It started as a rumour last week and was denied by those concerned. But yesterday, it became a reality as six of the eight Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers in the Lagos State House of Assembly joined the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The letter of defection, jointly signed by five lawmakers, was read in the House by the Acting Clerk, Azeez Sanni.
They said they were defecting because of the division, infighting and factionalisation of the PDP.
“The nation cannot develop under a fractured PDP, no clear vision, ambition and policy and we can’t serve two masters.
“The division in the party is hampering it from fulfilling its goals.
The lawmakers are Minority Whip Mrs. Sangodara Mosumola Rotimi (Surulere 2); Famakinwa Adedayo Olufemi (Ajeromi/Ifelodun 1); Oluwa Olatunji Fatai (Ajeromi/Ifelodun 2); Sokunle Hakeem (Oshodi/Isolo 1) and Idimogun Jude Emeka (Oshodi/Isolo 2).
In a dramatic twist, the sixth member, the Minority leader, Akeem Bello (Amuwo Odofin 2), announced his defection when he was given an opportunity to contribute to the debate.
Each of the defectors was given a chance to speak. They acknowledged that they wrote and signed the letter.
Sangodara said: “I decided to join the winning team to serve my constituents better. We are all aware of what is happening in the PDP, it is not good enough to be part of the disharmony going on in the PDP.”
Famakinwa said: “My decision to quit the PDP is borne out of the monumental achievements recorded by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode. I oversee the Establishment ministry and I can tell you the governor does not owe pensioners. That in itself is a great achievement.”
Oluwa said: “I am moving to the APC due to the fracas and division in my former party and also because of the leadership style of the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa and Governor Ambode.”
Idimogu said: “I appreciate the relationship in the House; Ambode is very kind to me and my constituency. He has treated us without bias, and there is no other way to reward him but to join him in taking Lagos forward. APC for me is a better wife now. My kinsmen, the Ibo, have been looking on to me to carry them to the winning team, which is APC”.
Shokunle said: “APC is a good party and I want to align with it.”
After they spoke, the Speaker instructed the remaining 35 lawmakers to stand while the defectors remain seated to welcome them formally, promising that the party leadership will still welcome them at a later date.
Obasa raised a song and was joined by other members. The song was: “You are welcome in the name of the Lord (twice), we can see all over you the glory of the Lord, you are welcome in the name of the Lord”. They took the chorus twice.
All the APC members hailed the courage of the five defectors for recognising that PDP was a sinking ship.
A PDP member, Victor Akande (Ojo 1) congratulated the Speaker for “your doggedness and what you stand for. I am very happy to be part of this Eighth Assembly at a time when we have a performing governor”.
“To my former party members I congratulate you and wish you all you desire to gain in your political journey. Whatever has happened here is a lesson for my party to do the needful and get itself right. It is good, it is democracy at work, we are not going to waiver, we will stand and God will help us”, Akande said.
The other PDP lawmaker, Dipo Olorunrinu (Amuwo Odofin 1) , also hailed the Speaker for his leadership style and courage in winning over the six former PDP members .
“I appreciate your style of leadership and other principal officers.”
Obasa praised his colleagues for the achievement, saying without them the achievement wouldn’t have been possible.
“No matter the party we belong we have resolved to put before us the people of Lagos.
He told the remaining two PDP members that APC was waiting for them, whenever they decide to defect.