By Demola Atobaba, Ado-Ekiti
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Legislative Budget and Research, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, has led other members of Labour Party (LP) in Ekiti State to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The candidate of the LP in the Ekiti 2014 governorship election said his return to the party was not to flex muscle with its leaders.
Opeyemi Bamidele, representing Ekiti Central Federal Constituency 1, had deployed his platform, the Ekiti Bibire Coalition, to mobilise support for the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, in the March 28 presidential election.
He had in 2013 formed Ekiti Bibire Coalition to realise his governorship ambition within the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), which pitted him against the then Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, and led to his eventual ouster from the party.
At a press conference in his Iyin-Ekiti country home, heralding the return of the LP members to the party, Opeyemmi Bamidele said they took the step in a bid to rescue the party from the brink, occasioned by the defeat it suffered to Governor Ayodele Fayose during in June 21 governorship poll.
He praised Buhari, APC National Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed, former Interim National Chairman Chief Bisi Akande, and his successor, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, for their belief in him despite his defection to LP.
At the briefing were Bamidele’s running mate in the Ekiti governorship poll, Alhaja Maryam Ogunlade, LP Chairman in the state, Mr. Akin Omole, Secretary, Abiola Olowookere, the Director-General, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele Campaign Organisation, Mr. Ropo Ige, and Prof. Joseph Oluwasanmi.
Others included candidates in the just-concluded National and State House of Assembly elections, Chairmen of party in the 16 local government areas and the 177 wards.
Bamidele said: “By and large, politics, if it is meant to serve the common interest, must be a dynamic aspect of human endeavour that embodies a whole process of expression, competition and reconciliation of personal interests for the ultimate benefit of the people.
“Let me use this opportunity to reiterate that my decision to contest for the governorship of Ekiti State is borne out of my innate conviction and that of many like-minds, most of whom are illustrious sons and daughters of this great state. Though the ACN-led administration then was doing its best, however, its best was not enough for our much-expectant but highly disillusioned people.
“Invariably, I would have loved to stand in for the governorship race on the platform of the ACN, as a vision-driven progressive party, under the leadership of an equally dynamic leader, benefactor and mentor of mine, Asiwaju Boa Ahmed Tinubu.
“But when it became apparent that party primaries for candidate selection was not likely to hold in the Ekiti chapter of the ACN/APC, I had no choice at some point in the course of expressing my intent to offer our people a better leadership than to move to another suitable party where I could be offered the ticket to contest in the ensuing governorship election.”