Ajimobi, aggrieved members’ unending search for ‘lost soul’ of Oyo APC

The coast is hazy in the struggle to save the soul of crisis ridden All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo state going by the discordant tunes from the warring factions in and across the state. Bayo Agboola writes.

The crises

The once vibrant, united and popular Oyo state APC is presently a shadow of itself, no thanks  to the pre and post 2019 general elections crises which finally resulted in  the defeat of the party at the governorship election as well as losing majority of the seats in the state House of Assembly to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led coalition of political parties in the state including some aggrieved APC members.

To many of the aggrieved APC members, especially those in the Unity Forum who later mingled with the opposition parties to edged out the APC led administration in Oyo state, the fall of the party in the 2019 polls was as a result of Senator Abiola Ajimobi’s alleged actions and inactions to fellow APC leaders and members.

One of the leaders alleged: “For instance, you asked people to buy nomination forms to contest for chairmanship and councillorship primaries and because of their firm belief in you and your leadership these people went ahead to sell their property, their heritage, spent all their live savings and even borrowed money only for you to jettison the primaries and unilaterally picked only members of your faction. Is that fair? Is that how to lead? What is progressive in that? Many of these people’s lives have been permanently ruined and yet no words of succour from Senator Ajimobi.”

The aggrieved APC members in the state especially those not in the camp of Senator Abiola Ajimobi wasted little or no time in asking Senator Ajimobi to among others tender his apology and join in reconciling and repositioning the party after its woeful performances in the 2019 general elections, once it became common knowledge what the problem real was.

Need for genuine reconciliation

According to a chieftain of the party and chairman of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, Alhaji Fatai Ibikunle, “what all of us, the leaders of the party should be concentrating on is how to achieve genuine reconciliation, serious pacification of the aggrieved ones. What I expected from the immediate past governor and our leader is some level of soberness and expression of genuine apologies to those he had either by commission or omission held down in the last eight years.”

Senator Ajimobi now the Deputy National Chairman of APC while lauding the party’s leaderships, the National Executive Council (NEC), members of the National Working Committee (NWC), for finding him worthy of the appointment as Deputy National Chairman, (South), assured of his continued contribution to the advancement of the APC.,

He said “as they say, charity begins at home. I take this opportunity to appeal and assure the APC family in Oyo state of my determination and willingness to ensure genuine reconciliation and repositioning of our great party. I acknowledged that we all contributed to the successes of the party in the past, particularly in 2011 and 2015 elections respectively. Conversely, if we have setback in 2019, I believe it is honourable to accept that we all contributed directly or indirectly, accordingly. 

Ajimobi sets up committee

True to his promise, Senator Ajimobi has set up a 16-man reconciliation team with former governor of the state, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala as the chairman to reconcile aggrieved members of the party in the state with Prince Gbade Lana as secretary.

They are expected to together with Alhaji Kamar Ajisafe, (Less City), Pa Akin Ojebode, (Oyo), Alhaji Laide Abass,(Ibarapa Zone)Pa Adeleke, Oke Ogun I, Prof Dibu Ojerinde, (Oke Ogun II) Senator Teslim Folarin,   (representing Oyo state Caucus in the Senate), Hon Segun Odebunmi (Bunvic),  (representing the House of Representatives Caucus), Hon Niran Alarape,  (State House of Assembly), Hon Mojeed Olaoya, (State party secretary), Mr Isiaka Areokuta (Youth Leader), Mrs Mabel Williams, (Women Leader), Chief S.M. Akindele (Oyo Central), Adefisoye Adekanye (Oyo South), Rasaq Arikewuyo  (Oyo North) as members respectively to work in this regard.

Doubt persists

However, rather than dousing the tension in the party, Senator Ajimobi’s  reconciliation team is raising more controversies within the party as the aggrieved APC members have rejected the team claiming that it was one sided with a chieftain of the party and the immediate past Minister of Communication, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, describing the committee as fraudulent.

“The fraudulent composition of his so-called Oyo state Reconciliation Committee has really exposed him (Ajimobi) as a most unserious political leader who does not deserve the attention of self respecting members of our party.”

According to Barrister Shitu 90 percent of those Senator Ajimobi appointed into the reconciliation committee are members of his SENACO faction of Oyo APC, saying, “as stated earlier, Ajimobi is a political Leopard who can never change his colours. We, therefore, ignored his face saving political Shenanigan.”

A group within the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo state , APC Reformers,  comprising mostly of former political appointees and elected officials under the administration of Senator Ajimobi in a statement in Ibadan last Thursday faulted the setting up of the reconciliation committre saying it was nothing but a waste of time.

According to the group in the statement after its emergency meeting in Igbeti and signed by its Deputy Coordinator, Wasiu Olatunbosun, it minced no words in saying the committee is “dead on arrival”.

Further, it said “the latest move by theAPC Deputy National Chairman, could best be tagged a great joke in the unfolding drama within the APC in Oyo state. It is curious to imagine why a culprit will become a judge in his own case”.

The group claimed that Senator Ajimobi and some members of the newly inaugurated committee played significant roles in the events that led to the crisis in the party and that the recent antics of Ajimobi affirmed that “he lacked the moral justification to call for reconciliation.” 

Fresh shocker

Aside the rejection of the composition of the reconciliation team members, feelers from the other APC camps revealed that fresh shocker may be awaiting Senator Ajimobi on the committee as another aggrieved faction though silent is already perfecting strategy to hijack the committee by shutting out those known to be die-hard loyalists of Senator Ajimobi, among the committee members.

To political observers, there seems no end in sight to the prolonged factional crisis rocking the party in Oyo state.

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