In a letter read on the floor of the Assembly by the Speaker, Hon. Ikyange, Okefe anchored his decision to defect to the APC on section 109 sub-section 1 (g) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“As you may be aware, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been enmeshed in a protracted internal crisis which has thus far defiled all efforts to resolve, including court rulings.
“The crisis has polarised the party along Senators Ahmed Makarfi and Ali Modu Sheriff lines at the National Secretariat, and along Honourables Dan Ale and John Ngbede lines in Benue State”, the letter reads in part.
The deputy Speaker also disclosed that the unruly rivalry going on in his former party has greatly affected his smooth operations at the state Assembly.
“In view of the forgoing, therefore, I hereby write to formally notify you of my decision to quit the PDP on which platform I was elected to the House and join the APC on the strength of the above argument”, Okefe submitted.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described as act of “cowardice,” the hypocritical disposition of the deputy Speaker since his assumption in office.
While reacting to the official letter of defection submitted by Hon. Okefe on Tuesday, the Minority Leader of the 8th Assembly, Hon. Sule Audu lambasted the deputy Speaker for waiting for such a long time before he could summon courage to cross-carpet.
According to Audu, the deputy Speaker has been hobnobbing with the APC since the day he betrayed his party, PDP and joined force with the minority APC to produce Principal Officers of the House, during the inauguration of the 8th Assembly.
The leader of PDP in the House said the umbrella party had since forgotten anybody in the name of James Okefe and wondered why he (Okefe) would be saying he was decamping afresh.
It would be recalled that Hon. James Okefe, a member representing Okpokwu State Constituency was elected under the PDP during the 2015 general elections, making the umbrella party the majority in the 8th Assembly.
He, however, formed alliance with the minority, APC, and with the intervention of the leaders of APC in the state, he became the deputy Speaker, after he supported the candidate of the APC to clinch the Speakership.