Thousands of members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who dumped the party for the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Kwara State are begging to return, Daily Independent has gathered.
The erstwhile APC members, who are loyal to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had joined the SDP in April this year after the national leadership of the party recognised the faction belonging to Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazak.
Prior to their departure to the SDP, the former APC members had been at loggerhead with Governor Abdulrazaq over the control of the party’s structure since the APC took over power through ‘O To Ge’ (enough is enough) movement in the state.
Speaking with Daily Independent at the weekend, a top leader in the state, who is an associate of the state governor, said the returnees had thought that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate, will be denied the party’s ticket and will consider the SDP as his second option.
“The former APC members who left our party in April this year for SDP are already begging to return to our fold. They hinged their hopes on the fact that Tinubu will have the second option of SDP if denied the APC ticket. So, they moved to SDP so as to work with Tinubu”.
“Tinubu, however, said the new electoral law does not allow Option 2, so it is total battle in APC. So, he told them to forget the dream that he will join the SDP. Now that he has gotten the APC ticket, those who have left us are all in agreement that they are working with Tinubu”.
“It’s not really about ideology. It is about people wanting control. The issues you see in Kwara APC were issues that happened before the election in 2019. The players were the same.The four or five candidates contesting in various parties today are from the O To Ge faction. They are not from PDP”.
The party leader also said some PDP members are currently begging to join the APC in the state but the party is yet to consider their request.
“PDP has lost out, they have nothing to sell, so they have to come to the opposition to pick a candidate. Right now, PDP members are knocking on our doors to come in. We have not taken them in because we are reconciling ourselves”.
When asked if Alhaji Lai Mohammed poses a threat to the governor’s reelection, the APC leader said the minister currently plays his politics in Abuja and has only visited Kwara just once in 2022. “Alhaji Lai Mohammed is a strongman and we respect him in the party.But he has been to Kwara once this year. As a minister he carries a weight in terms of his office, his politics is not in Kwara at all”.
It would be recalled that Lai Mohamed had urged the aggrieved members of the party who left the APC for SDP to reconsider their decision and return to their “natural habitat” for their grievances to be addressed ahead of the 2023 elections.