Over 1,000 members of the Labour Party (LP) in Ekiti State decamped the party to join the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party, pledging full support for the party’s governorship candidate, Mr. Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji.
The defectors who came from all the 16 local government areas of the state were received into the APC by the Chairman, Contact and Mobilisation Committee of the Biodun Oyebanji Campaign Organisation, Olajide Awe at a ceremony held at JKF Centre, Ajilosun, Ado Ekiti.
Led by the state LP Chairman, Banji Omotoso, the defectors said they were attracted to the party by the pedigree, quality and personality of Oyebanji who, according to them, possesses the experience to continue the developmental strides being witnessed in the state.
The former defectors who were presented with the broom, the symbol of their new party, also surrendered and tore their membership cards to demonstrate their exit from the LP in exchange for the LP.
Addressing the new party members, Awe who welcomed their decision to join the APC at a crucial period assured them that they would be accorded the rights and privileges enjoyed by old members of the party.
Awe said: “We want to reiterate that once you join the APC, you have a bona fide member and you are entitled to all rights and privileges enjoyed by those you met in the party. You are free to participate in party activities at the units, wards, local governments and the state.
“APC as a party wants continuity in our state and your votes will count in making this become a reality. We want you to continue to mobilise for our party ahead of the June 18 governorship election to ensure victory for BAO.”
He also promised that the new members would be incorporated into committees in the campaign organisation and other roles in the APC to make them feel at home and give them a sense of belonging.
Speaking earlier, the erstwhile LP state Chairman, Omotoso said they joined the APC having scrutinized all party candidates and believe in the ability of Oyebanji to take governance in the state to a higher pedestal.
“I want to charge my members who have just joined our new party to go to our units, wards, and local governments and work with APC leaders to achieve victory on June 18.”
Other former LP leaders who spoke include the former Chairman in Ijero Local Government Engr. Akinwumi Akinwole; former State Women Leader, Mrs. Olusola Fadahunsi; Chairman in Emure Local Government, Comrade Peter Ogunniran and his counterpart in Oye Local Government, Mr. Adeolu Ilesanmi, declared their resolve to make a difference in their new party and work hard to ensure victory at the forthcoming governorship poll.
Joining Awe to receive the defectors were two former Deputy Speakers of Ekiti House of Assembly, Chief Karounwi Oladapo and Chief Taiwo Olatunbosun; Special Adviser on Rural Development, Chief Folorunso Olabode and former Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr. Kayode Olaosebikan.