Kwara ACN, PDP trade words over claimed defections

Date: 2013-05-07

CHIEFTAIN of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Kwara State, Mr. Dele Belgore (SAN), has described as a show of shame and admission of failure claims by the ruling PDP and its government that 2,500 ACN members defected because "Belgore failed to give them employment."

Belgore, who has denied the defection story, asked whether it was the duty of the opposition to provide job opportunities for the people or the government, which controls the machinery of the state and is charged with providing welfare for the citizens.

But the local PDP, through its secretary, Mr. Yemi Afolayan, described Belgore as a "frustrated man" struggling to rediscover his dwindling political career.

Both the government and the PDP have repeatedly taunted the opposition on the defection, which the ACN insisted was another lie from the PDP and its government.

In a statement by his media aide, Rafiu Ajakaye, Belgore said: "Our initial reaction is that nothing, however, shameful and debasing, is beyond a government now notorious for its lies and chicanery and whose every claim faces integrity test even from little kids."

He said the whole celebrations of the alleged defection raised questions about the seriousness, competence and thought process of the initiators of such self-defeating claims.

The statement reads: "We have been watching with amusement how the Kwara State Government, which claims to be performing and is popular, is wasting public funds in celebrating in the newspapers and on television the sponsored and contrived defection of some fictitious members of the opposition party.

"They even went to the ridiculous extent of sponsoring a statement that Mohammed Dele Belgore (SAN) promised the defectors employment, but he has reneged on that promise and that was the reason for their defection....

"Indeed, the celebration of so-called defection is a pitiable show by the PDP-led government and it raises a number of questions:

• If the so-called decampees' grouse is that they remain unemployed contrary to a promise that had been made to them, how and from where do such unemployed people get funds to sponsor the so-called defection ceremony and the various television and newspaper coverage it has received?

• Does this not suggest that they were sponsored? Certainly, the sponsorship would not have come from the party that they were defecting from. Whose responsibility is it — government or the opposition — to create jobs?

• Is it not only a shameless government that would be celebrating its own failure by saying someone else should have done what it is constitutionally charged to do?

• If the opposition does not exist in Kwara, as the government has repeatedly stated over the years, where did the so-called defectors numbering 2,500 from one single local council come from?

• Assuming even that there was in fact a real decampment, now that unemployment has been cited as the reason for it, what is the government doing to address that?

• Is the government going to create or offer jobs to the alleged 2,500 unemployed decampees or improve their lot in any meaningful and sustainable way beyond the handouts it has given to them to create the false media show of the decampment?

Belgore said, "the truth of the matter is that the PDP-led government in Kwara State has failed miserably and it continues to exhibit its failure and incompetence in embarrassing ways and this is one of such ways."

He added that, "beyond the usual window-dressings and MoU signings with bogus entities like so-called Vasolar Consortium about which nothing verifiable exists other than media publications from the MoU signing ceremony with KWSG, it has no meaningful achievement on record to date."

"Rather, it is fond of making false claims on its performance, from blatantly lying that it has constructed over 600 kilometres of road in the state, the embarrassing falsehood/contradictory statements on the so-called Shonga award, to claims that it has employed thousands of youths and is sharing prosperity even when youth restiveness, armed robbery, rampant killings have hit a record high in the state while poverty now walks on all four in the state so much that people are queuing in front of the Government House to beg for foods and shelter."

Belgore noted that there were numerous allegations of financial scandals by the immediate past and current PDP-led governments being (or are yet to be) investigated and the list continues to grow by the day.

"The government should keep itself busy in improving the lives of the people and in running an open and clean government," he said.

"It should stop chasing shadows and wasting public funds by bringing itself into further ridicule and odium by self-defeating and embarrassing media displays."

However, according to Afolayan in a statement, "the attention of our party (PDP) has been drawn to the tactless and belated response of the candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in the last gubernatorial election in the state, Muhammed Dele Belgore, SAN, to the defection of a number of his followers to the PDP."

"Belgore may have been frustrated by the depletion of his camp at a time he is battling to take over his party's machinery.

"Rather than treading on his known path of abuse and name-calling, the PDP had expected Belgore to deny knowing Abdulazeez Kasim and Titilayo Ojo, secretary and women leader of Muhammed Dele Belgore Forum, respectively. He dare not do that because he knows them well."

Afolayan said that by the defectors' confession, "Belgore must have, in his desperation to rule the state, a factor that is also today at the root of the crises in his party, deliberately deceived them with employment he knew he could not offer."

"The PDP refuses to join issues any longer with Belgore on this matter because we have the pictures of the defectors as well as their ACN cards and party register from their ward," he said.

"We advise Belgore to desist from deceit and self-delusion as Kwarans are wiser."

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