The rank of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State on Tuesday depleted further as two former Speakers of the state House of Assembly, former commissioners including those that served under the late former Governor Olusegun Agagu and the incumbent, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, some former special advisers, former House of Assembly members and some leaders of the party defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The defectors were led by Agagu’s brother Femi, who was the Chief of Staff to the late former governor.
The defection of the PDP stalwart might not be unconnected with the yet-to-be resolved crisis rocking the party in the recent times.
The decamped former Speakers of the state House of Assembly are: Hon Taofeek Abdusalam and Hon. Victor Olabimtan. The former commissioners are: M. Niran Sule-Akinsuyi, Mrs. Bukola Tenabe, Chief Akin Akingbesote and Mr Tola Wewe who were state Commissioners for Special Duties, Education, Agriculture and Culture and Tourism respectively during the first term of Governor Mimiko.
Those that served under Agagu’s administration are the former Commissioner for Information, Mrs. Tola Awoh, former Commissioner for Works, Mr. Olaitan Ayeni, former member of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Kunlere Odidi, and Mr. Kunle Adebayo 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, Mr. Femi Agagu, said they took the decision after “lengthy consultations with friends, political associates as well as supporters in all the 203 wards of the state.
“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 General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) and Professor Yemi Osinbajo as well as all the candidates of the party,” he said.
Agagu, who noted that the development was unprecedented in the political history of the state history, 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.
Welcoming the defectors into the fold of the party, the South-west Vice-Chairman and the state Chairman of the APC, Mr. 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 election 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 anybody but all members of the party.
The party chairman said the party would not discriminate against any member irrespective of when one joined, adding that what any member benefit would be determined by his or her contribution to the party.