By Iyabo Lawal (Ibadan), Abiodun Fagbemi (Ilorin), Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City, Charles Akpeji (Gombe), Joseph Wantu (Makurdi), Oluwaseun Akingboye (Akure) and John Ogiji (Minna) on April 9, 2015
• Oke, Sheba, Odu, others desert ruling party in Ondo• Dankwambo’s aides, Onoja quit in Gombe, Benue • Defectors worship gods of the belly, says Aliyu
LESS than two weeks after the candidate of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), Major-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), was declared president-elect, strong wind of defection is blowing the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC.
In continuation of week-long trend, high-ranking members of the PDP — serving and former lawmakers as well as party chieftains — across the country yesterday moved over to the APC in a final blow on party discipline and ideology.
The situation forced the Senate President, David Mark, and his deputy, Ike Ekwewremadu, to issue reassuring statements to party members, insisting that they were ready to be the ‘last men standing’ for the ruling party, which, a day earlier raised the alarm that the APC was plotting a one-party state.
Yesterday, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, the Niger State governor, described as unfortunate and complete lack of political ideology the defection by some members of the party, saying that the defectors are suffering from poverty of integrity, morality and principle. Aliyu said: “I would rather resign from politics than defect.
Those defecting from the PDP, based on the outcome of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, lack principles of integrity and morality; they are, indeed, stomach politicians.
“For principles of integrity, morality, we have chosen to remain in PDP. I heard people insinuating that I have dumped my party for the APC. It is a lie, I will never do such a thing.” Specifically, former National Legal Adviser of the PDP and gubernatorial candidate of the 2012 election in Ondo State, Chief Olusola Oke, yesterday led a contingent of old members, mainly from the South Senatorial District, to decamp to the APC. The move came barely three days to the State House of Assembly elections.
The former PDP scribe led the contingent of politicians from his senatorial district to pitch tent with the APC at the party’s secretariat at Oyemekun Road, Akure, the state capital. Oke said: “I resisted the wind of change that was blowing, until it was almost trying to blow me out.
Now, I have surrendered; I can resist no more, and I have come. “I have come over, not because the PDP lost election, I have come over because the wind of change that is blowing across Nigeria must blow in Ondo State.” Oyo State yesterday was also greeted with the gale of defection, thereby aggravating the general fear about Nigeria inching close to a near-one party state after the APC had raised the bar on virility of opposition at the national level.
A serving member of the House of Representatives, two former members (PDP and Accord Party), a PDP gubernatorial aspirant and a women leader, former local council chairmen of the PDP and thousands of their supporters yesterday defected the) in Oyo State, claiming that their future political destinies would be better served under the party.
They are Afeez Jimoh, Folake Olunloyo-Osinowo, Tayo Sarumi, Dr. Azeez Adeduntan, Chief (Mrs.) Ayoka Lawani, Mr. Waheed Adeleke, former Chairman, Iseyin Local Council, among other party leaders from the Accord, Labour Party and PDP. They joined the party at an event held at the Mapo Hall in Ibadan yesterday.
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, his counterpart from Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who represented Buhari and the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, received the defectors.
Kwara State chapter of the PDP also suffered loss, as three former executive members announced their defection to the APC, citing alleged insincerity of the leadership. They also alleged that inhuman treatment was meted out to them and their political mentor Gbemisola Saraki, who reportedly defected yesterday.
In a press conference in Ilorin, they said their continued stay in PDP would render them politically irrelevant and thus rob them of the opportunities to contribute their quota to the development of the state and her people. Over 100 members of the PDP in Gombe State also dumped the party, just as in former Katsina State military administrator, General Lawrence Onoja (rtd) and former governorship aspirant, Dr. Mathias Oyigeya, crossed to the APC in Gombe.
Others who dumped the PDP at an event which took place at Jesus College Otukpo, include Chief Agbo Oga, former Chief of Staff to Senate President David Mark, Chief Mike Iduma, former state chairman of the party, Major Lawrence Ugbo (rtd), Peter Ochijele, former member of the State Executive Council, Chief John Ochoga and former Chairman of Local Government Service Commission, Mr. Mike Inalegwu.
Others are Mrs. Theresa Ikwue, former Agatu and Okpokwu Local Council chairmen, as well as Chief Inalegwu Ode, former Chief Press Secretary to the governor. Among PDP members received by the leadership of the APC in Gombe are personal and special assistants to the state Governor, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo.
Others are a member of the PDP Elders Committee in the state, Alhaji Ibrahim Zamfara, two serving members of the State House of Assembly, member representing Yamaltu/Deba Federal Constituency, Shuaibu Galadima, Majority Leader of the State House of Assembly, Mamman Alkali, among others.
Mainwhile Barely one week after the All progressives Congress (APC) took over control of the Federal Government, series of defection has hit the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State as former governor of the state, Professor Oserheimen Osunbor, Provost of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier-General Idada Ikponmwen are the latest high profile members of the PDP in the state to have moved with reports of more to join the bandwagon.
Meanwhile the Benin Leaders of Thought and other leaders in the kingdom yesterday called on the people of Edo South to vote massively for the APC candidates in Saturday’s House of Assembly election and the remaining wards in the district for the Senatorial ticket to ensure the “Binis are in the mainstream at the state and national governments.”
In a news briefing where he announced his defection yesterday, Ikponmwen said: “Democracy is all about the people and thrives best only where the people can choose their leaders, reserving the right to change them when desirable and contributing at all time towards good governance.
Now that Nigerians have demonstrated their choice, it behoves all well meaning people to give full support to our chosen leader.” He told his numerous supporters that they should give his new party and government the same level of support they have offered the PDP.
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