The camp of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) in Ondo state was depleted over the weekend as its former deputy state chairman, Engr. Abayomi Adebayo and others defected to the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, in the state.
Others said to be about 2500 include local government chairmen and members of the local government executive of the party across the eighteen local government areas of the state
The state Chairman of the APC, Engr. Ade Adetimehin received them and handed them over to the state governor Rotimi Akeredolu.
Also, the Ese-Odo local government chairman, Prince Newton Olomu led a sizeable number of his executive members to join the APC on Friday.
Others who defected to the APC with Olomu include the state ex officio member, Rotimi Bowei; Vice-chair, ZLP Ese-Odo, Festus Gbasinghan; Local govt youth leader, Success Digha; ward chairman, Arogbo 3; secretary, Ukparama 2 Eliphus Ibakedein; Arogbo ward 1 chairman, Joseph Omomo; Arogbo ward 1 woman leader, Victoria Peretei; Arogbo ward 2 chairman, Ipiteigha Tam, among others.
Speaking at the event, the former deputy chairman of ZLP, Adebayo said the defectors decided to partner with Governor Akeredolu after taking a cursory look at the economy of the state and the gap created by the immediate past administration.
Adebayo lamented that the dream of the deep seaport initiated by the late Olusegun Agagu administration would have come to reality but for the Mimiko administration that abandoned it for eight years.
He maintained that Lagos state economic breakthrough was from the deep seaport which has sustained the economy of the state and improved its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) tremendously.
While noting that the defectors from the ZLP are joining the train to a secured and better future, the ex-ZLP deputy chairman said there must be deliberate plan for self-sustainable with the issue of coronavirus and its implications on the economy of the world.
He said ”I’m here with the executives of the ZLP, we are joining you after we took a cursory look at the economic situation of the state and we realized that there has been a gap created by the Mimiko administration which we were part of before.
“If the vision of Agagu has been achieved on the deep seaport, we won’t have the economic problem we are experiencing today. We refused to invest and that’s why we are very happy with you and your administration for what you are doing on the issue of the deep seaport.
“Lagos State lives on internally generated revenue. Majority of the IGR comes from the seaport. We have the deepest coastline the sizes of the ship here will be bigger than that of Lagos. If the vision of Agagu has been accomplished the road to Ore would have been six lanes by now.
“The state won’t be at this trouble if the right things have been done. You came and started afresh. That’s why we are partnering with you. The ZLP is joining the train to the future that doesn’t even concern you anyway. A time is coming that no state would be able to pay salary again. No one planned for corona. We are happy that you have decided to give us life in Ondo State.
“Those in ZLP Know that that have lost their engine room. We have decided that the entire structure is with you. And we are going to ensure that we add value to APC.
“We have not sat with you and ask how much are you giving us. We are driven by our conviction that you will perform and not our personal interest. With this our step, you will be challenged the more to do much more better in your second term.”
In his remark, the state chairman of the party, Adetimehin said over sixty percent of ZLP local government excos have been harvested into the APC.
He hinted that the local government leaders in Ondo East and Ondo West local government areas will collapse their structure and join the APC this weekend.
Responding, Governor Akeredolu assured that his administration will pursue the establishment of the deep sea port and actualize the dreams for the economic prosperity of the state.
“When I came and I started pursuing the seaport, my colleague Governors were asking me what my predecessors were doing before. I didn’t lie.
“I told them that Agagu initiated the dream. It is deep. Mimiko abandoned Agagu’s project outrightly. Look at the University in Okitipupa, Agagu didn’t put it in his home town. Look at the University, If Mimiko had attended to it, it would be one of best around by now. Why?
“The government house chapel, we met it at foundation level, I completed It and invited Mimiko to come and do the commissioning. I put his name on it. I did that because he was the one that laid the foundation. That’s how Government is supposed to work. Government is a continuum.
“If Mimiko had continued from where Agagu stopped on the seaport, by now, we would have seen progress. The seaport is not something that we can do overnight. I am very sure that with that port, our people can never suffer again.
Aketedolu said “We are poised to build a modern port. It is a port that will serve west Africa. Our draught is the deepest in West Africa. It will usher in many abundant blessings. In the next four years, we will work more than we have worked now.”