A former Ekiti State Governor and interim National Vice-Chairman (South-west) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Adeniyi Adebayo, has described the defection of a House of Representatives member, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, to the Labour Party (LP) as the latter's biggest mistake in his political career.
Speaking in an interview with journalists, Adebayo also refuted the claim made by the federal legislator that he (Bamidele) introduced the state governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, into partisan politics and brought him (Fayemi) from abroad to run for the state's number one seat.
A statement issued by Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Yinka Oyebode, said Adebayo who was the first civilian governor of the state, said Fayemi has performed beyond the expectation of the people of the state and is now in a pole position to claim a second term victory in the 2014 governorship election.
While maintaining that Bamidele's defection to LP won't have any effect on the political fortunes of APC in the 2014 polls, Adebayo stated that the exit of the federal lawmaker would make things easier for the ruling party in the state who had since adopted Fayemi as its candidate on the strength of his well-documented achievements in all sectors.
Adebayo said: "I believe that his defection won't have any negative effect on the fortunes of our party in the next year's election. In fact, it will make things easier for the party.
"The biggest mistake he (Bamidele) made was leaving the party, his major grouse was that the ruling party had endorsed the current governor. If I am in his shoes, I would have stayed in the party because the party made him what he is today.
"It will not affect us in any other way, that is the biggest mistake he has made and I don't think that it will work well for him. The people of Ekiti have embraced the APC and that is the winning party."
While assessing the strength of other political parties in the state, Adebayo described them as "very, very weak" to challenge the APC in the 2014 polls adding that if elections are held today the APC will coast home with not less than 70 per cent of the vote.
Answering questions on Bamidele's claim that he single-handedly dragged Fayemi into the arena of politics, Adebayo described the lawmaker's assertion as untrue, saying it was he himself (Adebayo) that invited the governor to leave political activism and development world for partisan politics.
Adebayo explained further: "What he (Bamidele) said was far from the truth, I was the first person that invited him (Fayemi) to come and run having assisted my administration when I was governor. I asked him to come and see the way he could assist us in our administration and he (Fayemi) brought the British Department for International Development (DFID) to Ekiti.
"My plan at the time was to bring him into the cabinet and make him Commissioner for Special Duties later but unfortunately I was unable to come back into office.
"Few years after I left office, I invited him for a discussion on his possibility of being our candidate at the next general election (in 2007). We discussed extensively, he showed interest and asked me to talk to his wife and convince her," he said.