The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has reacted to the defection of members of his faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State to the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Lai, in a statement he signed in Abuja, pleaded that despite their “genuine grievances” following their contributions to the party, leaving the APC was not the solution.
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He, therefore, pleaded with them to return to their “natural habitat”, adding that the national leadership will do the needful over the matter.
He said: “We have taken the grievances of our supporters to the party’s highest level with cause to believe that everything will be done to address them and unite the party ahead of the 2023 elections.”
While reiterating his loyalty to the APC, the minister said leaving the party was not an option he would consider as “a founding member who has toiled endlessly to build the party and worked with stakeholders to deliver Kwara.
“I am a bonafide member of the APC and I have no intention to leave. All through my political career, I have always remained loyal to any party in which I have found myself. That is not about to change now,” he said.
But in a swift reaction to the minister’s plea, some of the affected members said there was no going back on their decision.
The former spokesman of the group, Barr Ibrahim Sharafadeen and its former senatorial chairman, Kwara Central, Alhaji Yunus Akorede, noted that their departure was based on wide consultations with conscious effort not to run afoul of the electoral act. “We can’t trust the party again”, they added.
On his part, Hon Saheed Popoola, whose seat was declared vacant over the defection, told Daily Trust that “The minister is still our leader. Our decision was a collective one. We will discuss his plea during deliberations.”