No fewer than 25,000 members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday decamped to Accord Party in Lagos State, stating that that they were aggrieved at the culture of impunity in the state chapter of the party which denied Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and many other aspirants a level playing field for the party’s tickets.
This is just as the aggrieved APC members immediately adopted governorship candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Jimi Agbaje as their preferred candidate for the governorship polls. The defectors, who came from the state’s 20 local governments at a well-attended ceremony which took place at Lagos Airport Hotel, cheered as the candidate of Accord Party, Engineer Joseph Ola Beckley said he was standing down for Agbaje in the governorship election.
Witnesses to the carnivallike ceremony included Agbaje, his running mate, Mrs. Haleemat Oluwayemisi Busari, recently defected former Lagos State Commissioner for Power, Mr. Wale Oluwo, a former Lagos State Commissioner for Housing, Alhaji Rahman Owokoniran and the PDP Lagos Chairman, Dr. Adegbola Dominic.
The defectors, who described themselves as “Aggrieved Members of the APC” were led by a chieftain of the party, Mr. Sunday Ajayi. Ajayi said they decided to dump APC for Accord Party due to widespread impunity perpetrated by the leadership of APC. Addressing a crowd of faithful, including chieftains of the PDP and the Accord Party, Ajayi stated “we, the leaders of the Aggrieved APC, have decided to bid byebye to the APC over the reign of impunity being carried out by the party in the state.” Ajayi accused the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, of committing gross impunity against membership through imposition of candidates on the APC, saying, the era of one-man rule in the state had gone.
He said: “Until now, we were members of the APC; but today we have decided to dump the party with our teeming members, numbering about 25,000 from across all the local government areas of Lagos State,” he said, adding, “The reason for the defection of our members is not farfetched. We are all living witnesses to how the APC conducted its primaries to pick its candidate. You will agree with me that the process was far from being free and fair to all members of the party.
You can imagine the treatment that they gave our amiable Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode.What happened to the Governor is rather unprecedented. It has never happened before that a sitting Governor would be prevented from getting a second term. “When the people asked, the excuse they gave was that although the man worked, he didn’t do well as a party man. The question now is: Was Ambode not a party man before they picked him as the party’s candidate in 2015? We are tired of this high level of impunity in the APC and we have opted to leave the party for them.”