By Oyewamide Wande Ojo
The APC membership in Ondo state swelled last week. The ruling party harvested new members from the PDP and the ZLP, the two leading opposition parties in the state. It was a bountiful and quality harvest for the broom party.
Among the defectors is Arole Dennis Alonge-Niyi, former PDP national youth leader, former Ose local government executive chairman, former aspirant to the PDP state chairmanship and grassroots politician of note. Also joining the fold of the APC are Akin Aibinuomo, former executive chairman of Akoko Southeast local government; Prince Thompson Atayase, who was one of the PDP leaders and financial backbones in Irele Local Government Area; Alhaji Ilesanmi Jamiu and Chief Aladejebi.
The new members said they were drawn into the progressive fold by the achievements of the Akeredolu government. ”Your achievements are number one thing that appealed to us,” said Alonge-Niyi, adding: “You came in when the resources coming to the state were meager. We have seen what you have been able to do in transforming the nooks and crannies of the state.”
As nectar attracts bees to flowers, the sterling performance of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu Aketi has been attracting members of the opposition parties to the APC. This is good for the party. It underscores the wisdom in the choice of Akeredolu as the APC gubernatorial candidate in 2016 and 2020.
The defectors were saying the truth, nothing but the truth. The achievements of the government are everywhere in the state for everybody to see. Only those blinded by partisanship, hatred or mischief will not see them. And this is expected. As the Yoruba people will say, your elephant is not bigger than an insect in the eyes of your enemies.
But can anyone cover the glory of the Sun? Can anyone cover the glory of the moon? No! It is impossible. May God deliver more people from the evil spirit of partisan blindness so that they can see the glory of the government and join in proclaiming it to the world.
No doubt, Governor Akeredolu has proved to be a model of progressive politics. He is not one of the politicians who only mouth progressivism. He allows the political ideology to reflect in his actions and decisions.
The governor always seeks a better condition for the state and her people. He is doing this despite the paralysing revenue challenge. Since year 2020, the challenge has been compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic, a disease whose target is the health and wealth of the whole humanity.
So, there is no politician with a genuine sense of patriotism who will not join the train which destination is a better Ondo state. That is why the decision of the decampees to join the ruling party and assist Governor Akeredolu to move the state forward is highly commendable.
The defectors also said they had to pack out of the PDP house because vultures are now in charge. Vultures are birds of prey. They feed on dead flesh. They are known for gathering in anticipation of the death of a sick or injured animal or person. So, you only see these birds where there is sickness and death.
The metaphor of vulture used by the former members of the PDP suggests that the party is seriously sick in the state. And vultures don’t pray for the healing of the sick. If the defectors wanted healing for their old party and the activities of those referred to as vultures were compounding the situation, can anybody blame them for taking a wise decision to quit?
The new members have been assured of a level playing ground in the APC. The assurance was given by Governor Akeredolu while welcoming them into the party. The governor said the ruling party was roomy enough to accommodate many and more members. In the APC, there is no founder and there is no joiner, Governor Akeredolu assured them. What this means is that there is no discrimination against new members. All members, old and new, are equal.
“I want to plead with our party leaders, we must not discriminate. They have become members of our party and we must only integrate them. Let us find a way to accommodate them so they will feel integrated. No founder, no joiner,” Governor Akeredolu said.
It is now left for the new members to carve out niches for themselves in the APC by adding value to the party and its government. This is expected of them because they are known to be notable political players in their various corners of the state. In the APC, the sky is not the limit to their political aspirations. This is because there are no vultures in the party.