A member of the House of Representatives representing Owo/Ose Federal Constituency of Ondo State, Bode Ayorinde, has disclosed how federal lawmakers elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were lured to dump the party for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Ayorinde, speaking on Tuesday at a stakeholders meeting and flag-off ceremony for his campaign in Owo area of the state, said a series of meetings planned by the duo of Senate President Bukola Saraki and House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogora, were held at different locations in Abuja where they perfected their defection from APC to PDP.
Speaking on the moves that led to the mass defection of the lawmakers, Ayorinde said: “We held a series of meetings on how to move this country forward since the ‘Change’ agenda that the APC-led government promised the people of this country seems to be a total scam and nothing is working.
“Senate President Bukola Saraki chaired the meeting; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogora was there, as well as the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal and many other former senators. They felt the need to change the man in government, who is not making things work perfectly.
“Later, they called about 34 of us at the House of Representatives to come into the meeting where a group was formed, while they also called on 15 rebel senators to join us. We held no less than 59 meetings, planning and strategising on our breaking away from the ruling APC. We all contemplated on whether to form a new party or join an existing one.”
The Ondo Federal lawmaker further explained that three political parties — Social Democratic Party (SDP), African Democratic Congress (ADC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) — were suggested to them during their meetings.
“We called on the leaders of these political parties to come and talk to us on how they can develop the country if we moved en masse into their fold. It was Professor Adediran who led those from SDP to come and convince us that we should defect to their party while talks were ongoing. It was Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola who led those from the camp of the ADC, and he begged us to join because it is Baba Obasanjo’s political party and that if we join, we can join them to move Nigeria forward.
“And for the PDP, it was the National Chairman of the umbrella party, Mr. Uche Secondus, who led the team of about 20 people to convince us about the PDP. We now sat down and looked into the strengths of these parties, then, we asked them what they would do for us if we joined them. However, they asked us to pen down what we wanted from them.
“Then, we went back and wrote that we wanted the security agencies to be more strengthened, so as to tackle the security challenges in the nation such as the herdsmen crisis, Boko Haram and others, for peace to reign.
“We also demanded that they provide jobs/employment in all senatorial districts of the nation in order for the youth to be gainfully employed and leave the streets. Also, we told them that we hoped they would give all of us — serving Senators and the House of Representatives members — automatic tickets, if we defect from APC to their own party. They said they were satisfied with all our demands and they shall do as we asked. We documented these demands and both parties signed the six-point agreement.”
“We later got back to the National Assembly and we gave ourselves a name, which is the Reformed-APC. I was the Chairman of the House of Representatives, while Senator Dino Melaye was Chairman of the Senate House. While others in the group were still afraid to announce their defection, I was the first person to announce my exit from the APC to the PDP on the floor of the National Assembly.
“After our announcement, we travelled to our constituencies to register as bonafide members of PDP, and we were all accepted into the umbrella party with the aim of winning the election for our presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar,” he added.