Sir Puka rejoins Our Development Party

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By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK
ABAU MP Sir Puka Temu has rejoined the Our Development Party (ODP) after resigning from the People’s National Congress (PNC) party.
He said he had to join the PNC in 2012 at the request of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to form the Government.
“I joined the PNC because the party leader and prime minister (O’Neill) requested me four times to join his party,” he said.
“And out of respect for his request, I left ODP and joined PNC.”
He said O’Neill also promised to give him the Petroleum and Energy portfolio after the 2012 election.
“But he did not give me that ministry although I had stuck with him for seven years as a senior MP from the Southern region.”
Sir Puka has received an acceptance letter from ODP general-secretary Maya Babe to rejoin it.
He had campaigned under the ODP banner in 2012.
O’Neill appointed him Public Service Minister before moving him to Health and HIV/Aids.
“I have been very faithful to O’Neill (as) I was one of the key players in 2011 (to) oust Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare and made O’Neill the Prime Minister,” he said.
“Using that 2011 as the platform, he then built up the PNC party from there. We went to the 2012 elections with a very good return from our people.
“But unfortunately in the 2017 elections many of our PNC MPs did not come back including some ministers. So it was big blow to the PNC party.”
He said he had regarded O’Neill then as “well educated and very smart”. But this view has waned in the past seven years, he said.

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