By Stephen Olufemi Oni, Ilorin
The opposition political parties in Kwara State have suffered a major setback with numerous of their members defecting to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The defectors, who were led by their leaders from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Social Democratic Party, NNPP, African Democratic Congress, among others, attested to the impressive performance of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq administration, especially in areas of education, healthcare, workers’ welfare, rural-urban infrastructural development, women and youth empowerment, and safety nets for the poor and the vulnerable.
They were received by Governor AbdulRazaq alongside several top government officials and party chieftains, including state APC Chairman Sunday Fagbemi, and Director General of the APC Campaign, Alhaji Yahaya Seriki.
The big fishes among the defectors included former Deputy Speaker Kwara State House of Assembly under PDP Hon. Mathew Okedare; former Commissioner for Tertiary Education under PDP Barrister Abdullahi Alikinla; former Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology Engr Musa Yeketi; Personal Assistant to former Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed on Political (PAPOL) Alhaji Hassan Gegele; PDP Women Leader in Ifelodun LG Adenike Ayilara; former Special Assistant to Senator Bukola Saraki on Domestic Hon. Bolakale Ajanaku; Otunba Olabode Oyedepo popularly called Bode Deway; SDP House of Assembly aspirant from Offa Mr. Ahmed Akorede; PDP House of Rep aspirant for Asa/Ilorin West Hon. Ahmed Bayero; YPP Vice Chairman in Asa Hamzat Dolapo; Abu Jimoh Plumber; Bola Afolayan from Ekiti LG; and Alhaji Abdullahi Sarumi.
Welcoming the defectors, AbdulRazaq congratulated the new members of APC for their decision, assuring them of fairness and equal treatment.
“We welcome all the decampees and appreciate you for your conviction and your trust in our party. We are going to work together to achieve success. We will treat you all fairly as members of our party. As you can see, PDP is now empty. They only deploy social media to feign popularity,” he said.
AbdulRazaq mentioned some of his administration’s scorecards across sectors and enjoined the participants to remain resolute to deliver the State for APC at the polls.
State APC Chairman Prince Sunday Fagbemi, for his part, said Kwarans have all seen the huge gap between the past and present administrations in terms of inclusive growth and good governance, saying the comeback bid of PDP was evil and targeted at denying the citizens what they are already enjoying under AbdulRazaq.
Director General of Kwara APC Campaign Council Alhaji Yahaya Seriki urged members of the party to remain determined to work for the success of the party.
The defectors took turns to explain why they left their parties to embrace APC, describing AbdulRazaq as an architect of a new Kwara.
Former Deputy Speaker House of Assembly Hon. Mathew Okedare, who also decamped, said they never knew that they were in darkness under the PDP-led administration until recently, attesting that Governor AbdulRazaq has demonstrated the capacity to lead.
Engr. Yeketi said what the present administration has achieved within three and a half years are enough to prove that AbdulRazaq means well for the State.