The camp of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State was fuller yesterday, following the defection to the party of 46 chieftains of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and their supporters in the state.
It was gathered that the defection of the said prominent members of the PDP was not unconnected with the yet-to-be resolved crisis rocking the party in recent times.
Some of the defectors included Femi Agagu, the brother of former governor of the state, the late Dr Olusegun Agagu, two former Speakers of the State House of Assembly, Hon Taofeek Abdusalam and Hon Victor Olabimtan, Niran Sule-Ogunsuyi, Mrs Bukola Tenabe, Chief Akin Akingbesote and Tola Wewe, who were the state’s Commissioners for Special Duties, Education, Agriculture and Culture and Tourism respectively during the first term of the state governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko.
Among the defectors were also the former Commissioner for Information in Agagu’s administration, Mrs Tola Awoh, former Commissioner for Works, Olaitan Ayeni, former member of the State Assembly, Kunlere Odidi, and Kunle Adebayo who is a Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the PDP candidate in the October 2012 governorship election, Chief Olusola Oke.
Speaking on behalf of the defectors on the reason for their decision to leave the ruling party, Femi Agagu said they took the decision after “lengthy sessions of consultation with friends, political associates as well as supporters in all the 203 wards of the state.”
His words: “We have also received the confidence of distinguished elder statesmen, non political young and elderly citizens who are concerned about the future of our dear state and country.
“We have resolved to embrace change which the APC represents and drum support for the victory of Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) and Professor Yemi Osibajo as well as all the candidates of the party.
Agagu, who noted that the development was unprecedented in the political history of the state, explained that the defectors too wanted change that many people had been clamouring for in the state and country in general.
“There are several reasons for our decision but most important is the obvious fact that Nigeria needs change and Ondo State, a new direction. We need change, which is the burden of good, honest, diligent, prepared, tested and competent leadership.
“Change is a mission to a destination of greatness where our state and nation ought to be. Change from broken promises, broken infrastructures, broken confidence, broken trust, broken leadership and broken future, all from which our people daily and consistently suffer.
“We also need change to ensure Ondo State people are not left behind in the current movement for a new direction and path for the greatness of Nigeria. It is our conviction that Ondo State people are progressive in nature and would fare better in a party that has progressive ideologies and focussed leadership.”
Welcoming the defectors into the fold of the party, the South West Vice Chairman and the State Chairman of the APC, Pius Akinyelure and Hon Isaac Kekemeke respectively urged them to go to their respective wards and local governments to work for the party in other to win the forthcoming general elections for the party.
Kekemeke said the doors of the party were still open for any intending members to join in the state, saying the APC did not belong to particular person, but all members of the party.