The member representing Ado-Ekiti/Irepodun-Ifelodun federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Mr. Opeyemi Bamidele, has refuted the allegation that he had started begging a national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to return to the party.
He described the report by an unnamed online publication as a puerile, preposterous and misdirected venom against his person.
Bamidele, who defected to the Labour Party, LP, to contest the June, 2014 governorship election of Ekiti, which he lost, explained that while he held Tinubu in high esteem, being his political mentor and benefactor, he didn’t need to beg anybody to return to the party, if he so desired.
The online publication had quoted Tinubu as telling his former protégé to seek forgiveness from members of APC in Ekiti and not him, if he seeks to return to the party.
However, Bamidele, who is Chairman of the House Committee on Legislative Budget and Research, in a statement by his media aide, Ahmed Salami, maintained that Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution gives every Nigerian unfettered rights to belong to any political party of his choice.
He said, “For the purpose of correcting the ignorance of these online brute, I started as a member of Alliance For Democracy in 1999 through 2003 and I remained steadfast even when it metamorphosed into Action Congress and Action Congress of Nigeria before bowing out because of undemocratic nature of some disgraced elements in the party prior to the 2014 election.
“Having misunderstanding in a party had always been a norm under any democratic situation. Cross carpeting and returning to any party has always been a condiment of any fledgling democracy and these online detractors have not passed any message or made any innovation in our political system.
“The present Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayodele Fayose, once defected to LP when he felt disenchanted with the practices in PDP only to return to the party barely few months to the election and got the ticket to return the party in Ekiti. This is democracy in action.
“The likes of Mr Segun Oni, Senator Ayo Arise, Yinka Akerele and other great politicians in Ekiti have had causes to leave their parties to other parties to win elections at various times in the political history of our dear state.
“For the purpose of exposing the follies and shenanigans of these detractors, the present APC Chairman in Ekiti State, Chief Jide Awe, was a member of PDP before defecting to ACD and later Action Congress during his frosty relationship with Fayose in 2004.
“Today in Ekiti, seven members of the present House of Assembly, who got their tickets by way of arm-twisting other aspirants to drop their ambitions in 2011, the way they did to me in the senatorial contest, had defected to PDP. They should now tell the world what story they intended to pass with the befuddled message?
“Going nationally, the respected members of APC today, who are the greatest and most reliable catalysts to the party, like governors Rotimi Amaechi, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Ahmed Abdulfattah, Magatarkarda Wammako, Mr Demola Seriki, Samuel Ortom, Barnabas Gemade and others too numerous to mention, are defectors in APC”.
The lawmaker said he remained a member of LP, urging his party supporters to discountenance the “rants” of his enemies via frivolous online publications.