Bamidele: Back Among His Folks | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Bamidele: Back Among His Folks

Posted: Jun 2, 2015 at 12:34 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Yaqoub Popoola,  Ado-Ekiti


Former House of Representatives’ member, Hon. Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (alias MOB), recently led hundreds of his political supporters and admirers in Labour Party (LP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC). He had contested the 2014 Governorship Election on the platform of LP where he finished as second – runners up.  

The former Lagos State Commissioner for Information announced his return at a press conference held at his Iyin-Ekiti private residence.

Opeyemi Michael Bamidele

Opeyemi Michael Bamidele

Technically, Bamidele returned to APC long before the 2015 Presidential Election. A pointer to this was the secret visit made to Bamidele’s residence by the Vice Chairman (South) of APC, Segun Oni, which watchers of political events believed was to seal the deal.

It was shortly after the meeting that the LP set up a high powered committee to interact with political stakeholders in the state and channel a new course for the LP members in the state. But the body language of the committee suggested that it might end up merging with APC in the state.

Significantly, when the APC Presidential flagbearer, General Muhammadu Buhari visited Ekiti State for a mega rally, Bamidele made a dramatic appearance at the event and was given a warm welcome. Bamidele did not stop at that, he later directed his supporters to vote enmasse for Buhari where he delivered his Constituency earlier won by LP during the governor election to APC in the presidential election.

Justifying his action, the former Commissioner for Information in Lagos State, said Buhari’s project and agenda went beyond party politics. Specifically, Bamidele described it as a movement to save Nigeria from imminent collapse.

His words: “I want to be a part of this change. I am committed to the victory of General Buhari. I am a member of Labour Party, but this project goes beyond personal interest; it is about the corporate existence and progress of our great country.

“We must rid the nation of the monumental corruption retarding her progress. I am leading my teeming supporters to give support to Buhari because of my belief in Buhari’s capacity to deliver if elected President of the country.”

“As a progressive, the task of joining other like-minded Nigerians to rid the country of corruption, insecurity, and unemployment is my priority for now. I enjoin Nigerians to use the opportunity offered by Buhari’s candidature to free themselves from the clutches of socio-economic traps they had been thrown into.

“Buhari remains the best option for our country at this present time and that is why we are deploying the Ekiti Bibiire Coalition political platform for him. Buhari had been Military Governor, Minister, and Head of State. He has both civilian and military backgrounds that can help this nation at this critical period. We cannot continue to fold our arms and allow a group, under the guise of insurgency, continue to decimate our people, even when we have a government at the centre. Aside this, aligning with APC is like rejoining my political family. We share the same ideology which is deeply founded on progressivism. I am ready to support any cause that would bring Nigeria out of the woods.”

Since the exit of the APC Administration from power in Ekiti State, the party has been faced with a myriad of challenges. The chairman of the party, Chief Jide Awe, has been on exile over murder charges preferred against him by PDP government. The party’s members in the assembly, some of who sought re-election, have also gone on exile, leaving the bulk on the few elements within party.

So, the return of Bamidele is expected to, among other things, soar the image of the party in the state and give it some sense of direction.

At Bamidele’s return ceremony was the LP deputy governorship candidate in the Ekiti governorship poll, Alhaja Maryam Ogunlade; LP Chairman, Barr. Akin Omole; Secretary, Abiola Olowokere; the DG, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele Campaign organization, Hon. Ropo  Ige; Prof Joseph Oluwasanmi.

Others were Senatorial, House of Representatives, and House of Assembly candidates in the last elections; Chairmen of party in the 16 Council Areas and the 177 ward chairmen of the party.

On the seeming delay in his return to APC, Bamidele said it would be foolhardy and tantamount to betrayal of trust for him to have abandoned the candidates and defect to APC to mobilize support for Muhammadu Buhari and his Vice, Prof Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), in the presidential poll.

The Federal lawmaker, who counseled the political actors in the State to be wary of their actions in order not to derail the democratic process, described the impeachment hammer dangling on Fayose’s head as a manifestation of injustice that had eluded the State.

He said: “By and large, politics, if it is meant to serve the common interest, it must be a dynamic aspect of human endeavour that embodies a whole process of expression, competition and reconciliation of personal interests for the ultimate benefit of the people.

“Let me use this opportunity to reiterate that my decision to contest for the governorship of Ekiti State is borne out of my innate conviction and that of many like-minds of mine, most of whom are illustrious sons and daughters of this great State, that though the ACN-led administration then was doing its best, however, its best was not enough for our much expectant but highly disillusioned people.

“Invariably, I would have loved to stand in for the gubernatorial race on the platform of the ACN as a vision-driven progressive party under the leadership of an equally dynamic leader, benefactor, and mentor of mine, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“But when it became apparent that party primaries for candidate selection was not likely to hold in the Ekiti Chapter of the ACN/APC, I had no choice at some point in the course of expressing my intent to offer our people a better leadership, than to move to another suitable party where I could be offered the ticket to contest in the ensuing governorship election.

“All of us, the candidates, contested on different platforms for the number of seat in the State. But as we all know in any contest, someone must emerge the winner. Whether or not the contest was fair, posterity and the court of law shall judge. That is not the bone of contention for today’s press briefing. I sincerely urge you to let us defer that to another day.

“Today, by the special leading of Almighty God and after the due consultation with my immediate family, friends, confidants and political associates within and outside Ekiti State, I, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, the Federal lawmaker representing Ado/Irepodun-Ifelodun Federal Constituency, hereby wish to declare my intent to decamp to the All Progressives Congress (APC) as from today, Tuesday, 19th May, 2015.”

Commenting further on his belief in progressive politicking, Bamidele said: “This was the more reason I felt comfortable to be part of the movement for the realization of the Buhari/Osinbajo project despite my membership of the Labour Party then.

“It was an age-long vision of the progressives in the Southern part of the country to join forces with equally visionary and progressive politicians in the North to rescue our nation from bad leadership and its attendant hydra-headed manifestations that have come to characterize Nigeria in recent history: corruption, poverty and insecurity.”