The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Thursday harvested tens of thousands of defectors from opposition political parties in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.
The defectors were led by dozens of erstwhile generals of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Social Democratic Party (SDP), New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), and African Democratic Congress (ADC), among others.
They all attested to the impressive performance of the AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq administration in education, healthcare, workers’ welfare, rural-urban infrastructural development, women and youth empowerment, and safety nets for the poor and the vulnerable.
The Banquet Hall, Ilorin, venue of the event, and its expansive precincts were filled to the brim as the defectors drawn from the north, south and central districts of Kwara filed to the hall in a carnivalesque atmosphere.
They were received by Governor AbdulRazaq with several top government officials and party chieftains such as the Kwara All Progressives Congress (APC) Chairman, Sunday Fagbemi, and the Director General of the APC Campaign, Alhaji Yahaya Seriki, among others.
The big fishes among the defectors included former Deputy Speaker under PDP, Hon. Mathew Okedare; former Commissioner for Tertiary Education under PDP Mr Abdullahi Alikinla; former Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mr Musa Yeketi; Personal Assistant to the 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 Affairs, Hon. Bolakale Ajanaku; Chief Olabode Oyedepo popularly called Bode Deway; SDP House of Assembly aspirant from Offa, Mr. Ahmed Akorede; Hon. Dolapo Hamza; Hon. Ahmad Solagberu; PDP House of Representatives 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, among others.
Officially welcoming the defectors, AbdulRazaq congratulated the new members of APC for their decision and assured 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.
“They came up with a slogan – ‘O Suwa’ (We are fed up). They are truly shameless for comparing their 16 years to our three and a half years in office. They boast of constructing a fly-over bridge at the post office. They are liars. They never told Kwarans that the federal government funded the project. The same thing applies to Ilesha Baruba – Chikanda road construction and the Airport.
“We are building huge projects with our own money as an administrator while delivering basic amenities to our people, including workers’ welfare. We cannot entrust the future of our state to those who once ruined a bank. They will destroy our state, if we make that mistake. Let them know that you’re not tired of good government and steady spread of infrastructure across the state,” the governor told the mammoth crowd.
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.
Fagbemi said Kwarans have all seen the huge gap between the past and present administrations in terms of inclusive growth and good governance, and have vowed never to allow the state to go backward.
He said the comeback bid of PDP was targeted at denying the citizens what they are already enjoying under AbdulRazaq, restating the government’s scorecards across sectors.
The 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.
“This is a party for everyone. We all own Kwara together and we must reward Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq for his hard work, dedication and exemplary leadership. Kwarans are not tired of measurable progress and development they see under this government. We will all come out en masse to campaign for the victory of APC,” he said.
The defectors took turns to explain why they left their parties to embrace APC, calling Governor AbdulRazaq an architect of a new Kwara.
Okedare, who also defected, said they never knew that they were in darkness under the PDP-led administration until recently, stating that Governor AbdulRazaq has demonstrated the capacity to lead.