A rash of mass defection hit the ruling Peoples Democratic Party,PDP, across the country on Tuesday, few weeks to the February general election.
In Ondo State, the crisis that has engulfed the party since the State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko defected from the Labour Party to PDP got to its head when Femi Agagu, former Chief of Staff and younger brother to late Governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Agagu, led thousands of other party faithfuls to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Agagu defected alongside the former Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Taofiq Olawale Abdusalam; Dr. Adeluse Obe, Dr. Banji Ajaka, Hon. Victor Olabimtan, Segun Adagunodo, Laitan Ayeni, Otunba Rasak Isijola, Kunle Adebayo, Abiodun Jerome, Bukola Tenabe, Eni Akinsule, Tolu Fadahunsi, Ola Ilesanmi, Jones Akinyugha, Jide Ipinsagba, Tola Wewe and Akin Aibinuomo, as well as thousands of other party members.
Agagu said during the defection that “We have resolved to embrace change which the APC represents and drum support for the victory of General Muhammadu Buhari and Prof. Yemi Osinbajo as well as all the candidates of the party.
“We took this decision after lengthy sessions of consultation with friends, political associates as well as supporters in all the 203 wards of the state.
“We have also received the confidence of distinguished elder statesmen, non political young and elderly citizens, who are concerned about the future of our dear state and country.
“Today is indeed a watershed in the political history of Ondo State. Never before have so many notable people chosen to leave a political party at the same time like this.
“There are several reasons for our decision, but most important is the obvious fact that Nigeria needs change and Ondo State, a new direction. We need change, which is the burden of good, honest, diligent, prepared, tested and competent leadership.
“Change, which is a mission to a destination of greatness, where our state and nation ought to be.
“Change from broken promises, broken infrastructures, broken confidence, broken trust, broken leadership and broken future, all from which our people suffer.
“We also need change to ensure Ondo State people are not left behind in the current movement for a new direction and path for the greatness of Nigeria.
“At this juncture, it is our conviction that Ondo State people are progressive in nature and would fare better in a party that has progressive ideologies and focused leadership.”
Our correspondent gathered that thousands of aggreived PDP members in the state including key loyal aides of Governor Olusegun Mimiko defected to the APC.
Elsewhere in Abuja, about seven PDP senators dumped the party for others ahead of the general election.
Senators that defected from the PDP to other political parties as the Senate reconvened for 2015, are Atiku Bagudu, Barnabas Gemade, Bassey Otu, Helen Esuene, Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman, Mohammed Magoro and Ita Enag.
The decision of some of the senators to defect to opposition parties such as the Labour Party, Peoples Progressives Alliance and the All Progressive Congress was the fall out of the PDP primaries, which was allegedly hijacked by some state governors in conjunction with the national leadership of the PDP.
Senator Bagudu joined the APC and was given the ticket to contest the governorship election on the party’s platform, while Senator Magoro joined the APC to pick the senatorial ticket for Kebbi South Senatorial District.
Also, Senator Esuene, who is among G22 aggrieved governorship aspirants in Akwa Ibom State, dumped the PDP over perceived injustice.
Senator Otu was also denied the party’s ticket for re-election for Cross River Southern Senatorial District and has settled for the Labour Party senatorial ticket in the state.
In addition, Senator Abatemi-Usman has also picked the PPA senatorial ticket for Kogi East Senatorial District in Kogi State, while a former National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Barnabas Gemade, settled for the APC’s senatorial ticket in Benue State after series of battles with the Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswan, who snatched the ticket from Gemade.