By Okunade Adekunle in Lagos
Some chieftains of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have said the description of the defected PDP members to APC as parasites by former Interim Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande, is his own opinion, saying the comment does not affect the PDP in any way.
The PDP chieftains who argued that defection from one political party to another is not a new thing among political elites in the country since the inception of democratic rule in 1999, explained that those who defected made the decision on their own volition and will face the consequence.
They further argued that politics is a dynamic game of interest, which attracts freedom of association and ability to group and regroup to achieve political ambition.
The PDP chieftains opined that they were never caught unawares about the recent defection by its staunch members, saying that the party had foreseen it since former President Goodluck Jonathan lost at the 2015 general elections.
Although, they are not in agreement with the position of the former Chairman of APC, the PDP leaders argued that most of the strong members of the APC were those that defected from the PDP to the APC prior the 2015 general elections.
But the party leaders may have understated the negative effect of the current defection by some of their partymen to APC as they still believe that PDP could still work out ways and strategies to capture power from the APC in 2019.
Some of the PDP Chieftains who spoke with our correspondent in a telephone chat included a member of the PDP Board of Trustee from the South-west, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, who argued that any defection that does not go with principle is dangerous to the development of the country’s democracy and politics, stating that the defectors would not gain in their new marriage with the APC.
Babatope explained that the former APC chairman may be saying his own by describing the defectors as parasites, explaining further that the party would be happy that some of the PDP members are joining them.
“Chief Akande is entitled to his own opinion. Any defection that does not go with principle is dangerous to the development of our democracy. I can tell you clearly that they will lose out from their sudden marriage to the APC, I will be vindicated soon,” Babatope said.
Babatope, however, said defecting from one party to another at this stage of the country’s democracy would make the defectors to be labeled as bread and butter politicians who lack principle.
In his own comment, the National Secretary of PDP, Professor Wale Oladipo, argued that the comment was only for the defectors who left the PDP because the party lost at the poll last year.
He explained that Chief Akande might be right with the comment but the comment has no negative effect on the PDP as a party.
Oladipo who argued that the PDP is going through reformation ahead of the 2019 general election, stressed that they cannot stop their members from defecting to the APC but that they would have themselves to blame when they finally rebrand the party to capture power from the APC in 2019.
“We will bounce-back from where we are and those that have defected will blame themselves at the long run. We know them as political jobbers and unprincipled politicians who lack strength to stand as opposition politicians,” he said.
Also speaking with our correspondent in a telephone interview, a PDP Chieftain and Lagos PDP governorship aspirant, Mr Babatunde Olalere Gbadamosi (BOG), explained that it was obvious that some people were in politics for personal reasons of being a member of any ruling political party, stating that those who suddenly defected were not principled PDP members.
Gbadamosi criticised former APC Interim Chairman over his comment, describing it as “his business”.
He wondered why Akande never saw those that defected during the APC merging process and before the general elections as parasites, saying that a bunch of those who made APC to win the 2015 general elections were formerly PDP members.
He stated that although defectors were not doing good to themselves as the APC will never see them as assets they can relied on as time goes on.
He, however, stated that he can never defect to the APC despite the fact that his party is out of power, stating that he would rather stay to rebuild and fix the party towards capturing power from the APC.
“People are in politics for different reasons which are personal most times. Those who defected are not principled PDP members. Akande is free to make his comments but the comment is just his own business, it has nothing to do with our party”, Gbadamosi said.
“His comment has nothing to do with the image of the PDP as a party. As for me and my supporters we will rather stay and fix the party than moving to the APC,” Gbadamosi added.