Anti-Saraki protest rocks Ilorin as PDP members defect to APC

Written by on August 2, 2018

Ex-members of the PDP in Kwara State, members of some groups and scores of residents of Kwara State, especially those from Ilorin metropolis on Wednesday protested against what they called bad governance foisted on the state by Saraki.

Some of the groups include, Save Kwara Group and the Liberation Group.

The protesters marched along some major streets in Ilorin, including Geri-Alimi Road to Saw Mill Market, to General Hospital, Ojo-Oba and to the popular Post Office junction carrying placards with different inscriptions and decried the political leadership of Saraki.

They lambasted Saraki and the state governor, Ahmed.

The Secretary, Save Kwara Group, Mr. John Adegboye, who spoke on behalf of the protesters, said the protest was to show that Kwara political terrain had changed.

He said, “We are now more enlightened and sound in what we want. The political sphere of Kwara has been turned into hegemony and a dynasty. We are saying it is stunting our development. For that to change, we want a complete overhaul of the political system in Kwara State.

“Kwara is 51 going to 52, majority of states that started 30 years ago after Kwara State are beginning to catch up with us and some are beginning to overtake us. Look at the poor state of our education and health sectors, our bad roads, go to other states. I was speechless when I went to Jigawa State and I saw the kind of development that was going on there.

“These are the things that made us to come together and start sensitising the people that the only way we can change government and get what we want is for us, the people, to own the electoral process. So, we are not saying go and get your PVC, we are saying go and vote and also defend your vote.

“We are saying that Kwara State is not in the hand of Bukola Saraki. We are saying enough is enough. We are saying it is unacceptable for only one person to negotiate the future of three million people. It is an offence.

“We want to change the political set-up of Kwara. It is pro-good governance. If by pro-good governance, we are anti-Saraki and anti-Ahmed, so be it.”

Speaking at the protest, a former PDP leader, Dr. Abdulbaki Abdulganiyu, said members of the party including one of their leaders, Chief Iyiola Oyedepo, had defected to the APC.

He stated that they would not work with Saraki and Ahmed and their loyalists who defected to the PDP from the APC.

He said, “Today’s rally is intended to send a message to all Kwarans that the time has come to make the real change. We belong to the PDP until yesterday, (Tuesday). Those of us in the PDP know the problem of the people. We are with the grassroots.

“I am here representing the former PDP (members and leaders) such as Akogun, and other leaders. They are having a meeting with Oshiomhole and others. We are today in the APC and I can tell you that 98 per cent of the PDP members in Kwara are in the APC. We are fully pro-Buhari. All former PDP members in Kwara have moved en masse to the APC. We are going to do our Kwara Agenda in the APC. We will not condone corruption; so, we will not stay with corrupt people.”

Also, a former Vice-Chancellor, University of Ilorin, Prof. Shuaib Abdulraheem, has defected to the APC.

Abdulraheem directed all his supporters nationwide to immediately relinquish their membership of the PDP.

He stated that he would never be in the same political party with Saraki and his likes.

Abdulraheem, who is the PDP governorship aspirant during the 2015 elections, said he relinquished his membership of the PDP immediately Saraki and Ahmed defected from the APC to join the PDP.

He also denied working for the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, adding that the minister had been his friend for more than a decade despite their different political affiliations.

He said, “Since both of us are pursuing homogeneous objectives towards the development of Kwara State at large, definitely we can be in the same political party and work together in APC .”

Also, a political commentator, Alhaji Olola Kasum, said the defection of Saraki and Ahmed marked the beginning of the collapse of the Saraki’s political dynasty in Kwara State.

He alleged that Kwara had witnessed bad governance and underdevelopment under Saraki political leadership.

Kasum said, “Their defection is a blessing to Kwara State. Saraki has been deceiving us. He has been living a false life. The state was underdeveloped under his political leadership. We are happy he has defected. That marks the crumbling of the Saraki political empire. Some sections of the state including Yoruba are marginalised under him. Nobody will vote for him in the coming elections.

“Saraki should not be allowed to eat his cake and have it. The position of both Saraki and Ahmed should be filled immediately. Both should be treated as political traitors.”

However, 23 out of the 24 members of the Kwara State House of Assembly on Wednesday defected from the APC to the PDP.

But the member representing Ojomu/Balogun Constituency of Offa Local Government Area, Mr. Saheed Popoola, remained in the APC.

Popoola in an interview with News men said he did not defect because his constituents wanted to him to remain in the APC.

The Speaker of the Assembly, Dr. Ali Ahmad, who is among the 23 defected lawmakers, while speaking on the floor of the House, said the APC had been factionalised.



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