23 APC lawmakers in the Kwara State House of Assembly have defected to opposition party PDP, citing harassment, intimidation and “arbitrary use of government institutions” as grievances.
Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
All but one of the 24 members of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-controlled Kwara State House of Assembly have defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Reading from a speech he personally signed on the floor of the Assembly in Ilorin yesterday; the Speaker, Dr. Ali Ahmad, said that the move was permitted by the proviso to section 109 (1) (g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The speaker, who said that he heaved a sigh of relief as he and other lawmakers dumped APC for good, added that he wished he was never a member of the party.
“As politicians, who allow the interests and welfare of their constituents to occupy the front seats, wide consultations have been made with people at the grassroots and in all of these is the indication that our people have become disillusioned with our continuous membership of the APC and have spoken loud and clear enough and in one voice that they no longer wish to continue to be strange bedfellows in that party where non-performance, injustice and impunity are the orders of the day. Accordingly, let it be on record that I too have joined the Peoples Democratic Party PDP’’.
The speaker, who lamented experiences while in APC, said that, “unarguably, the intrigues and power play that birthed the long drawn legal battle with key members of the APC over fathom allegations coupled with the arbitrary use of government institutions such as the police and anti-corruption agencies for harassment and intimidation of perceived opponents of people in power since APC assumed power, has dealt a heavy blow to governance. This act of illegality has turned the once great Nigeria to object of ridicule among the comity of nations.
“With the current unprecedented spate of disobedience to court rulings, the present administration at the national level has redefined governance as government of the cabal and for the cabal thereby throwing the rule of law, the bedrock of democracy, to the dogs,” he lamented.
Meanwhile, the only APC lawmaker in the Assembly, Saheed Popoola, representing Ojomu/Balogun Constituency has threatened to go to court over allegations of forgery and issuance of dude cheque levelled against him by the house.
Speaking with journalists in his office, Popoola said: “As I’m talking to you, Mr Festus Keyamo SAN, is on his way to Ilorin, for the details of this matter. I have to take them to court over these allegations levelled against me.”
Popoola also explained that he could not defect with other lawmakers to the PDP as requested because his constituency was against it.
He said: ”They made the overtures to go to PDP to me and I needed to consult with my constituency and after the consultations, I was told to stay back in APC and not to follow them to PDP. So,I don’t have any other choice than to heed the voice of my constituency who put me here”
“My election must interest you. I won in all the forty polling units in my constituency with over 10,000 votes, while my opposition polled less that 1000 votes. So,I have a lot of respects for my constituency, above every other person or consideration because that is my root” he said.
However, the lawmaker noted that he had nothing personal against the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, adding that its only that he had to obey the dictate of the people of his constituency.
Popoola added that change in Kwara is achievable now, saying “Let me tell you God forbid, if God wants to contest in Kwara, he would prefer, Dr Bukola Saraki as his candidate, but with what we have today we can achieve our much desired change we have been yearning for in Kwara State over the years.“
The lawmaker also described as politics, the allegations of dude cheque and forged certificates levelled against him.
“Elections are coming and so politics is in the air. The cheque in question is dated 2018 over a matter that happened in 2013 when I was commissioner for sports.
“The director of finance in that ministry who reportedly claimed that I gave him dude cheque; would he had collected it then if I had post-dated it to 2018?