The Peoples Democratic Party in the South-West on Wednesday reiterated its determination to dislodge the ruling All Progressives Congress in the future elections both in the zone and at the national level.
The PDP leaders stated this while receiving scores of defectors across the six states in the zone from the APC, Zenith Labour Party, Social Democratic Party and the African Democratic Congress, at the Mapo Hall in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The defection rally tagged, ‘PDP South-West Zonal Unification Rally,’ was attended by party stalwarts, including the former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP (South), Chief Olabode George, Chief Eddy Olafeso, Chief Shuabu
Oyedokun; former governor Ayodele Fayose, Segun Sowunmi, Dr Saka Balogun; and Mrs Mutiat Ladoja.
Also present at the occasion are Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State, Austin Akobundu, party’s Organising National Secretary, who represented the National Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, Prince Toyese Oyinlola; Senator Ademola Adeleke, Ladi Adebutu, Yemi Akinwonmi, Chief Oyewole Fasawe; Ayo Fadaka, and Prince Diran Odeyemi.
Among the defectors who were received into the party are former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola; a former deputy governor of Oyo State, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja; Ademola Ige, a former Secretary to the Osun State Government, Fatai Akinbade; Oladipupo Adetutu Kensington from Ogun State; Remi Oseni (Oyo) and Wale Adegoke (Oyo).
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State described the rally as the birth of unity in the South-West.
He said, “They said the rally should not hold because of coronavirus. It is their party that is infected with coronavirus. This is the beginning of unity in the South-West. The PDP is ready to do things according to the rule of law.”
Speaking on behalf of other defectors, Oyinlola, who addressed the rally in Yoruba language, lamented that the ruling APC deceived the South-West by presenting restructuring as its main agenda but failed to fulfill its promise.
Oyinlola said, “Those in leadership of the country are not doing the right things. There is a square peg in a round hole. They deceived us in the South-West with restructuring. When it is time for them to implement restructuring, they said they did not know the meaning of restructuring.
“Also, there is greed in their attitude. When the former Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, left office, she was replaced with a northerner. When they removed Ayo Oke (former Director General of National Intelligence Agency) they replaced him with a northerner. I want our people to know that it is time for restructuring of politics in the South-West. We can’t be working like an elephant but eat like an ant. Too much wisdom is dangerous. Don’t let us be too wise.”
On his part, George said the new dawn was being witnessed in the party.
He said, “The art of politics in the Western Region started from here (Ibadan). When you are going on a journey, go back to the very source so that you can get the blessing. Today, we are ready to sweep the whole of the South-West.”
The 2019 governorship candidate of the ADP in Lagos State, Babatunde Gbadamosi, said the PDP must stop the slavery that was being entrenched in Lagos under the APC-led governments in the past 21 years.
Gbadamosi said, “We need to give ourselves a fair chance of ending the slavery in Lagos once and for all. It has been 21 long years and we have another three years to go. Lagosians have endured deprivation, suffering, all dressed up and called progressivism. We have to end it at some point and there is no better time, than now.”
Former deputy governor of Osun State and former Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada, said, “We thank God that the PDP has returned to the South-West. I am happy today because Oyinlola is returning to the PDP.”
Meanwhile, the lawmaker representing Osun East Senatorial District, Francis Fadahunsi, on Wednesday, said the return of former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola to the Peoples Democratic Party signaled the end of the reign of the All Progressives Congress in the state and in Nigeria.
Fadahunsi, in a statement by his media aide, Sam Progress, noted that Oyinlola’s exit had negatively affected the PDP in Osun and, by extension, Nigeria.
The senator said the return of Oyinlola and his supporters to the PDP would give the needed energy and add to the leadership strength the party needed to return to its winning ways.
He urged Oyinlola to use his influence in Osun and the country to attract more people to the PDP.
“Oyinlola’s legacies remain the only government presence in many communities across Osun to date. Those communities will have to reciprocate that gesture by supporting the PDP.
“Those with grievances should forgive each other and be willing to sacrifice more, so as to work as a team in future election,” the statement added.