A former senator who represented Ekiti South senatorial district on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Gbenga Aluko, at the weekend officially defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC), with a pledge to work assiduously for the defeat of his ex-party during the 2018 governorship poll.
To boost the popularity of the APC, Aluko also flagged off an agriculture empowerment scheme to help the poor farmers in the state in security micro-credit to enhance food production.
Aluko, son of the late revered Economist, Prof. Sam Aluko, was the only PDP Senator in the South-west zone between 1999 and 2003 during the first term of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo
Speaking in Ode Ekiti in Gbonyin Local Government during the defection ceremony, Aluko said he would use his connection in the state to ensure that the PDP is defeated in 2018.
Among the state leaders present included the state Deputy Chairman, Kemi Olaleye, Publicity Secretary, Taiwo Olatunbosun; state Secretary, Paul Omotoso; and South senatorial district Chairman, Kayode Babade, who received the former senator into the party.
Aluko cautioned against divisions and factionalisation within APC, even as he warned members against hostility towards the opposition party.
He said he had been in political journey with President Muhammadu Buhari since their days in the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), saying the present APC-led federal government would surely transform Nigeria for better.
Aluko announced agricultural empowerment scheme for the people in two local governments in each of the three senatorial districts, saying this was a beginning of a comprehensive programme that would cut across the 16 local governments of the state to fight unemployment and lift the people out of poverty.
He said the scheme would be coordinated by an expert in project financing and management, Olatunji Olatunde, who is a former commissioner of works in the state.
Specifically, the former senator said cassava and rice plantations would be given priority with his initial personal financing of the scheme before calling in the World Bank and Federal Ministry of Agriculture to take over the project to expand its scope of operation across the state.
According to him, the first set of beneficiaries will be Ikere and Gbonyin/Ayekire local governments from Ekiti South senatorial district with Ado and Irepodun/Ifelodun local governments from Ekiti Central also topping the list.
Berating Governor Ayodele Fayose for his recalcitrant behaviour in the administration of the state, Aluko noted that PDP had turned a
disaster under the governor’s grip, even as he urged the governor to purge himself of belligerent attitude that had turned governance into a rudderless ship of state.
Also speaking, former member of the House of Representatives, Bamidele
Faparusi, called for unity within the party, warning members against acts capable of disintegrating the party, even as he urged members to embark on membership drive to swell APC’s numerical strength.
“There is no one-man battalion in politics. Democracy is a game of number. The more we are by attracting more members from the opposition, the better chance of winning elections,” Faparusi said.
The APC South senatorial district Chairman, Hon. Kayode Babade, while handing Aluko a broom, the symbol of APC, urged members in the local government to eschew bitterness and work for the progress of the party.