A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain in Ekiti State, Yinka Akerele, has defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC), claiming that his former party was inflicting hardship on the masses.
Akerele, who formally joined the APC at a rally held in Ayede Ward 09 in Ayede-Ekiti community in Oye Local Government of the state, said he took the decision “because the PDP has derailed from the vision and ideals of its founding fathers to use power to make life easier for the people.”
Along with him in the movement was a former Oye Local Government chairman, Mr. Gbenga Akerele, with their supporters, who were received by the the APC chairman in the state, Chief Jide Awe.
At the ceremony in which Awe was represented by his deputy, Mrs. Kemisola Olaleye, Akerele accused Governor Ayo Fayose of turning deaf ears to the cries of the suffering masses and claimed that the ongoing construction of a flyover in Ado Ekiti was a misplaced project “and it is not what Ekiti people need at this time.”
Akerele, who served as a chairman of Ekiti State Road Maintenance Agency (EKROMA), claimed that he took the decision to leave the PDP because the party had “lost focus and had become a one-man show in Ekiti.”
He promised to cooperate with other APC leaders in the state and members “to chase PDP from power in Ekiti to bring relief to the people of the state who are now poorer than when Fayose came to power.”
According to him, APC is “a more democratic party that runs a masses-oriented manifesto promising to work harder to mobilise more members into his new party.”
Receiving Akerele and the others, Awe said they would “henceforth enjoy the same benefits like old members,” and described Akerele as “a strong grassroots politician.”
Awe said the APC “is getting stronger everyday with the magnitude of people joining from other parties,” saying “the door is still open to accommodate new members.”
Reacting to the development, the state PDP chairman, Mr Gboyega Oguntuase, said “he merely formalised his long-known position” against the PDP in the state.
Oguntuase, who reacted through the telephone, said: “He was a PDP person until recently and added that “his leaving the party is not news to us.”
The PDP boss noted that “the question we should ask ourselves is when did he stop being an active participant in the political activities in favour of PDP? We should also note that he had since ceased to be an active contributor to the success of the PDP in Ekiti State.”
He said: “The last election, which brought the governor to power, he did not participate in any of the campaigns in any part of the 16 local government areas of the state, in favour of the PDP. During the campaigns for the 26 members of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Chief Yinka Akerele did not campaign for even one of them. And we scored 26 – 0.
“In the election to the Senate, none of the three senators would say that he received any physical or financial help from Chief Yinka Akerele. In all the 16 local government areas of Ekiti, during the local government election which brought the 16 local government chairmen into office, Akerele was neither physically present nor financially felt.
“Thus, if such a person is now saying that he is leaving the party, we should ask ourselves what is the relevance of his departure?”
“If without him we scored 16 – 0, if without him we returned the governor, if without him we returned all the members of the House of Assembly, if without him we returned all the members of the House of Representatives, if without him we returned all the senators, his departure will not affect the political configuration of the party in the state.
“So, as far as we are concerned, he is merely formalizing his original position of non-involvement in anything that concerns Fayose. It is the formalisation of his original position of not having anything to do with the man called Peter Ayodele Fayose.
“So, we have nothing against him, but we cannot stop him if they have no mind of love towards the governor, talkless of love towards the party.”