…APC remains strong despite exit- spokesman
Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
Less than a month to the Osun State governorship election scheduled for September 22, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has suffered another ‘tsunami,’ following the defection of another chieftain of the party, Peter Babalola with 8,850 members to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Before he announced his defection, in Osogbo, the state capital, at the weekend, Babalola had resigned his appointment as the chairman of Local Government Service Commission and disengaged from Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s administration.
He was one of the 17 aspirants in the forthcoming election under the platform of the APC, but lost in the primary election in which Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s Chief of Staff, Gboyega Oyetola, emerged the winner and candidate of the party.
South West Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Yomi Akinwomi, who represented the national chairman, Uche Secondus, while addressing the crowd of supporters when he received the defectors into the PDP’s fold, said Babalola’s defection was a right step in the right direction.
He said that his new party was a veritable platform where he (Babalola) would be able to fulfil his political dreams, compared to his former party, the APC, where the current political climate was no longer conducive for his political aspirations.
Akinwomi, however, called on former PDP members who are still in the APC to return to what he described as their roots before the governorship and general elections next year to galvanise the party into victory in the polls.
He assured them that equal rights and privileges would be accorded to them without any form of neglect if they returned.
Akinwomi also enjoined supporters of the party and well meaning citizens in the state to vote for Ademola Adeleke, in the gubernatorial poll in order to wrest power from the ruling APC and make life better for the people.
He expressed the party’s total support for the candidate, insisting that it would do everything possible to ensure he emerged as the next governor.
The PDP Chairman, Soji Adagunodo, expressed delight that about 5,000 APC members were received into the party recently from Ila Local Government Area when Mr. Clement Akanni, representing Ila State Constituency in the state House of Assembly, also defected from APC to PDP.
Adagunodo urged the electoral umpire (the INEC) and security agencies to guide against vote buying and other electoral malpractices during the poll.
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Babalola, while explaining the reason behind his defection, said he was forced out of the party by intimidation, impunity, injustice and dishonesty on the part of the leadership.
He added that his decision was to support the clarion call to ensure that the next governor comes from Osun West which had been denied the right to the governorship position over the years.
Babalola, however, promised to assiduously work with the party to achieve the dream during the election.
In reaction, APC’s Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy, Kunle Oyatomi, said Babalola’s defection was a personal choice based on the agitation that Osun West should be given a chance for the governorship slot.
He, however, wished him well in his political career, adding that the party still remained strong despite his exit.
Oyatomi added that the gale of defection from the party was not enough to affect its chances in the poll, following its pedigree as a ruling and most formidable party in the state.