By Stephen Olufemi Oni, Ilorin
No fewer than 8,000 people of Bassa community in Kwara State have defected from the People Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), pledging their overwhelming votes for Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq and other candidates of the party in the coming elections.
Bassas in Kwara state originated from states like Kogi, Nasarawa, Plateau, Niger, Benue, and FCT, and are largely farmers, spreading across many communities in the state.
The defectors, led by their Oba and Aguma Abassa (I), Daniel Shado Zhokwo, were jointly received at the State APC Campaign office by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor for Non-indigenes, Hon. Caleb Ono Bobi, and State APC Deputy Chairman Alhaji Abdullahi Samari, on behalf of the Governor.
Speaking at the occasion, the Aguma Abassa, Oba Shado Zhokwo, said their visit was to formally defect from the PDP to APC and to declare their support for Governor AbdulRazaq and other candidates of the party.
“We, Bassa people are here to let you know that we are decamping from PDP to APC and to let you know that we are in full support of this government led by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq,” he said.
The monarch commended AbdulRazaq for giving non-indigenes their fair share of his leadership, declaring that the present administration has achieved greatly for the state in the last three and a half years.
He requested the government to further empower his people most especially farmers and traders; and to provide them employment among other demands.
Samuel Weshiri Andrew, another speaker from Bassa, said their defection was not because of earning money but because they are convinced that the administration performed well and deserve another mandate to finish its good work.
“We have been residents in Kwara for years. We knew how we were maltreated by the previous administrations. We recall how they used to deceive us with their failed promises. They pledged to assist our people including farmers but all in vain, ” he said.
Samari, while responding, appreciated the Bassas for their courage and resolve to join the winning team, and pledged that the government and the party would not let them and other residents of Kwara down.
“We want to appreciate the Bassa community for recognizing the good work of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, and for resolving through your traditional leader to join the train to deliver for the party. I can assure you that you will all benefit from your labor. We have a Governor that takes care of all those that identify with him including non-kwaran, ” he said.
He urged them to keep their PVCs intact ahead of the polls saying that remains their weapon to achieve their dream.
“When you get home, kindly keep your PVCs. Don’t allow anyone to induce you with money or buy your conscience. We know you are men and women of integrity,” he added.
“For a record, I want to say that the Bassa people in kwara are over eight thousand (8,000), and the representatives here today are from about ten communities. We have over two hundred people representing that 8000”.
Senior Special Assistant to the Governor for Non-indigenes, Hon. Caleb Ono Bobi, for his part, said, the administration is reputed for creating a right environment for residents to thrive irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds, and assured the visitors that the government will continue to prioritize their basic needs.
Director Inter-Ethnic Group in the APC State Campaign Council, Barrister Adokutu Jafaru, said the non-indigenes in kwara are given a sense of belonging under the present administration, a reason why he said the Governor created in his Cabinet an office to interface and cater for the non-kwarans.