Defections hit Kwara PDP ahead of governorship polls
* as ANRP guber candidate backs APC
Over two thousand members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara state on Sunday defected to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), the second of such major exodus from the party in one week after the crushing defeat it suffered in the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
The mass defections took place in Taiwo area of Ilorin, led by Hon. Bamidele Aluko, a former House of Assembly member and a staunch foot soldier of Senator Bukola Saraki.
Meanwhile, the governorship candidate of the ANRP in Kwara state, Dr Abdulmumeen Yinka Ajia, has declared his support for APC candidate, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, saying the latter largely represents his dream about the state.
Ajia, a leading candidate with appreciable followers among the youth, said in a statement at the weekend in Ilorin that AbdulRazaq's victory will turn the page for the political history of Kwara.
Ajia also announced his immediate resignation from the ANRP and movement to the APC "because the situation in Kwara is really not about party but our struggle against retrogressive leadership as a people."
He called on his supporters to deliver their bloc votes for the APC candidate.
"I have also gone through his manifesto and I am assured that the progressive, people-centred Kwara that I envisioned can be kick-started under his leadership," Ajia added.
Aluko, leader of the decampees, was chairman of the Kwara United Football Club and the PDP leader in Badari Ward of Ilorin West, the most populated local government area of Kwara State.
Other top defectors included Alhaji Alao Abdulyekeen, another PDP top gun from Baboko area of Ilorin, and Akeem Dare, a youth leader from Balogun Fulani ward 1.
Also on Sunday in Ilorin, over 500 PDP members from Asa local government area joined the APC.
Leaders of the defectors said the outcome of the National Assembly elections was the clearest manifestation "that Kwarans have decided to reject and retire Senator Bukola Saraki for reasons of bad governance, oppression and non-inclusive leadership."
"Our people are tired. Salaries don't get paid in the true sense of the word and the infrastructure on the ground is not commensurate with the resources the state has received over the years. Worst still, people are tired of leaders who see everything from their own comfort zone," Aluko said at a reception held for them by the APC represented by Barrister Kunle Suleiman and Hon. Olawoyin Magaji.
"People are tired of the status quo. People are angry and fed up with dictatorial leadership and the result is what you just said."
The mass defection came a few days after over 500 PDP members from Osin Wara Osin Egbejila ward and others declared allegiance for the APC in Surulere area of the state capital, describing the party's governorship candidate AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq as the "Moses of our time who is changing the political history of the state."