Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti
A People’s Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker in the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Mr. Olanrewaju Olayanju, has defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC), citing cases of division and lack of decorum in his former party to justify his action.
Speaking with journalists in Ado Ekiti on Thursday, Olanrewaju stated that he took the action because the PDP is no longer a platform on which the dream of making his constituents better could be realised.
He was accompanied by the Speaker of the House of assembly, Mr Adeniran Alagbada, the state Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Paul Omotoso and his deputy, Mr Sola Elesin.
He described the suspension slammed on seven members of the assembly, including himself, by the PDP State Working Committee as an exercise in futility, saying that only the National Working Committee could exercise such power.
The Gboyega Oguntuase-led SWC had last week suspended the lawmakers for alleged anti-party activities.
Olanrewaju, Chairman, House Committee on Environment, said: “I was not coerced by anybody to join APC. I joined on my own.
“When I wanted to start politics, I began with PDP and now that the party has shattered, I have to move to a better party.”
He said he did not join APC because of the fight over a ticket, declaring that he was no longer interested in representing a party that had been personalised by an individual.
“I have reflected deeply on the whole situation and I have informed my constituency that my interest and the interest of my people can no longer be achieved in the PDP.
“The party is now in disarray, no leader to rally the party together. The leaders have destroyed the party through naked use of powers. The party is fictionalised and some leaders are saying members should vote for the opposition candidates.
“Also, since Governor Kayode Fayemi came on board, he has initiated projects that make people happy. On this strength, I, Hon Olanrewaju Olayanju, hereby declare my total loyalty for the APC-led government and the party with immediate effect.”
The lawmaker added that he would work assiduously for the success of President Muhammadu Buhari and other APC candidates in the coming elections.
In his response, the speaker said the fact that former governor Ayodele Fayose campaigned against the senatorial candidate of the party in the south district, Senator Biodun Olujimi was enough reason for people to leave the PDP.
He said he had no reason to declare Olanrewaju’s seat vacant, saying that he had not breached any law to warrant such.
“When I defected to APC even when Fayose was still the governor, my seat was not declared vacant. Once a party can no longer protect your interest, the best one can do is to go to a better party.
“Our colleague has bid the PDP, the land of Egypt bye bye and he will no longer return there.”
Justifying the defection, the State Chairman of the party, Omotoso, said cross-carpeting is allowed in the legislative arm, stating that all he needed to justify his action was proof of division in the former party, PDP.
“As we speak, we have Fayose’s and Olujimi’s faction. The party has not recovered from its crisis. It is not a provision of the law that there must be a secretariat of the other faction before one can decamp.
“The constitutional provision as to what constitutes a division in a party is ambiguous. It doesn’t mean that a fraction of a party must have a secretariat because division can come in diverse ways.”