Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Cracks within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun State, widened on Tuesday, as ‘aggrieved’ members of the party, formally announced their defection to the Alliance for Democracy (AD) ahead of the 2019 elections.
The defected party members, who were chiefly supporters of Sen. Solomon Adeola, listed “politics of exclusion and undemocratic practices”, as their main reasons for defecting to AD.
Adeola, otherwise known as Yayi and currently representing Lagos West in the National Assembly, reportedly opted out of the governorship race in Ogun State on the platform of APC.
Addressing reporters at the Ogun State NUJ Secretariat, Oke Ilewo, Abeokuta, the defectors under the aegis of De-Democrats, further claimed that they were schemed out of the APC due to the alleged undemocratic practices of Governor Ibikunle Amosun.
Speaking on behalf of the decamped members, Hon. Adekunle Adesina, said various attempts to get justice had not received favourable response from the national leadership of the party.
Adesina, who is the immediate past Ogun Central Senatorial chairman of APC, explained further that with over 40,000 members spread across the 236 wards, the group also have members in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) who supported Adeola’s ambition.
“It is important to state at this point in time that Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, popularly known as Yayi, has decided to excuse himself from the governorship race in order to avoid engineering any crisis in the Ogun State APC.
“However, we members of De-Democrats are determined to continue our agitation for internal party democracy and majority rule in the politics of Ogun State. One of such undemocratic practices of the governor is the unilateral removal of seven party chairmen who were duly elected at the 2014 party congress.
“Despite all the assurances given by the national leadership of the party, nothing has been done to intervene. In furtherance of our engagement with the national leadership of the party, an open letter was written to the National Reconciliation Committee of the APC headed by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
“Having exhausted all avenues to find redress within the APC without any success, members of the APC De-Democrats have decided to take their destiny in their hands.
“Consequently, we unanimously resolved to exit the APC to a more democratic political platform which was one of the foundations of the current democratic organization being enjoyed in the country.
“The Alliance for Democracy is a foundation player in the current Republic and has also been at the helm of affairs in Ogun State and other South West states with developmental achievements and unblemished records”. Adesina stated.
Meanwhile, there was a mind drama earlier when a detachment of armed policemen stormed the venue before the commencement of activities, allegedly in a bid to stop the defection.
The operatives, numbering about 40 and led by the Area Commander, Abeokuta, arrived about 7:26a.m in four patrol vehicles.
However, the policemen later left the secretariat after the state Police Commissioner, Ahmed Iliyasu, and Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, were said to have intervened and reached an understanding with the NUJ Chairman, Comrade Wole Shokunbi.