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Western Governor Taboi Awi Toto joins O'Neill Government

WESTERN Governor Taboi Awi Yoto stole the show yesterday when he interrupted a Government announcement by announcing that he was also defecting.

The Government was on the verge of welcoming Maprik MP John Simon and Usino-Bundi MP Jimmy Uguro to its ranks, when Mr Yoto barged in to announce his defection.

The surprise turn of events took place at the ground floor conference room of Sir Manasupe Haus at Waigani, which is occupied by the office of the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

Mr Yoto’s unassuming walk-in surprised the media, when he walked in on the Government announcement of the move by Mr Simon and Mr Uguro.

He was quickly taken to the front and greeted Mr O’Neill with a firm handshake and a smile before standing next to the PM and Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel.

The media reaction was instantaneous with a flurry of whispers growing and the flash of the cameras, the attention Mr Yoto got was one of shock and disbelief that a member and one considered to be among staunch Opposition MPs, was joining Government.

With a smile, he was welcomed into the fold along with Mr Simon and Mr Uguro.

Mr Yoto entered politics as a member of the United Resources Party but later changed his allegiance to the PNG Party.

He quietly explained his reasons and why he chose to move.

He likened his move to being on the other side of a broken bridge, and trying to get to a mango tree full of fruits, however his stones were not reaching their target.

“It is difficult for me to deliver while sitting on the other side.

“Although we have a lot of resources, I don’t have the money, I need the Government’s support to bring that money back to spend.

“I know my people will support me, I know this decision will get criticisms, but the criticisms will not move the province, they have the choice in 2022.

“I will stand by this decision and when it comes to 2022, the people will have the final say for my political career,” Mr Yoto said.

The Prime Minister welcomed Mr Yoto, Mr Simon and Mr Uguro, saying that their move to the Government had boosted his ruling People’s National Congress number to 46 MPs.

“We formally welcome the members who are joining the Government to deliver on the good policies that we have and that the policies we are developing and delivering to the nation.”

The Opposition was contacted yesterday for comment but had not replied. Post Courier/PNG Today/PacNews
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