Stella Oduah, the Senator representing Anambra North in the National Assembly has defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Her defection was made known shortly after meeting with the Chairman of the APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), Mala Buni, in Abuja on Thursday.
She said her decision to make the switch was dictated by the need to engage in progressive politics for her constituency and the people of Anambra State.
Ms Oduah’s defection comes about a month after the Federal High Court in Abuja threatened to issue a warrant for her arrest after failing to appear in court for her corruption trial.
She is being charged with laundering funds to the tune of N5 billion alongside Chinese construction giant, CCECC.
Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, EFCC, had in December 2020, filed 25 counts accusing both parties of laundering various sums of money totalling about N5,052,415,984 between February and June 2014.
They were also accused of conspiracy to commit money laundering, transferring, taking control and taking possession of proceeds of fraud, aiding and abetting money laundering and opening anonymous bank accounts.
The agency also alleged that Ms Oduah and a Ms Odita opened anonymous “Private Banking Nominee” dollar and naira accounts with First Bank, thereby committing an offence contrary to section 11(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under section 11(4) (a) of the same Act.
Ms Oduah has, however, stated the progress of APC and residents of Anambra State as her reason for leaving as she pledged to “join forces” with the APC gubernatorial candidate, Andy Uba – in the November governorship election.
She also said her defection is part of the narrative to change the political narrative of the South-east geopolitical zone.
Mr Buni, in his remarks at the brief ceremony, said Ms Oduah will have ‘waiver’ and enjoy the dividends of joining the ruling party.
“You will enjoy the privileges enjoyed by all members of the party because you will have a waiver,” the Yobe Governor, flanked by other key party players, said on Thursday.
In his remarks included in the statement signed by the APC National Director, Publicity, Salisu Dambatta, the chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum, Mr Bagudu, described the Anambra senator as a national figure who has joined “a national movement to deliver a greater Nigeria for the future.”
Mr Uba, the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, Governors of Kebbi and Imo States, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and Hope Uzodinma, were present to welcome the lawmaker to the ruling party.