By Ariwodola Idowu
Ado Ekiti – The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti received a boost in membership on Friday when elected members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)defected to it.
No fewer than seven serving local government chairmen and 42 councillors elected on the platform of PDP joined the APC.
There are 177 elected councillors in the 16 local government areas of the state.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that they swapped the umbrella insignia of PDP for the broom symbol of APC at a rally at the Fajuyi Pavilion where they were received by Gov. Kayode Fayemi.
The local government chairmen who defected to APC along with their supporters, described Fayemi as a true leader who played inclusive politics.
Names of the council chairmen who dumped PDP are Ayodeji Daniel (Ekiti West), Abiodun Dada (Ijero), Yemi Ayeni (Ikere), Tunde Aladegbami (Ido/Osi), Sikiru Ogundana (Ekiti East), Olubayode Okeya (Emure) and Yemi Owoeye (Efon).
Fayemi was represented at the rally by his Chief of Staff, Mr Biodun Omoleye.
Other party chieftains present included the state APC Chairman, Mr Paul Omotoso and APC Southwest Zonal Publicity Secretary, Mr Oladapo Karonwi.
All the seven council chairmen who addressed the gathering, promised to work hard for their new party in future elections, especially the Dec. 7 Local Government Elections in the state.
One of the chairnen, Okeya, described Fayemi as “a real leader and a bridge builder who will go far in the politics of the country.”
Aladegbami said Fayemi had set a record in ensuring harmonious relationship between opposition parties and never deceived or coerced them to join APC.
He described Fayemi as a promise keeper, passionate about the development of Ekiti and better welfare for its people.
In his own comment, Ogundana advised the remaining local government chairmen still in PDP to accept the reality and cross over to APC which he described as the party Ekiti people were in love with
APC zonal spokesperson, Karonwi said the defectors had aken the best decision “by quitting PDP whose governance structures have collapsed irretrievably.”
Receiving the new members, the state party chairman, Omotoso, who described them as great assets, promised that they would not be discriminated against as they would enjoy same privileges with old members.
He said : “Nobody is a latecomer in our party, we are ready to accommodate you
“You have seen the light and you will never go back to darkness again and together, we will move Ekiti forward
“I want to say that our doors are still open to those who are still in opposition to join us, come over to APC the party of the people”.
Omotoso added that APC would give them a better platform to contribute to Ekiti development.
He urged them to join hands with the governor in taking Ekiti to greater heights.