The Ekiti State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) welcomed to its fold about 500 political appointees and elected officials who served under the first and second terms of former Governor Ayodele Fayose.
The defectors were received on behalf of Governor Kayode Fayemi and the leadership of the party by the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Adeniran Alagbada.
They declare their loyalty to APC and promised to ensure the triumph of President Muhammadu Buhari in next year’s presidential poll as well as the successes of other APC candidates for the state and Federal assemblies.
Speaking at the Fajuyi Hall in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, Alagbada, who defected to APC prior to the July 14 governorship election, assured the new defectors that they would be treated with respect in the new party.
He said the APC is a party that preaches equality in ranks and opportunities between the old and new members.
The Speaker added that all their outstanding severance allowances since 2003 would be paid, in line with the promise by Governor Fayemi.
He said this was among the reasons for the defections.
“I have spoken with Governor Fayemi; he assured me that he will put smiles on your faces. You struggled hard under the PDP-led government of Governor Fayose but nothing was done.
“But we have a governor who is responsive and responsible. He listened to your plight and he was ready to fight for you. He was ready to pay your allowances, despite the fact that you were members of the opposition.
“When I met the governor, he told me that whether you defect or not, he would pay, and that he had instructed the council chairmen to begin the processes that would fast-track the payment.
“Your defecting to APC only means that you believe in what Governor Fayemi has been doing. Within two weeks he assumed office, the governor abrogated the compulsory taxes being paid in the state’s public and private primary and secondary schools and declared free education up to secondary level.
“This is the kind of governor we must be electing in Ekiti, a governor who knows how to empower his people, not the one who would pauperise and enslave them the way Fayose did.”
Kehinde Aduloju, from Ado Local Government Area, said they were fascinated by Fayemi’s sterling leadership qualities to defect to the ruling party.
He regretted that during their stay in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), they did not really gain any political dividend from the party.
He alleged that the promises the former ruling party made to him and his colleagues were not fulfilled.
Aduloju said: “Today, bigwigs, like Senator Raji Rasaki, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, Adeniran Alagbada, Gboyega Aribisogan, Sunday Akinniyi and many others are in APC.
“We have resolved that wherever Governor Fayemi goes, we shall follow him. He is one governor who has listening ears: he is receptive to corrections and even criticisms.
“We have nothing to fear in APC because the way Prince Adeyeye was given the APC senatorial ticket few days after defection shows that APC remains a good party.”
He added that the PDP had become a deserted house whose structures would soon collapse.