A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State, Iyiola Oyedepo, has spoken on his decision to dump the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after Senate President, Bukola Saraki and supporters joined the party.
The former Kwara PDP chairman, who recently defected to the APC, lamented that his former party gave 60 per cent of the state structure to Saraki.
Oyedepo also spoke on negotiations with APC leader, Bola Tinubu, to ensure that he and others who crossed to the platform are integrated.
Oyedepo told Guardian: “We are under oppression in Kwara State. We have to clear Kwara before we can face Nigeria. We are complaining about Kwara. The only issue is Bukola Saraki. We do not pretend about that.
“He is an issue, because this is one person that is sure to anoint councillors, lawmakers, both state and National Assembly. Besides, Saraki is fond of shifting. He shifted from ANPP in 2003 to PDP. In 2013, he shifted from PDP to APC; today he has shifted from APC to PDP.”
He lamented that only four of his executives were left behind, including the woman leader, the deputy chairman, treasurer and the youth leader, stressing that virtually all the council chairmen of the party are intact with them in APC.
“When Bukola Saraki decided to move from APC to PDP, we believed that he has already infiltrated the party. He has more or less provided some sort of stench that may make the party become an unwarranted instrument that can change anything in Kwara State. And necessarily because our politics is different from his, we had to leave their party,” he stated.
“PDP said anybody coming to PDP with governor will have 60 per cent and those that have been piloting the affairs of the party for a long time will only have 40 per cent. Another obnoxious policy is that whoever decamps from APC to PDP will be given automatic ticket.
“The governor decamped, even if he can no longer run any term, three senators decamped, six members of the House of Representatives decamped, almost 24 members of the House of Assembly decamped, 16 council chairman decamped, if those people are to be given automatic tickets, what therefore remains for those of us who had been piloting the affairs of that party for a long time. So we had to leave.
“But, not because of that alone, even if we were given all those slots and Senator Saraki would still come, we will have a moral burden to be with him, because for a long time, we had been telling the whole world that he has not been able to govern well, infrastructure in Kwara State has collapsed, hospitals are not there, no medication and no personnel, educational institution is not a thing we can be proud of, poverty is everywhere and these are the things that we have been telling the general public about the same misgovernance.
“Now if we have to be in the same party with Saraki, we will have a moral burden. That explains why we believe that even if we were given 100 per cent of the slots, we still do not want him behind us because it is not going to be something we can explain to the people.
“We have also held series of meetings with the national chairman and some top leaders of APC. We have even invited Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is the national leader. We have been meeting with the party leadership to make sure that we integrate fully into the party. New congresses would soon be held and we hope to enjoy full participation. Luckily, when we came in, we could not meet any substantive executive, because they were headed by Balogun-Fulani, which was dissolved, we only met a caretaker committee headed by Bashir Bolarinwa.
“Registration would be done probably within one week, after that primaries will be held and leaders will emerge and everything we have, we are not losing anything, it makes the platform to be more credible because incidentally when Saraki and the governor were leaving, many people decided not to go with them. Not less than 85 per cent of our people followed me to APC. If you had 85 per cent with the people in APC before, the party is richer now.”