National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, on Saturday, received leaders and members of the major opposition parties in Oyo State, led by former governor of the state, Chief Adebayo Alao Akala, into the APC.
Tinubu who spoke with journalists just before attending a rally to welcome the defectors, said the APC had a stainless kitchen that was large enough to accommodate as many political bigwigs as possible.
“We have a stainless kitchen; so we can accommodate as many cooks as possible, because we have a variety of menu in the political kitchen of preparing this country’s future.”
“We love those bigwigs and can accommodate them. It is in the same forest that you find a hippopotamus, elephant and rabbit. In a political calculus, you must look for the addition not the minus,” Tinubu said.
Speaking further at the Mapo Hall, Ibadan, where the defectors where handed the APC flag, Tinubu declared the opposition in Oyo State dead, saying the APC would rule both at the state and federal levels.
Tinubu, who vowed that the APC was the only progressive party in Nigeria and Africa, specially lauded Governor Abiola Ajimobi for successfully bringing in a lot of members into the APC.
The defectors included a former Senate Leader, Senator Teslim Folarin; former deputy governor, Mr Taofeek Arapaja; member of the House of Representatives, Honourable Dokun Odebunmi; former Secretary to the State Government, Mr Ayodele Adigun; former senatorial candidates of the Labour Party (LP) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo North and Oyo South senatorial districts, respectively, Honourable Tajudeen Abisodun Kareem and Mrs Olanrewaju Otiti and a former Speaker of the Oyo State Assembly, Honourable Asimiyu Alarape.
Others were former Oyo State Road Maintenance Agency and governorship aspirant in the APC, Mr Rauf Olaniyan; former chairman of the Oyo State PDP, Mr Yinka Taiwo; members of the state House of Assembly; Honourable Wunmi Oladeji, Lukman Balogun, Olagunju Ojo and Olukayode Akande.
In what he described as an epochal and God-destined defection, Ajimobi said the only opposition to APC that existed in Oyo state was that of lies and deceit.
While ruling that the opposition had become moribund, he expressed joy at attracting political bigwigs of the opposition.
Drawing inference from the defection, Ajimobi noted that it was imperative for politicians to love one another, regardless of their political leanings.
Others present at the rally were, Governors Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo); Rauf Aregbesola (Osun); deputy governor of Oyo State, Mr Moses Adeyemo; Speaker of the state Assembly, Honourable Micheal Adeyemo and the wife of the governor, Mrs Florence Ajimobi.
Others present were the National Deputy Chairman, APC, Mr Segun Oni; National Vice Chairman, APC, Chief Pius Akinyelure; Oyo State APC chairman, Chief Akin Oke; Senator Soji Akanbi representing Oyo South.
Speaking on behalf of the defectors, former Governor Alao-Akala said his decision to defect was in embracing the dynamism in politics.
He averred that the PDP had become non-existent in Oyo State, leaving the APC as the only party in the state.
He assured that the new APC members would be loyal party members and join hands with the Ajimobi-led government.
In the same vein, Folarin and Odebunmi said their defection, being former PDP stalwarts, meant the PDP was dead in Oyo State.
Also speaking, Hon. Kareem, a two-term member of the House of Representatives, said he decided to join the APC because it had demonstrated the readiness to truly develop the country.
Prior to the rally, Ajimobi had marked his 68th birthday with both Christian and Muslim services at the Government House, Ibadan.
Archbishop Joseph Akinfenwa (Anglican communion) in his sermon at the Christian service, harped on the need for politicians to be honest in their statements to their constituents.
He charged the celebrant to be ready for greater assignments, even after ending his tenure as governor.