Speaker, 21 Lawmakers in Kwara Assembly Defect from PDP to APC
23 Jan 2014
• APC disowns state interim chairman
By Onyebuchi Ezigbo and Hammed Shittu
Twenty-two lawmakers, including the Speaker out of 24 former members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Kwara State House of Assembly yesterday publicly defected from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the floor of the assembly.
However, Hon. Ilyas Ibrahim representing Malete/ Ipaye/ Oloru state constituency and Hon. Fatai Salman, representing Ilorin north state constituency, who are currently on suspension for three months, have vowed to remain in the PDP until further notice.
THISDAY had exclusively reported two weeks ago that the 23 lawmakers in the assembly would soon dump the PDP for APC as soon as they resumed from their Yuletide recess.
Before the defection, the Speaker, Hon. Razak Atunwa, had read a letter dated January 10 written by the lawmakers to the Speaker that based on the division and factionalisation in the PDP and also based on the provisions of section 109 sub section (1)(g), they have decided to leave the PDP and join the APC with immediate effect.
The Deputy Speaker, Muhammed Yisa Gana, in his comment, said he decided to dump the PDP for APC in view of the division within the PDP.
Gana, who represents Patigi constituency in the assembly said he had contacted all stakeholders in his constituency and they had approved his defection to the APC with immediate effect.
Similarly, the Majority Leader, Hon. Abdulkarrem Abdulganiyu (Ifelodun/Oke-Ode constituency), who corroborated Gana’s comment said he decided to dump the PDP for APC “for the good people of my constituency.”
He said: ”I am leaving the PDP for APC due to the division in my former party, PDP and this is done in consultations with my people and they have approved my defection without further delay.”
Hon. Liman Saidu representing Edu state constituency (Chief Whip) said: “I hereby notify the members of the public that I was formally elected under the platform of PDP but due to division in the PDP, I change my platform to APC as from today.”
All the other lawmakers publicly aligned with the comments of their defected colleagues and announced their formal declaration for the APC.
Based on this, Atunwa noted that “it is clear that from 30th August, 2013, when a number of delegates from several states walked out of the Eagle Square Convention to hold a parallel PDP convention at the Yar’Adua Centre, factions were established. All media reports since then are awash with reference to either the Baraje faction commonly referred to as New PDP or the Bamanga Tukur faction.”
He said: “In view of this, I and the rest of the members who belonged to the new PDP faction have formally changed party to the APC, and this is permitted by the provision in section 109(1)(g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The decision to leave the PDP was not made without thorough evaluation and extensive consultations and it was abundantly clear that PDP was fast becoming a sinking ship inhabited by self-serving egomaniacs.”
The speaker said: “The PDP was being run in an entirely dictatorial manner. The party’s constitution was relegated to the back-end of the bottom drawer in the janitor’s room. PDP matters were wholly subjected to the whims and caprices of the chairman; governors were being suspended on the flimsiest of excuses, national officers were being suspended and removed without rhyme or reason and PDP became an uncontrollable demon.”
Atunwa fiurther said “all efforts aimed at resolving the differences between the factions were systemically frustrated and this left us with no other option than to join the APC.”
In another development, the two APC lawmakers, who had been in the assembly for almost three years from Offa Local Government Area of the state, Hon. Hassan Oyeleke and Hon. Tope Olaniyomu, welcomed the defecting lawmakers for taking such a bold step.
They said the defection of the 22 lawmakers from PDP to APC had gladdened our hearts and it shows that they have moved with the current change in the political development of the country.”
Meanwhile, the APC had asked Reverend Bunmi Olusona, to desist from acting as the interim chairman of the party in the state.
In a letter signed by its Interim National Secretary, Alhaji Tijani Tumsah, and made available to THISDAY yesterday, the party said it had not inaugurated the interim executive committee in the state.
“Our attention has been drawn to one Rev. Bunmi Olusona, who is parading himself as the Interim Chairman of the APC in Kwara State. We hereby state that our party has not inaugurated the interim executive committee in Kwara State, and that the APC stakeholders in the state are working to find a convenient date for the inauguration.”
APC further explained in the letter that the governor of the state had been given the responsibility of nominating the interim chairman.
“Therefore, anyone currently parading himself as the Interim Chairman of the APC in Kwara State is nothing but an impostor who should be ignored by all. Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and all security agencies should please take note, “ it added.