Lieutenant General Azubuike Ihejirika, former Chief of Army Staff under ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, has joined the All Progressives Congress.
The ex-Army Chief declared his membership of the APC at his Isuikwuato country home in Abia North Senatorial District on Tuesday.
He thereafter participated in the party’s ongoing registration and revalidation exercise at Ezere Ward 2 where he registered.
His registration was conducted by the APC Ward Chairman, Iheanyi Chukwu, in the presence of several party stalwarts of the party, including Orji Uzor Kalu.
According to Ihejirika, who served as COAS from 2010-2014 under Jonathan, his coming into the APC is to contribute to the progress of the party in the state and at the national level.
The former COAS said having served in the Army for almost 38 years, it is important for him to be in politics with all the sufficient experience gathered over the years.
He said he would contribute to the democracy of the nation and the fortunes of the party.
He said: “I am delighted by the presence of the leader of the party in our state, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, to honour this event.
“Having served almost 38 years in the military, I am convinced that it will be a waste of experience for me to remain outside government activities.
“Thus is because I have a lot to offer and assure you all that I will operate an open-door policy.
“I will also learn fast. My first goal is to unite the party. Unity is very important because if we are united, we can achieve all our goals for the state and the nation at large.”
On his part, Kalu, who is the APC leader in Abia State, commended the former COAS.
The senator had in November 2020 urged Ihejirika to join the party.
Kalu said, “General Ihejirika’s decision to join us today in the APC is no doubt a great one and I must commend him for taking the bold step after over a year of convincing him to join the party.
“He should be assured that his membership in our party will be a very fruitful one. I am loyal to the party.”
The development comes around the same time a former governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel, also dumped the Peoples Democratic Party for the APC.
The ex-governor of Ogun had earlier claimed that the move was in the best interest of “our people”.
In a related development, ex-deputy Governor of Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore, defected to the APC from the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Ihejirika’s APC move comes at a time when the spotlight has continued to beam on Jonathan over the pressure being put on him by APC to also join the ruling party.
Top sources within the APC had told Basehitz that the party was considering giving a joint ticket to Jonathan and Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, for the 2023 presidential election.