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2023: Oyo APC Risks Not Fielding Candidates In 13 Constituencies
THE All Progressives Congress (APC) may not be able to field candidates for 2023 elections in four out of 14 federal and nine out of 32 state constituencies in Oyo State.
A group within the party named The Progressives Front raised the alarm in a statement made available to Newsmen, expressing worry that the development may adversely affect the fortunes of the party.
Coordinator of the group, Mr Tunde Oladosu, who spoke against the backdrop of the spate of defections from the party after its primaries, said if not quickly checked, the development would compound the lingering crisis in the party.
According to Oladosu, information at the group’s disposal which was confirmed by sources in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has revealed that primary election was not held in affected federal and state constituencies before the deadline set by the electoral body.
The federal constituencies involved are: Oluyole, Ibadan South-West/ Ibadan NorthWest, Ibarapa North/ Ibarapa Central and Iseyin/Itesiwaju/ Kajola/Iwajowa federal constituencies. The state constituencies where APC will not filed candidates are: Ibarapa North/ Ibarapa Central, Ibarapa East, Oyo East, Oluyole, Ogbomoso, Atisbo/Saki-East, OnaAra, Iseyin/Itesiwaju and Oorelope.
“We should avoid what happened in Zamfara in the 2019 general elections when INEC disqualified all the APC candidates for governorship, national and state assembly elections because the party failed to conduct its primaries within the INEC stipulated time frame. Oladosu said further that all was not well within the APC in Oyo because of the hijack of the party structure by a minority group.
“Many are leaving the party in droves. The structures are collapsing. Those who are supposed to work for the party have moved to alternate party not because of anything but because they felt cheated.
“Those who have not left have vowed to work against the party from within. This is exactly what happened in the 2019 general elections that led to the loss of the governorship and even the presidential elections to the opposition,” Oladosun said.
Independent investigation by Sunday Tribune from INEC sources confirmed that Oyo APC may not be permitted to sponsor candidates in the 13 constituencies, having failed to conduct primary election in the areas within INEC deadline.
Meanwhile, the state chairman of the party, Mr Isaac Omodewu, on Saturday, inaugurated a 24-man reconciliation committee led by former Senator Olufemi Lanlehin with a mandate to pacify all aggrieved members and unify the party.
Lanlehin heads the committee which has as members Alhaji Abu Gbadamosi, who had emerged as factional chairman to Omodewu’s chairmanship; Chief Timothy Jolaoso; Honourable Lasun Adebunmi; Dr Hamid Ayinde; Mr Oladayo Lawal; Chief Badmos Bukola; Sunday Ajadi among others.
At the inauguration held at the party’s state secretariat in Ibadan, Omodewu added that the committee is expected to reach out to those in disagreement with the party and bring them back into the APC fold.
On the choice of the committee chairman for the assignment, Omodewu said Lanlehin boasted of the requisite knowledge and experience and was a seasoned politician to carry out the assignment.
Speaking after the inauguration of the committee, Lanlehin assured that the committee will speak to aggrieved party members for them not to abandon the party they built.
He added that the committee would also focus on the task of ensuring the victory of the party’s governorship candidate, Senator Teslim Folarin.
“I have been given the duty of getting everybody back into the party. People have the right to be angry after losing out one way or the other. But, this is a house we jointly built, so we have to jointly complete the house and live in it. We appreciate the chairman for giving us the honour to do this for the party,” Lanlehin said.