A source within the party revealed to The Punch on Monday that there seems to be tangible fear in the APC camp in the state ahead of the election as six commissioners in Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s cabinet were set to defect to the PDP before Friday.
Although there is no official statement yet from the potential defectors to back this claim, it is being speculated within the cabinet.
However, Ikuru, who defected to the PDP on Sunday, had promised that his supporters would soon join him in his new party.
It is understood that there are only five commissioners in Amaechi’s cabinet who are die-hard supporters of his, while other commissioners are believed to be waiting for the right time to announce their defection.
A Government House source, who spoke on condition of anonymity with The Punch’s correspondent in Port Harcourt, said he could only vouch for commissioners in charge of Information, Agriculture, Works and two other ministries, revealing that those who stood for monetary gains could defect to the PDP.
“Yes, the deputy governor has defected and you will agree with me that he (Ikuru) has supporters who will definitely want to go with him. We are suspecting them already and very soon, they will show themselves. But one thing is clear, the Amaechi they are betraying has always stood by them. Amaechi does not betray anybody and anything he tells you today, check in the next 20 years, he will still maintain his stand,” the source said.
A House of Assembly source who did not want his name in print also hinted that he can no longer speak for all the state legislators as some of them now believe in stomach infrastructure.
He expressed optimism that the lawmakers that believed in the integrity of the governor will remain by his side.
While the House of Assembly source declined to specify any lawmaker who is likely to defect to the PDP, he said it would be pointless to assume that the 25 APC lawmakers all had their loyalty intact.
“The PDP may have infiltrated them within the past 12 months and you must know that those who would leave by this time believe in stomach infrastructure while those with integrity will continue to stay with Amaechi,” the source said.
The state commissioner for works, Victor Giadom, who spoke through his aide, reiterated that he was committed to his belief in Amaechi and had never thought of joining any other party.
Giadom, who is also the director general of the Dakuku Peterside campaign organisation, said the alleged defection of some commissioners to the PDP was mere propaganda, maintaining that no commissioner would leave the APC for another party.
Recall that the state chairman of the PDP, Felix Obuah, had predicted that Amaechi would be left with only five commissioners after a possible mass defection of his aides to the ruling PDP.
“Amaechi has only five commissioners and more than two-thirds of the members of the state House of Assembly have joined PDP. They are already talking with me. Today, we are celebrating one of our own (Ikuru) and his teeming supporters who have seen reasons in what we are fighting for,” he said.