As local council elections approach in Ondo State, about 203 members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The defectors were members of a forum of former councillors and local government vice chairpersons who announced their defection in Akure.
Oyeyinka Akosile, the forum coordinator, led a crowd of defectors to the event.
He said they had waited in the opposition party for far too long before deciding on the APC due to “the exceptional leadership of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.”
Mr Akosile also expressed gratitude to Mr Akeredolu for his all-inclusive governance and wished him a quick recovery from illness.
He promised that the defectors would work tirelessly to make the APC a stronger party.
One of the defectors, Ogunniyi Taiwo, a former vice chairman of Odigbo LGA, said he was the only one who held the position in the PDP who had not left the party since 2017 when he was elected.
In his response, APC state chairman Ade Adetimehin, who received them, expressed his appreciation to the politicians for choosing the APC as their new political home.
He encouraged them to be exemplary leaders at their various wards in the state, emphasising that the party belongs to everyone.
Mr Adetimehin assured the defectors that they would not regret their decision, especially considering the widespread support the party enjoys at both the state and national levels.
He urged the new members to promote the achievements of Governor Akeredolu in their constituencies.
But the PDP has said it is not worried about the defection of the former members.
The PDP said its chieftains defecting to other political parties were on a voyage in search of political relevance or for daily bread.
The chairman of the party, Fatai Adams, said many of the defectors would soon return to the party.
“What is happening is not strange. When a party loses a big election like the presidential election, such defections are bound to happen,” Mr Adams said.
“Some are leaving, and some are coming in. That is politics. Some of them are on a voyage to search for political relevance or daily bread.
“When the daily bread is not coming, they will come back. We have no cause to worry over the defection. What was the contribution of those defectors in the last election? We will bounce back in the state.”
On the forthcoming local government election in the state, he said the party had conducted its primaries to elect candidates for the polls.
The Ondo State Independent Electoral Commission has fixed 16 December for local government elections in the state.
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