The All Progressives Congress on Thursday decried the defection of Governor Samuel Ortom, saying the Benue State governor gave the impression that everything was alright until his defection today.
Mr Ortom defected from the APC to the Peoples Democratic Party this afternoon, saying the party was no longer properly positioned to address the yearnings of Benue people.
Bolaji Abdullahi, national spokesperson for the APC, said the party found the defection "somewhat surprising" because concerted efforts were made to keep Mr Ortom in its fold, and regretted that the governor had to leave.
"The party recalls efforts made by the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to address some of the grievances raised by the Benue State Governor pertaining to the local politics in Benue State.
"The governor had left the meeting saying he was satisfied with the assurances given by party leaders. We are still working on giving effect to the resolutions from the meeting. Therefore, we are somewhat surprised by Governor Ortom's decision," Mr Abdullahi said.
Nonetheless, the party said it would continue to respect the rights of citizens to chose which party they found accommodating enough for their political endeavours, even as he indicated that negotiations would continue to prevent others from decamping.
"The party reiterates its earlier position that it respects the rights of every citizen to chose their political affiliation but expresses hope that those who have left the Party will rescind their decisions.
"Even with this development, we don't think it is too late for reconciliation. We have to continue to talk. As long as people keep their minds open and have the courage to put the real issues on the table, reconciliation is still possible," he added.
The APC has been experiencing a wave of defection lately. At least 15 of its senators and 37 of its House of Representatives members decamped yesterday. A substantial majority of them swiftly joined the PDP.
Also in Benue yesterday, the APC speaker was impeached following mass defection of members that elevated the PDP to the majority in recent weeks.
The development had been predicted to hurt the ruling party's chances of retaining power in 2019 general elections.
Mr Abdullahi urged all APC members to remain calm and be absolutely confident of the party's ability to ensure that more high-profile politicians remained on its platform.
"We once again call on members across the country to remain calm as the party leadership continues to work hard to position the party strongly for the next general elections," Mr Abdullahi said.