Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN (2nd right), his Deputy, Hon. (Mrs) Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire (right) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) flag with theChairman, APC, Lagos State, Otunba Henry Ajomale (2nd left) handing over the All Progressives Congress (APC), former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members – Prince Segun Adeyemi (left) and Chief (Mrs) Oluwole (middle) during the declaration of former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chieftains and other members who defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the Party Secretariat, ACME Road, on Saturday, November 29, 2014.
Even as the President and leader of the nation’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, was still in Lagos on a visit, hundreds of his party leaders and members in the state, Saturday, 29th November, 2014 abandoned the party and declared for the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The defectors, who were led by a one time chieftain of the PDP in the state, Dr. Abayomi Finnih, were received at the Acme Road secretariat of the APC in a colourful ceremony which was graced by prominent party leaders and members including the state Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN.
In his remarks while welcoming the new members, Governor Fashola described the defection of the former PDP members at a time their leader was in the state as both a great coincidence and a sign that all was not well in the party which, according to him, was rapidly heading for a great fall.
The Governor, who noted that the PDP had lost governors, senators and other elected persons in the National Assembly without going to an election, told the capacity audience, “When you see former governors, national office holders and so on and so forth leaving in droves even when the leader of the party is in town, it is a great coincidence but it is also a sign that the giant is beginning to fall.
“For me, it is interesting that a party loses five governors without going to an election. It is worth the Guinness Book of Records entry. And it will interest you that things are no longer well in that party. They lose governors, they lose senators and without going to an election they lose leaders of the House”, he said.
Governor Fashola explained that, in spite of the apparent belligerence of the opposition party in the state, the APC does not regard them as enemies but fellow contestants in an election adding, “They are our opponents and we will continue to defeat them in elections in which a fair contest is made possible”.
Frowning at the use of such belligerent words as ‘capture’ and ‘fall’ in their campaigns in Lagos, the Governor declared, “For us it is an election and we want to win. We are not slaves here and we will not be captured by any people, any party or any government.
“For us the time to change the management of Nigeria’s government is upon us. Those who have been entrusted with that responsibility have demonstrated a lack of capacity to do so. We need a fresh pair of hands, a fresh pair of eyes and a fresh set of minds to reappraise Nigeria’s problems”,
The governor stated further that the party best suited to do so is the All Progressives Congress.
Governor Fashola, who asserted that the APC has recorded tremendous success and performance in the states under it against all odds, cited the funding, equipping, fueling and maintenance of the police force in the state, a Federal Government responsibility, as an example of the APC success.
He also recapped the pronouncement of the leader of the former PDP members, Dr. Abayomi Finnih, who in his remarks earlier said the neglect of Lagos by the party he used to belong to was no longer tolerable, adding that the state has benefitted nothing from the ruling party in the last 16 years.
Pointing out that no citizen of the state has been appointed Minister during that period, Governor Fashola asked the former PDP members, “What have you got after 16 years? Do you have a Minister representing this state? And when they choose a Minister they choose somebody outside the state”.
The Governor, however, assured them that the party would as much as possible, make the political space a most welcome place for them adding, “We will give you as much opportunity to participate, there will be as much level playing field as possible and that is the commitment the leaders have resolved and I want to share this with you”.
Urging the new members to put the interest of the APC above their personal interests, the Governor declared, “I have met with your leaders and I have spoken with them that as we converge together our party’s interest must be bigger than our individual interests. It is only when we bake a cake that we apportion bits of it. All of us must work together”.
Welcoming the former opposition members, he state Chairman of the APC, Otunba Henry Ajomale, said the APC was determined to turn around the affairs of the country pointing out that in the history of human existence, evil has never triumphed over good.
“The economy of the country is in shambles. APC has warned the ruling Party against this recession but they have failed to listen. We cannot continue to do things the same way and expect to get good results. APC must teach them how to lead. Things must change. The government in Abuja must go now”, he said.
Earlier, while introducing the former PDP members to the new party, their leader, Dr. Abayomi Finnih said their decision to join the APC was based on several considerations some of which include lack of internal democracy in the PDP and the continued neglect of Lagos by the ruling party.
Describing the PDP as a colossal disappointment, Dr. Finnih said APC has demonstrated good governance in all the states under its administration describing the administration in Lagos State as a clear manifestation of what the APC represents. “We are happy to be associated with APC which is a true party of progressives and we will add value to the party”,he said.
The state Deputy Governor, Hon. Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire was among party chieftains who received the defectors.
Some of the defectors apart from Dr Finnih include: former Deputy Governor of the State, Alhaji Rafiu Jafojo; pioneer Women Leader of PDP in Lagos, Chief (Mrs.) Nike Oluwole popularly called Iya Laje; former Secretary of Lagos PDP and hitherto close ally of Chief Bode George, Tunde Daramola; ex-National Auditor of the PDP and former member of the National Population Commission (NPC), Otunba Sabiu Okanlanwon; and Prince Segun Adeyemi among others.