Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Defectin: Senator Kunlere Joins PDP, Declares Labor Party Dead

Senator Boluwaji Kunlere, who represents southern senatorial district in the National Assembly, has announced his defection from the Labor Party to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Mr. Kunlere’s defection came two days after the widely reported news that Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo was on the cusp of defecting to the PDP as well. Senator Kunlere said he decided to join the PDP after consultations with his constituents and in order to pursue his political career.

Describing his defection as a matter of principle, he added that he had had enough of what he alleged to be repeated blackmail from close aides of Governor Mimiko in his local government.

In a text message to SaharaReporters, Mr. Kunlere, who hails from Okitipupa, said he could not “continue to trade my political business with the Labor Party (LP) in the state,” adding, “anyone who is still displaying the Labor Party flag or carrying the card about is a dead politician waiting to be buried alive.”

Senator Kunlere said he no longer had any business with the Labor Party, adding that he had already issued a red card to the party’s leaders whom he accused of giving him a bad name to the governor.

He said he had briefed the national leader of the PDP and some of his loyalists at the National Assembly about his defection, and that they all welcomed his decision.

A political source in Akure, capital of Ondo State, told SaharaReporters that the senator was miffed on learning about a possible plot to field Governor Mimiko’s wife, Olukemi Mimiko, for Mr. Kunlere’s senatorial seat.

Mr. Kunlere had served as the secretary to the state government during the administration of the now late Governor Olusegun Agagu. Mr. Agagu was a PDP member.

Mr. Kunlere and Ali Olanusi, the aged Deputy Governor of Ondo State, had abandoned the PDP to seek elective offices on the tickets of the Labor Party. Mr. Olanusi was the state chairman of the PDP before joining the LP.

In the 2011 general elections, Mr. Kunlere ran as the LP candidate for a senatorial seat against Mr. Agagu, his former master and governor, and won by close to 90, 000 votes.

The Ondo federal legislator is now the second senator from the state to defect from the Labor Party. Earlier, Mr. Ajayi Boroffice, representing Ondo North senatorial district, had defected to the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), now All Progressives Congress (APC).

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