By Stephen Oni, Ilorin
Some members of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP under the aegis of PDP One Umbrella Project in Kwara state have said that the return of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, to the party would assist in dislodging the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari come 2019.
Speaking with journalists in Ilorin on Friday, Coordinator of the group, Comrade Ben Duntoye, flanked by other PDP leaders from all the three senatorial districts of the state, debunked the speculation that Saraki would not accommodate old members of the opposition party.
He said Saraki as the national leader of the PDP would be fair to all members of the party, not only in Kwara but Nigeria as a whole.
The PDP leaders, who welcomed Saraki back to the PDP, said that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari had brought untold hardship to Nigerians.
“And here in Kwara state, we cannot isolate ourselves from the misrule of President Buhari, that more insightful reason why Senator Saraki’s return to the PDP is beyond a Kwara phenomenon.
“The PDP One Umbrella Project is a bridge building caucus in the Kwara State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party. Our objectives are borne out of the need to ensure a bigger, stronger and united party.
“We believe strongly that development and service to the people is key and should be paramount in politics.
“The defection of some leaders around the country, Kwara state inclusive from the ruling APC to the PDP has been public domain issue recently. No doubt, the political realignments preceding the 2015 elections is repeating itself.
“From that time till date, a handful of us remained in the party till date and the issues that led to the defection from PDP in 2015 may have been playing out again in the ruling party. If we may recall, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki gave among his reasons for leaving in 2015, lack of internal democracy, faulty economic policies which continued to endanger the future of the nation.
“He charted a pathway and led others out of the PDP to form the APC with other splinter groups. They had hopes that the elderly Buhari would bring his maturity to play in leading them to restore Nigeria back to the path of sure footedness and prosperity.
“Unfortunately, this was not to be. Self-centeredness, unwholesome policies and a host of factors continued to plague the nation under the APC led government and there appeared to be no room for amendment of ways.
“Incidentally, our repositioned party and the new leadership realised our mistakes and apologised to the nation. Alas, our leader, Senator Saraki was vindicated in his decision to leave the party in 2015.
“Gentlemen of the press, ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the teeming members of the PDP in Kwara state, we welcome our very own, His Excellency, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki , Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed and all their supporters back to PDP. This is a welcome development and we are proud of it all the way.
“Saraki’s return to PDP will in no small measure assist the party to dislodge the government of President Mohammed Buhari which has brought untold hardship to Nigerians.
“And here in Kwara state, we cannot isolate ourselves from the misrule of president Buhari that is a more insightful reason why Senator Saraki’s return to the PDP is beyond a Kwara phenomenon.
“We cannot but comment on the decision of Chief Iyiola Oyedepo and others who want to leave the PDP because of this development? Surely at times like this, tempers will be frayed and emotions stretched. We wish to state emphatically that leaving PDP is not the panacea.
“We must also be selfless enough to ask ourselves a pertinent question: In all these, where does the common citizen come in and are our actions borne out of service to the masses or self? We therefore like to appeal to our erstwhile party chairman to reconsider this. We wish to state that the decision to defect to APC is not unanimous and majority of our party leaders and stalwarts are still very much in the party.
“We hereby call on the teeming members of the PDP in all wards and local government to remain steadfast, unshaken and loyal to the People’s Democratic Party. It is our collective heritage and our political aspirations can, and shall be met in this great party. PDP is a house we already know.
“At this juncture, kindly permit me to address the issue irking the minds of members that Senator Saraki will not accommodate the old members. This is not true. Senator Saraki is a seasoned leader, he is dependable and trustworthy. He has said it severally and assured us particularly that he will be fair to all. We must be mindful that that this may be a decoy by those determined to create disaffection among party members because of his return to the party.
“The PDP is one big umbrella that can accommodate all. It is big, strong and dependable. Let us all be under its fold.”
Meanwhile, Kwara PDD Stakeholders have expressed delight and enthusiasm in the return of Senate President Bukola Saraki and his teeming supporters to the PDP, saying, “today is a new dawn in our political journey to make Kwara better for the present and the coming generation.”
Addressing journalists on Friday at the NUJ Press Centre, Ilorin, PDP Deputy Chairman in Kwara state, Abubakar Sanni, said: “For any opposition to receive a sitting Senate President, governors, ambassadors and lawmakers into its fold is a remarkable feat which will send a clear signal of electoral defeat of unimaginable proportion to the ruling APC.
“We therefore call on all our teeming members to respect the right of every member of the party and work in unison in the interest of the party and the country at large.”