By Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Hundreds of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State have announced their defection from the ruling party to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), saying they left because of political patronage.
A Chieftain of the party, Chief Osamede Adun, the Aiyobahan of Bénin Kingdom, who led others in the defection, said that he and his followers left the party because of abandonment and attitude of Governor Godwin Obaseki.
Also among the defectors were a former APC Chairman for Orhionwon LGA in Edo State, Mr. Mathew Ehigie and a former Council Chairman of Ovia Northeast LGA, Mrs. Lucy Omagbon.
Adun, who is the leader of Kwankwasiyya, a political movement of former governor of Kano State, Alhaji Rabiu Kwakwanso in Edo APC said his house was destroyed by the state government and he was driven away from the party.
Speaking to journalists in Benin City after tendering his resignation letter alongside his followers, Adun also warned the state government against using payment of taxes to harass him.
The defection followed weeks of threat by some Edo APC leaders to defect because of lack of political patronage and abandonment by Governor Obaseki.
Adun, owner of popular transport, Bob Izua Motors, said he would pay the appropriate taxes but would cry out if the taxes were too high.
According to him, “What made me resign from the party is because of their attitude. If anything happen to me, they know who to hold responsible. I am in a party that can destroy my house and send me away. I have to leave the APC.
“I resigned from the APC on my own volition. I am a member and leader of Kwankwasiyya movement in Edo APC. If the Senate President can declare to the PDP, who am I to say I will remain in the party.
I know that they can give me taxes to pay on my businesses. If they give me what I can pay, I will pay but if it is too big, I will cry out.
“All the Kwankwasiyya members held meetings and they said they have their mandate to say enough is enough. We are supporting Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso. He has defected to the PDP and we are working for him.”
Reacting, Special Adviser to Governor Obaseki on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, said the focus of Governor Obaseki was governance and getting the dividend of democracy to the ordinary Edo people.
According to him, “While Governor Obaseki holds every member of the political party in high esteem, his first loyalty is to the Edo masses. They are the ones whose mandate he carries and they always come first.”
Meanwhile, a former member, representing Ovia Federal Constituency, Mr. Isaac Osahon has denied his defection from the ruling party to rAPC.
Osahon, who spoke with journalists, said he couldn’t have defected from APC to rAPC who were members of Kwakwanso to PDP when he is aggrieved with party over certain happening which the party was already handling.
He listed the grievances as the scheming to deny him ticket in the party. He said persons from that same political bloc from his constituency had been to the House of Representatives for more than three times, and therefore, his own area should be allowed to go.
“To say that I have defected because of these complaints I am a member of the Kwankwassiya group is false.
“I intend to contest for the House of Representatives which I was in the past but was not allowed to continue.
“So these are the things my party the APC is handling. I could not have defected when the party is still handling the issues I raised,” Osahon declared.