Amid fanfare and pageantry, former Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja on Tuesday led thousands of his teeming followers to rejoin the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ibadan South East Local Government area.
The event, which took place at Christ Church Primary School, Odinjo, Ibadan, was well attended by the leaders of the PDP in the State.
The returnees, it would be recalled, had earlier joined the party at a mega rally organized by the PDP at Mapo Hall in March this year before the coronavirus pandemic that led to the suspension of political and social gatherings in the State.
The event, which took place at Christ Church Primary School, Odinjo, Ibadan was well attended by the leaders of the party in the State.
Among those in attendance to welcome the returnees to the PDP fold were the former first Lady in Oyo State, Alhaja Mutiat Olayinka Ladoja, who represented the Oyo State Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde State. Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Kunmi Mustapha, Hon. Dare Adeleke, Alhaji Tiamiyu Abidikugu, party chairman in Ibadan South East Local Government, Engr Sulaimon Adesina and others.
Others included member of the federal House of representatives, Hon. Abass Agboworin, Hon. Rasaq Abdulahi, Hon. Segun Popoola, Hon. Yay Akinbile, Alhaji Gbade Adeleke, Mogaji Abass Oloko, Alhaji Dsuda Yusuff, Hon. Yemi Aderibigbe, special adviser to the Governor on local government and chieftaincy affairs, Hon. Babatunde Oduyoye, Special Adviser on Political Matters among others.
Addressing the crowd at the event, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja said that they took the decision to return to the party after a critical review of the present administration and with the obvious steady and development being experienced in the State, they are left with no other option than to return to the PDP. He declared his full support for Engr Seyi Makinde’s re election for second term in 2023, stressing that Makinde deserves full support of all and sundry for second term in office.
He added that the PDP has a party has brought a new paradigm shift in the governance of the State in the area of road infrastructure, free education for students, health care delivery, prompt payment of workers’ salaries on or before the 25th of every month, payment of backlog of pension for retired civil servants and other initiatives which have brought succour to many residents in the State.
He appealed to members at the gathering to embrace true and genuine reconciliation in the party.
According to him, reconciliation is very important in the party. The governor realizes this that is why he set up a reconciliation committee headed by Chief Saka Balogun.There must not be any faction or group whatsoever. We are back again in PDP. We are grassroot politicians. The opposition will never return to power in Oyo State. We must unite and mobilize others to the party to achieve this.”
Other returnees at the gathering included the Special Adviser to the Governor on Culture and Tourism, Hon. Akeem Ademola Ige, Hon. Fatai Adesina, Hon. Dele Ojo, Hon. Adedoja Ekolo and Hon. Sunday Babatunde. Hon. Deji Aboderin, APC candidate for Ibadan South East/North East in 2019 election and Hon. Yinka Omikunle from Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).
While welcoming the returning and new members at the gathering, the Chairman of the party in Ibadan South East Local Government, Engr Sulaimon Adesina, described Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja and other returnees as heavyweight and great political asset to the party, and therefore, advising them to work more for uplifting the party in the State.
In their goodwill messages, Hon. Dare Adeleke, Alhaji Kunmi Mustapha and others specifically described the event as home coming for the returnees, said that they have further swelled the ranks of the party to become an indomitable force in the State.