Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, on Tuesday officially presented former deputy governor of the state, Yomi Awoniyi, to the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, at the party’s headquarters in Abuja.
Awoniyi, a chieftain of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party had been having a running battle with the state leadership of the the party before he officially defected to the ruling APC on Monday.
Earlier in April, the former deputy governor had faulted the PDP primary election that produced ex-Kogi West Senator, Dino Melaye, as the governorship candidate.
Awoniyi had lamented that the primary lacked credibility and Melaye’s emergence as the party’s candidate could spell doom for the PDP.
Arriving at the APC national headquarters on Tuesday in a large convoy of stern-looking security operatives, the presence of the Kogi delegation caused a mild gridlock in the popular Blantyre Crescent in Abuja.
While presenting the new convert to the APC national chairman, an excited Bello announced at the meeting with members of the National Working Committee that he had landed the ruling party a ‘big fish’ ahead of the November 11 governorship election.
Addressing newsmen, Bello described Awoniyi as a major force to be reckoned with in Kogi politics, stressing that he had no doubt the former PDP leader’s presence would rake in more votes for the APC.
He said, “Today we have a big fish. Another big fish in our ocean from Kogi. We are APC and APC is Kogi. Today I come to introduce the former Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Chief Yomi Awoniyi.
“So, he has joined us fully and I have come to introduce him to the National Chairman and NWC at the party at the headquarters. By the grace of God, this is a sign that the election of 11th November will be a landslide. It will be victory for APC by the special grace of God.”
While appreciating the ruling party’s hospitality, Awoniyi explained that he dumped the opposition PDP because of his conviction that the new APC government is on course to reposition the country positively.
“Thank you for giving me this opportunity to meet the party at this level. My decision to join the APC is occasioned by the need to appreciate the giant strides that this government has started to embark upon.
“It is quite clear that the next four or eight years will be a complete departure from what we have known. It is quite impressive and laudable, particularly in our state in Kogi where a lot is going on. And the future looks much brighter in the APC. That is my decision for joining the APC,” he stated.
Receiving the Kogi delegation, Ganduje expressed delight at seeing Awoniyi who he also labelled as a big fish in an ocean considering the importance of the coming off-cycle Governorship election in Kogi state.
He stated, “As you can see, I am smiling. We are so happy that this big fish is finally in our ocean. It is a good omen. He has come in the right time because we are gearing up for the off-cycle Governorship election in Kogi State.
“We believe he is changing the narrative as far as this area is concerned and the state in general. So, he is most welcome.”
Madukwe B. Nwabuisi is an accomplished journalist renown for his fearless reporting style and extensive expertise in the field. He is an investigative journalist, who has established himself as a kamikaze reporter.