From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
The former Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), in Ekiti State, Dr Tope Aluko, on Monday defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Aluko, one of the bigwigs of the PDP, was a known loyalist of the former governor Ayodele Fayose.
The APC State Chairman, Hon Paul Omotoso, formally received Aluko into the party at Ward B Secretariat, in Iyin Ekiti, Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Area of the state.
Addressing the party leaders, Aluko said: ‘If you are from Iyin Ekiti, you will know that Governor Kayode Fayemi really favoured us in elective and appointive positions, so I am coming to add value to this party. I am not here to cause trouble.
‘They have given me the guidelines and I am ready to abide by it in the interest of discipline in our party.’
Aluko, who added that his defection won’t affect his relationship with Fayose, whom he described as a mentor, brother and friend said:
‘In December last year, I told the former Governor that I want to settle down in Iyin Ekiti and play my politics. And with what Governor Fayemi has done for us here, the APC remains the only party here and I have to join the train. I told him I will be joining APC and he approved of it. So, this defection won’t strain our relationship in any way.’
He added further: ‘I can boldly say that the APC remains the only party to align with at this present time. All Tope Aluko followers are currently registering into APC and I am happy to be part of the moving train.
‘I can beat my chest and say I am in safe hands as APC is lucky to be in the hands of focused leaders like Governor Fayemi, Otunba Niyi Adebayo and others in the state.’
Aluko commended President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Fayemi for what he called selfless services they are rendering to the country, describing the duo as leaders without corruption and blemish.
Tactically alluding to Fayemi’s rumoured presidential ambition, Aluko said: ‘We must win the 2022 governorship in Ekiti and the 2023 presidential elections for APC. After that, Governor Fayemi must be moved to the next level.’
Receiving the defectors, the APC State Chairman, Paul Omotoso, said he was happy to receive Aluko into the party, saying he is not just an ordinary member, but a “big fish”.
He urged members to be steadfast in their support to APC by avoiding unwarranted discrimination that can create cleavages in the party.
‘No new joiners in APC. We are all equal and you start benefiting the very day you join us, so nobody would discriminate against you.
‘For the sake of clarification, Tope Aluko had for long been in APC, this ceremony is just a formality. I know our people in the opposition are rattled by this defection because his decamping into APC will affect them adversely.
‘Please, I plead with our members, don’t treat him and his people like strangers. Be open to them, treat them with respect because he is very influential. He has now become a bonafide member of our party and we know he will deliver and add value.’