Oyo APC at a crossroads as CECPC has two harmonised executives lists
The faction referred to as the Conservative Force in Oyo State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) seems to have gained upper hand over the Progressives, in the ‘battle’ to control the party, with alleged backing of the national headquarters.
On October 31 2021, the Conservative Force led by a former governor of the state, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, Senator Teslim Folarin and other defectors from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), successfully held a state congress to elect a new executive.
The Progressives, represented by the outgoing State’s Caretaker Chairman, Chief Akin Oke, the Unity Forum and members of the late Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s political legacy stayed away from the congress. They rather held a media briefing at Premier Hotel urging the national headquarters to disregard the state congress.
The controversial October 30 state congress supervised by the State Congress Chairman, Gambo Lawan produced Isaac Omodewu, a former commissioner under Ajimobi’s government, as the new state chairman. Omodewu’s election was rejected by Oke and the Unity Forum on the ground that the delegates list used for the exercise was manipulated.
Recall that the October 30 2021 congress was originally scheduled to hold on October 16. The exercise was midway the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) suspended the exercise on the ground that the delegates list used had been doctored.
The national headquarters then directed the warring sides to meet and deliberate on a zoning arrangement as initially discussed by the Elders’ Advisory Committee led by Alao-Akala, Oke, representatives of the Unity Forum, headed by former Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu. There is also another strand of the party led by incumbent Minister of Youths Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare and others.
Before October 16, the warring tendencies had decided on a sharing formula that says all the 36 executives position would be shared evenly among the 33 local governments while the remaining three would be distributed to the three senatorial districts in the state.
The key position, which is the state chairman, was zoned to Oke Ogun 1 area where there are four divisions. Oke Ogun 1 could not agree on a consensus candidate. The conservative tendency has its eyes on Omodewu from Itesiwaju LGA while the progressive faction preferred Alhaji Abu Gbadamosi Adejare from Kajola LGA. Others were insisting on presenting Mr Dele Akinleye (Itesiwaju) and Eng. Abolade Yekeen Akanni (Iseyin).
The desperation by the factions to have their candidate elected reportedly led to the manipulation of the delegates list. There were allegation and counter allegations over, which of the factions actually manipulated the list in collaboration with the national headquarters.
The incumbent Minister of Youths and Sports Development and Shittu were accused on one hand while Alao-Akala and Folarin were also accused on the other hand.
The national headquarters thereafter held several meetings with the factions and finally directed that the Elders Advisory Committee, Oke, two former deputy governors of Oyo State and the seven zonal leaders should meet and harmonise the zoning arrangement. Still they failed to arrive at a consensus until October 30 when another controversial state congress that produced Omodewu was held at Awolowo Stadium.
On the same day, the progressive group had a separate press briefing at Premier Hotel Ibadan and distanced themselves from state congress, saying, it was the scheming of Alao-Akala and his cohort to take over the party structure.
Interestingly, Lawan, the chairman of the state congress committee was held hostage in his hotel, allegedly at the instance of the progressives. Secretary to the state congress committee, Abdulahi Bello attended the congress on the directives of Lawan.
Face off between Oke and Alao-Akala
Realising the implications that the conservative group might have gained upper hand to control the party ahead of the planned national convention scheduled for December, the outgoing State Caretaker committee chairman, the Unity Forum, remnants of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) and the Ajimobi political dynasty protested to the national headquarters.
The national headquarters immediately summoned another stakeholders meeting on November 2 to resolve the crisis. There was confusion regarding the definite position of the national headquarters, whether the October 30 state congress should be cancelled or the warring factions were directed to return to a roundtable to harmonise the position.
While the Oke-led group took the directives of CECPC as outright cancellation of the October 30 state congress, the Alao-Akala-led faction claimed the directive empowered the former governor to organise a meeting where the warring factions should harmonise.
Parallel meetings of Friday 12 November 2021
ON Friday November 12, the crisis worsened when Alao-Akala-led Elders’ Advisory Council held a parallel meeting with the one called by Oke.
Both factions claimed to have the backings of the party’s national headquarters to hold the meeting meant to harmonise the executives’ list.
The conservative were accused of trying to hijack the structure ahead of the 2023 governorship to support the ambition of Folarin, who is said to have governorship ambition and Alao-Akala, who allegedly wants his son to contest for deputy governor.
But the progressives, led by Oke, Florence Ajimobi, wife of immediate past governor, late Abiola Ajimobi and members of the Unity Forum insisted that some dissidents and minorities cannot take over the party’s structure for their ‘selfish purpose’.
Alao-Akala assumed that he had the mandate of CECPC to head the harmonisation meeting. He called a separate meeting at his residence, while Oke, who believes he is still acting in the capacity of Caretaker chairman called another meeting at the party secretariat.
But some observers believed that the CECPC is playing ‘Ostrich’ in the matter by tactically supporting the conservatives while prodding the progressives, for Alao-Akala and Folarin to have their way.
Onlookers also said the lingering crisis in Oyo APC has inputs of external forces who don’t want the National Leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu to gain control of the party structure in Oyo, which is the second largest voting bloc in Southwest. A serving governor and a Senator were said to be working closely with the national headquarters to ensure that Alao-Akala and Folarin have their way, it was alleged.
At the end of Friday meeting, Alao-Akala’s group came up with a harmonised list that ratified Omodewu as the new state chairman, while Alhaji Abass Olayide Masood from Ibarapa Central was also ratified as the deputy state chairman.
Masood is said to be a loyalist of the late former Governor Lam Adesina. Omodewu, according to the list, represents the tendency of the late Governor Abiola Ajimobi political dynasty.
The new State Secretary, Alhaji Tajudeen Olanite from Oyo East Local Council, was ratified, while the Deputy State Secretary Mrs. Monisola Tegbe from Ibadan North-East Local Council was said to have been nominated by Ladoja Group and ZLP members in Oyo State APC.
The state Treasurer, Alhaji Lekan Busari from Ido Local Council was claimed to have been nominated by Chief Niyi Akintola (SAN).
The list also claimed that the state Youth Leader, Aremu John Oyetunji, from Ogbomoso South, was nominated by the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Chief Sunday Dare, while the new Publicity Secretary, Wasiu Shadare from Egbeda Local Council is a nominee of the outgoing State Chairman, Chief Akin Oke.
Shadare is still acting in the capacity of Senior Assistant Media to Chief Oke.
The list also has as State Auditor, Alhaji Lukuman Anwo from Afijio Local Council, who is said to be a nominee of Bimbo Kolade of the Ajimobi Legacy Forum and others.
Alao-Akala insisted that the harmonised list had the authority of the CECPC and that any aggrieved member of Oyo APC should forward their petition to the national headquarters.
The list was submitted to the national headquarters almost immediately in the presence of Lawan, who claimed he had the mandate of the CECPC to monitor the harmonised meeting.
BUT the outgoing State Public Secretary, Mr. AblulAzeez Olatunde, dismissed the list as a figment of the imagination of those behind it.
He appealed to the CECPC to intervene in the crisis in Oyo chapter. He said Omodewu, for instance, is not the popular choice of the Oke Ogun I area but rather the favourite of those who perfected the list.
In a counter move, on Monday November 15 2021, Oke submitted a separate harmonised executives list to the national headquarters but this time Lawan was not present.
WITH the development the national headquarters now has two separate harmonised executives lists from Oyo chapter.
In a telephone discussion with The Guardian yesterday, Oke said his move was in line with an earlier directive by the National Secretary of the party, Senator John Akpanudoedehe.
Oke said his action would put to rest the controversy trailing the authenticity of the October 30 state congress which produced Mr Isaac Omodewu, loyalist of Alao-Akala and Senator Teslim Folarin as the new state chairman.
The National Secretariat had directed that 11 leaders of the party in the state, Alao-Akala, two former deputies governor, Chief Iyiola Oladokun, Chief Moses Alake-Adeyemo, Seven Zonal leaders and Caretaker Chairman, Chief Oke were mandated to midwife a harmonised list that is acceptable to all the stakeholders.
Unfortunately, the warring tendencies could not reach a compromise, which led to a parallel meeting midwifed by Alao-Akala and Oke last Friday, which eventually generated two harmonised list of executive members.
Lawan, Akintola trade words as Oke lambasted Alao-Akala
THE development led to Lawan and Akintola exchange unkind words when the State Congress Committee Chairman reacted to a statement credited to Akintola that the national secretariat of the party in Abuja had no knowledge of his (Lawan) presence when the harmonised executives list was perfected.
Lawan said considering the antecedents of Akintola, his outburst on him and others was nothing but a figment of his imagination, personal opinion and ploy to get undue recognition.
He said if Akintola and others have any complaint, they should go to the party’s headquarters in Abuja rather than spewing out lies.
But in reaction, Akintola said he was unperturbed being called a liar and inconsequential politician because he is not one, adding that he had won election two times but Lawan has not.
In a similar situation, Oke lambasted Alao-Akala. The outgoing Caretaker committee chairman said it was a surprise that the former governor called a separate meeting in his house same day he (Oke) issued a statement calling for the ratification of harmonised lists drawn from all the seven zones.
He said the meeting held by Alao-Akala was attended by unauthorized persons in clear negation of the directives from Abuja.
Oke wondered when APC turned into the property of an individual? “It seems the former governor mistakes the ‘A’ in the acronym of our party for either Alao or Akala.
“Nevertheless, he remains my brother and a critical stakeholder in our party unless he is trying to say otherwise. Nine out of the eleven members of the Harmonization Committee came to the Party Secretariat today (Friday) to do the needful and they all signed the documents generated. At this juncture, I must state that my brother (Bayo Akala) should learn to leave above board and stop polarising the Progressive family. I understand he has finally unmasked himself as the brain behind the plot to cause schism in our party and I find this very disappointing.
“If he thinks the best thing to do at a time like this is to make himself the godfather of one out of about 15 governorship aspirants, I wish him well. Meanwhile, It is very disappointing that he could employ funny tactics to aid those whose only wish is to hijack the party for their own selfish ambitions. But I can assure the whole world that the committed Progressives would not watch and allow them destroy their heritage.”
He described the meeting held at Alao-Akala’s residence as a manifest of undemocratic traits. “They brought the same Lawan and his friends as Appeal Committee members on Friday but we confirmed that the national Secretariat did not send them to the state for any assignment. Just last week, Gambo was put to shame in the open when it was established that the delegates list he brought to us the last time was fake. In the end, justice will prevail and all the anti-democratic forces in our party will be exposed.
“As a matter of fact, we are in regular contact with the national secretariat of our party and we have been asked to bring the authentic harmonised list of state Executive Committee which would reflect the true wish of the generality of party membership. To this end, I urge genuine party faithful and the general public to remain calm as everything will be alright in no time.” Oke stated.
But in the other meeting, the conservatives claimed that peace has finally returned as they, as the critical stakeholders met to approve harmonised list of Oyo State Executives of the party.
The meeting, which held at Awosika residence of Alao-Akala was attended by zonal leaders and members of Oyo APC Elders’ Advisory Council. The Chairman of Oyo APC State Congress Appeal Panel Chairman, Chief (Dr.) Samuel Ogbuku was in attendance to authenticate the reconciled list of new state executives of the party as directed by APC CECPC.
The resolution to the meeting reads: “Sequel to Thursday, November 4 2021 directive of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the APC, a meeting of zonal leaders and members of Oyo APC Elders’ Advisory Council, was held at Awosika residence of former governor Adebayo Alao-Akala on Friday, November 12, 2021. The leaders resolved that: the October 30, 2021 State Congress of Oyo APC followed the zoning template approved on Monday October 11, 2021 by the leaders of the party.
“All tendencies are carried along in the composition of new state executive members of Oyo State APC according to the adopted zoning template of the party.
It reads further: “In lieu of the above, we hereby attach the harmonised list of Oyo State executives as endorsed and submitted to the National Secretariat of the party by Hon. Gambo and Hon. Bello Abdullah who are Chairman and Secretary of Oyo APC State Congress Committee respectively.
“A motion for adoption of the resolution of the meeting was moved by former speaker of Oyo State House of Assembly and current serving Minority Leader of OYSHA, Rt. Hon. Asimiyu Alarape. The motion was seconded by overall leader of APC in Oke-Ogun Zone, Pa Samuel Adekola.”
APC Elders’ Advisory Council said; “the leaders have resolved that there is no list to compare with list of winners of the party’s State Congress held on October 30th, 2021. Therefore, I move a motion for adoption of new party-state executives held on October 30th 2021 at Liberty Stadium Ibadan”.
Speaking after the meeting, Chairman of Oyo State APC Appeal, Chief (Dr.) Samuel Ogbuku stated that he came to authentic the reconciled list of new state executives of the party as directed by CECPC.
“Oyo APC State Congress Appeal Panel has no power to change the list of new state executives of the party who emerged through the State Congress of October 30th, 2021 held at Awolowo Stadium Ibadan. However, my committee has noted all the complaints by some party members. We will submit our report to the National Secretariat of the party,” he noted.
Stakeholders are however waiting to see the next move CECPC will take to address the situation.