Some prominent members of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ondo State on Tuesday defected from the party to the All Progressives Congress, raising doubts over the possibility of reconciling aggrieved members of the party ahead of the coming elections.
Leading the pack is Mr. Femi Agagu, a former Chief of Staff to the late former Governor, Olusegun Agagu, who stated that they left the PDP to bring change to the state.
Going with him are a former Commissioner for Works, Mr. Latin Ayeni; a former Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr. Norman Sule, and a former Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Tola Aworh.
Besides the defection of former commissioners, who served in the cabinet of the late Agagu, two former Speakers of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Victor Olabintan and Taofeek Abdulsalam, also announced their defection to the APC.
A one-time governorship candidate of the Alliance for Democracy, Mr. Bankole Oluwajana, also switched allegiance to the APC.
They were received along with their supporters at the APC state secretariat along Oyemekun Road in Akure.
They pledged their support for the emergence of APC presidential candidate, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, and his running mate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, in the February 14 presidential election.
Speaking on behalf of the defectors, Mr. Femi Agagu said they took the decision after lengthy sessions of consultation with friends, political associates as well as their supporters across the 203 wards of the state.
He said, “Today is indeed a watershed in the political history of Ondo State. Never before have so many notable people chosen to desert a political party at the same time like this. We have also received the confidence of distinguished elder statesmen, non-political young and elderly citizens, who are concerned about the future of our dear state and country.
“There are several reasons for our decision but most important is the obvious fact that Nigeria needs change and Ondo State, a new direction. We need change, which is the burden of good, honest, diligent, prepared, tested and competent leadership.
“Change, which is a mission to a destination of greatness, where our state and nation ought to be. Change from broken promises, broken infrastructure, broken confidence, broken trust, broken leadership and broken future, all from which our people daily and consistently suffer.
“We also need change to ensure Ondo State people are not left behind in the current movement for a new direction and path for the greatness of Nigeria. At this juncture, it is our conviction that Ondo State people are progressive in nature and would fare better in a party that has progressive ideologies and focused leadership.
“As from today, we make available our sprawling structures, our minds and capabilities, our assets and experiences as well as our prayers and goodwill, for our new party, APC, towards the actualisation of the God ordained, beneficial and messianic election of General Muhammadu Buhari and Professor Yemi Osinbajo as President and Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria respectively come February 14, 2015.”
APC State Chairman, Isaac Kekemeke, said the calibre of the people that were defecting to the party signaled to the world that change had come to the state.