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Oyo APC holds state congress tomorrow amidst intrigues

By Seye Olumide (Southwest Bureau Chief)
29 October 2021   |   4:12 am
Barring last minute change of plan, Oyo State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) will tomorrow hold its state congress that was earlier postponed by the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC).


Barring last minute change of plan, Oyo State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) will tomorrow hold its state congress that was earlier postponed by the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC).

The congress, which was supposed to have held on October 17, 2021, was shifted because of discrepancies in the list of delegates.
But there are strong indications that the exercise may hold amidst thick suspicion, as efforts to unite the major groups contending for the soul of the party have not produced results.

It was gathered that some party chieftains boycotted the stakeholders meeting held yesterday having realised that the warring factions are not ready to shift ground.

It was, however, learnt that the party’s headquarters in Abuja has given final directives that Oyo State congress must hold tomorrow with stern warning that all factions must abide by the outcome of the exercise.

Party sources confided in The Guardian that it is still not certain that the congress will hold until delegates’ list is made public.

According to a source who pleaded for anonymity, “the major reason why the congress was postponed is that a serving member of the National Assembly has infiltrated party leadership in Abuja and removed some names of delegates and substituted them with names that are not known to APC. We all know that he did it because of his governorship ambition but that is not going to be accepted. As at Thursday evening we are yet to see the list of delegates to be used and until we see it, nobody is sure the congress will hold.”

The congress will be a straight battle between members of Unity Forum and the group loyal to former governor of the state, the late Senator Abiola Ajimobi. The Unity Forum had in the last four years picked up a battle with the late Ajimobi over control of the party.

A source said, “The bone of contention is that members of Unity Group insisted on producing the new chairman of the party and others are saying no to their demands. These are people that left the party to join other parties because they lost at the governorship primaries. Without them we won some seats at state and national assemblies but lost the governorship. Yes, they came back, but not to dictate to the party.”

Members of the Unity Forum believe that the likes of former governor of the state, Adebayo Alao-Akala and Senator Teslim Balogun are working out a script to hijack the party’s structure in collaboration with the outgoing chairman, Oyo State Caretaker Committee, Chief Akin Oke.

While the group loyal to Ajimobi is pointing accusing fingers at former Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, erstwhile Senator Femi Lanlehin and incumbent Minister of Youths Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, among others for using their connection with Abuja to create factions in the party.

Some members of the Unity Forum alleged that Mrs Ajimobi has been making moves to thwart chairmanship aspiration of Mr Isaac Ajiboye Omodewu, hence her alliance with Oke and Akala to ensure Omodewu does not emerge as new chairman of the party.
But sources close to Alao-Akala and Oke dismissed the story as total lies aimed at creating confusion by fifth columnists in the party.
A former Chairman of all Local Government Areas and LCDA’s in Ibadan, Lekan Afuye dispelled the story as rumour. He said Ajimobi’s courtesy visit to former Governor Rashidi Ladoja and Alao-Akala, recently was a good move in good direction and has no political undertone. 

Afuye also dismissed rumour that the meeting between Ajimobi and her husband’s predecessors was to sell the candidature of one Engr. Yekeen Abolade as next state chairman of APC in Oyo.
But in a telephone chat with The Guardian yesterday, Oke assured that the state congress would hold without rancour as all stakeholders, who assembled yesterday in Ibadan, including members of the Unity Forum had agreed to work towards same purpose.

He also disclosed that the initial sharing formula and zoning arrangements was adopted but with minor adjustments. He said, “We have 36 positions in the executives and 33 local governments in Oyo, certainly each of the councils would be represented in the executive while the remaining three positions would be shared among the three senatorial districts. This would give every council and zone equal chances and participation.”
Oke also disclosed that members of the Committee that would organise the state congress have started arriving at Ibadan while its chairman is expected in the state today.

On the Unity Forum, Oke said the group was well represented at the stakeholders meeting and that the meeting would still hold today (Friday) to finalise arrangements.
He also disclosed that the position of the earlier screening committee still stands while the state chairmanship position is zoned to Oke Ogun 1.

Former Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu. Photo/twitter/HMAdebayoShittu

As reported before, the screening committee cleared all four aspirants from Oke Ogun 1, who are jostling for the state championship position.
The committee, which claimed to have screened 80 aspirants across the 33 local governments also disqualified all aspirants eyeing the post of State Assistant Youth Leader and four out of the five who sought to vie for Senatorial Youth Leadership position due to over-age.
The committee advised stakeholders to forward fresh nomination to replace those that have been disqualified. 
Secretary to the Screening Committee, Afeez Bolaji Repete, said he disqualified all aspirants eyeing the post of State Assistant Youth Leader and four out of the five who sought to vie for Senatorial Youth Leader position because they were found to be over-aged.
According to him, “At the end of the screening exercise, we found that majority of the aspirants for the post of Youth Leaders across board have passed the age bracket of between 18 and 35 years stipulated in the party’s Constitution and they were summarily disqualified. 
“Also disqualified are all aspirants who jettisoned the zoning arrangement prescribed by the party in the state and thus sought offices outside their geopolitical zones.”

The committee urged all aspirants, who attended the screening exercise to contact the Secretariat of the party in Oke-Ado to ascertain their status- whether qualified or disqualified. 
Those cleared from Oke Ogun 1 to contest the state chairmanship position are, Alhaji Abu Gbadamosi Adejare (Kajola), Mr. Dele Akinleye (Itesiwaju), Engr. Abolade Yekeen Akanni (Iseyin) and Mr. Isaac Ajiboye Omodewu (Itesiwaju).
The committee described them as having demonstrated good account of themselves at the screening exercise, saying,  “It is worthy of note that Oyo APC can boast of quality hands as all the aspirants, who appeared before the panel demonstrated zeal, readiness and competence to excel in the post being sought if given the opportunity to serve as individuals.”
The screening committee headed by Engr. Idris Adeoye, had to suspend its activities last weekend following the postponement of the state congress by the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC).