to the APC from the PDP.
His defection cut the numerical strength of the PDP to about 119. Agbonayinma’s exit further brought it down to 118. (The Sun)