More trouble for Ogun APC as returning APM members form parallel faction
• They Are Not Our Members Yet — Oladunjoye
The All Progressive Congress (APC), Ogun State chapter could experience a quake, sooner than later. There are two chairmen claiming to lead the party, one headed by Caretaker Committee chair, Yemi Sanusi; while the other is led by Derin Adebiyi, whose leadership was sacked by the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) in the throes of intense struggle for the party’s governorship ticket last year. Each claims to be the authentic faction. The dispute is before an Abuja High Court.
Even though loyalists of the immediate past governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun who decamped to the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) have announced their return, they are yet to be recognised by the State party leadership.
The Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun had publicly said, they returned through the “window” and therefore till they return through the open door, they won’t be recognised. He expected them to have returned through their respective Wards and through their Local Government party leaders, instead of just announcing their return at a press conference.
The Guardian investigations revealed that the returnees have been holding parallel meetings since they do not recognise the Yemi Sanusi’s three-member Caretaker Committee.
Some party faithful lauded the return of erstwhile members, believing that the development would strengthen the party. But their return seems not to be a blessing as many believed.
The Guardian gathered that some chairman of Wards whose members defected to the APM have seized the party’s Wards register containing names of party members in their Wards, hence the Caretaker Committee has no complete register of their members. The party would need the complete register to conduct any internal or external election.
Three-time Governorship candidate, Gboyega Nasir Isiaka alias (GNI) and former Deputy Governor, Alhaja Salmot Badru were among prominent politicians who joined the party recently.
The speculation in political circles is that GNI joined the party based on agreement with some party leaders that he would be given the Ogun West Senatorial ticket in 2023.
If that turns out to be true, then it would mean, he would contest against the incumbent, his Yewa brother, Senator Tolu Odebiyi, who was Governor Amosun’s Chief of Staff but refused to join others to decamp to APM.
“The main reason GNI joined the party after his three unsuccessful attempts at the Governors seat under different parties is to foster his personal political ambition,” a party source told The Guardian.
Another party source told the reporter “I find it difficult to believe that any party leader would agree to give the Senatorial seat to GNI in 2023 as against Odebiyi, who has proved to be a loyal party member by not decamping to the APM with others.”
According to the source, it was for that reason that GNI “quickly decamped from African Democratic Congress (ADC) to APC, to allow him qualify to contest for any position. The party’s Constitution stipulates that, one must be a member for two years for him to qualify for any position.”
Another issue that will divide the party further is the Court case. The judgment fear of party faithful is that whichever way the judgment goes, it would divide the party further.
Another issue that is giving party stalwarts sleepless night is the Yayi Factor.
It is an open secret that the Senator representing Lagos West, Senator Solomon Adeola has his eyes on the governorship seat in the state.
He has a very strong political structure on ground already. In fact, the speculation is that without his structure, which he handed to Governor Abiodun after he decided to instead go and contest for the Lagos West Senatorial district, Abiodun couldn’t have won the 2019 elections.
Yayi supporters insist that he would contest the party’s primary against Abiodun should the latter decide to go for a second term.
But the spokesman for the APM, Balogun when contacted for his comments simply said; “ we have decided not to talk now. Anytime we decide to talk, we will get in touch with you.
But the APC Publicity Secretary, Tunde Oladunjoye was emphatic:” They (returnees) are not our members yet.”
Reacting to the allegation that there are parallel executives, Oladunjoye said: “ I cannot say categorically how true that is but what I know is that since their advertised return, which we got to know through a press conference, we have not seen them and we have not heard that they reported to the mainstream of APC in their respective wards.”
He continued: “The failed gubernatorial candidate of the defunct APM, Adekunle Abdulkabir Akinlade has not called anybody from the 26-member exco of the APC at the state level, that represent all the 26 state constituencies in the party structure. He hasn’t called any, he has not visited the Secretariat; we have not seen them and this may perhaps, lend credence to the fact that maybe, they want to form a parallel body.”
He recalled: “During the general elections, they formed a party structure for the purpose of contesting elections, according to Akinlade in a well circulated video recently on the interne. The party had no structure, had no exco, they just used it to campaign for election and if they had gone through that path and failed, do you still want to go the parallel line? Also, the person (Senator Ibikunle Amosun) you acclaimed to be your sponsor and godfather contested on the platform of APC and when he was supporting your (Akinlade) governorship ambition in another party, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC suspended him. It was the same NWC that set up the 26-man Caretaker Committee at the state level. The same NWC pardoned the Senator and every one of them rejoiced and said they had returned to the party after the Supreme Court judgment upheld Abiodun’s governorship election.
“So, how do you enjoy the mercy of the NWC on one hand and in another you say you will not recognise the Caretaker Committee set up by the same National Working Committee. There are a lot of contradictions there but we are waiting for them.
“We only got to know of their coming through the Press conference they held and our reaction is that they are much welcome, but for joining or rejoining a party, there are processes.
“There are cases whereby you maybe given a waiver or honour, as maybe the party wants to form a collegiate at the local government level, it is now left for the party to take that decision and honour you. It is not for you to come back and claim ownership or preeminence.”
According to him, when the Governor said anyone who joined the party through the window will not be recognised, he was “referring to anybody who intends to join the party, to go to the local government and the ward levels and even went as far as our South West zonal EXCO and also came back to our state EXCO to interact with us, visit our Secretariat. That was what happened with Alhaja Salmot Badru, former Deputy Governor and the members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who joined us, and you can see how we received them with celebration, with enthusiasm, with joy.”
“For those who are not our members yet, they are intending members and so their advertised return we see as mischief, we see it as an attempt to create confusion in the state and the party. We have passed that stage, we knew how this state was heated up from October 1, 2018; we remember the cases of political violence that they visited on the state.”
Asked if he was not worried that all the Federal appointments meant for the state were given to members of the returnee camp, he replied: “What I can tell you is that Federal appointment is the prerogative of the President, just as state appointments are prerogative of the Governor and as far as the government is still in power, there are still possibilities of appointments and people have been appointed in the state that you can say they belong to the political camp of our internal opposition, the Amosun camp. For example, someone has been appointed into the National Hajj Commission, a lady, I have forgotten her name now, there are people who have been appointed even not in this state that are not even politicians at all, they don’t belong to any political party”.
“We as a party, we are concerned and we actually feel that our members that laboured for the party, our members who stood their grounds when some people were throwing stones at the President during to the Presidential rally of February 11 2019; those people are qualified, knowledgeable enough, are experienced enough to be patronised, to be given federal appointments and we don’t want to believe that the appointments made so far will be the only appointments to be made by the President. Mr. President, will make more appointments from the state that will compensate people who held the party when some people abandoned the party, because if loyal party members are not rewarded, it may give the wrong impression that anti- party or treacherous activities are profitable.”