The National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has said with former Oyo State Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala in APC, opposition is dead in the state.
Tinubu, Governor Abiola Ajimobi, Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola and his Ondo State counterpart, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, and other chieftains of the party on Saturday formally received the immediate Alao-Akala into the APC.
Others who also defected were former Senate Leader, Senator Teslim Folarin, Alao-Akala’s deputy while in office, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja, the only Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member of the House of Representatives from the state, Dokun Odebunmi, and some other politicians.
Other defectors were former Alliance for Democracy Senator Brimoh Yussuf, former Secretary to the Oyo State Government, Ayodele Adigun, the immediate-past PDP State Chairman, Yinka Taiwo and five Accord Party members in the state House of Assembly.
The new entrants also included former Speaker of the state assembly, Ashimiyu Alarape; a former member in the House of Representatives, Kamil Akinlabi; a former Chairman of Oluyole Local Government, Kehinde Olaosebikan; former PDP woman leader, Mrs. Olanrewaju Otiti, Folake Olunloyo, Rauf Olaniyan, Lukeman Oorelope and Kemi Jaiyeoba, among others.
They were received at a massive rally held at ancient Mapo Hall, Ibadan
The rally was to also celebrate the 68th birthday of Governor Ajimobi.
Addressing the huge crowd of party supporters and others who defied the scorching sun to witness the event, Tinubu said the APC has all it takes to accommodate the political heavyweights joining its fold.
With the calibre of the new members, Tinubu and Ajimobi said opposition was dead in the state.
The rally was attended also by the National Vice Chairman (Southwest), Chief Pius Akinyelure and the Deputy National Chairman (South), Segun Oni.
Tinubu said the APC has “a stainless kitchen” that is large enough to accommodate as many cooks as possible.
Allaying fears on how to manage the political differences of the political heavyweights joining the party, Tinubu noted that the APC has a variety of menu in the political kitchen for the future of the country.
He said: “We have a stainless kitchen and we can accommodate as many cooks as possible and because we have a variety of menu in the political kitchen of planning this future, we love those bigwigs and we can accommodate them all. It is in the same forest that you find a hippo that you find an elephant and you will find a rabbit. In political platforms, you must look for the addition not the minus.
“You can see that the opposition is dead in Oyo State. Today is important for us because it is the birthday of the Governor Ajimobi and things that have never happened in the history of Oyo State have started happening.
“Thank God for my friend Alao-Akala and the others for seeing the light. All of you that joined will also join in building the party. The APC house is great for all of us. We are proud of you for joining us. APC is the only progressive party in Nigeria and Africa.”
He pointed out that it has become very clear that APC would win in 2019.
While welcoming the defectors in their separate remarks, Aregbesola and Akeredolu said that the resources and experiences of the individuals would be useful to build a more formidable party ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Odebunmi said as the only elected PDP officer from Oyo State, his defection to the APC signaled its final death.
The lawmaker said he had found out that only the APC and Ajimobi have good programme for youths.
Alao-Akala said dynamism in politics requires that politicians move with time.
His words: “To God be the glory. I am moving with time. There is dynamism in politics. We have only one party now in Oyo State. To God be the glory. There is no more PDP in Oyo State. Everywhere, it is APC. By God’s Grace, Oyo State is now fully APC. I thank Governor Ajimobi for making all the defection possible.
“He opened his arms all the way and supported efforts to bring people into the fold. By God’s grace, all the defectors have worked under me. The room Ajimobi gave us made all these possible. We shall work with him to move the party forward. We shall be good party members.”
Ajimobi described the event as one of the unprecedented incidents marking his tenure.
He called on politicians to forgive themselves of past sins and assured that they will not regret joining the APC.
Akala, Arapaja, Folarin and Odebunmi later held the APC flag and waved it to the crowd as a seal of their membership of the party.
APC Chairman in Oyo State, Chief Akin Oke, welcomed the defectors, saying they should feel at home.
He said the presence of national officers and the governors at the welcome rally was significant.