The phenomenon of power tussle and political scheming that have characterised the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State, have started having negative effects on the party.
In October 2021, when a new Chairman of the party in person of former Commissioner for Lands and Housing, Hon. Isaac Omodewu, emerged to take over from Chief Akin Oke, there were rumbles among the party leaders with some loyalists of the late former governor, Lam Adesina (Lamists), and those of the late governor Abiola Ajimobi (SENACO), as well as, those supporting Senator Teslum Folarin, locking horns.
It took a long time before the executive council led by Omodewu took firm control of the party.
However, the obvious polarisation of the party led to rancour among contestants for the position of governor in the 2023 general elections.
Prominent among the contestants were a former CBN deputy governor, Chief Adebayo Adelabu (ak.a. Penkelemesi), and Senator, Teslim Folarin.
The two gladiators campaigned vigorously without anyone agreeing to step down for the other.
Eventually, Senator Folarin used his influence in the national secretariat of the party and in the National Assembly to emerge the governorship candidate of the party at the primary election.
Angered by this development, Adelabu defected from the APC to Accord party, where he was given the governorship slot.
Both Folarin and Adelabu contested against the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Engr. Seyi Makinde, who eventually got a second term as governor of the state, while Folarin and Adelabu lost out.
According to pundits, if the APC had not been divided, they might have defeated Makinde.
After the loss, Adelabu was elevated by President Bola Tinubu, who appointed him as Minister for Power, while Folarin was left in the cold.
With his influence in the cabinet of the Federal Government, report had it last week that power is gradually shifting to Adelabu’s camp, who we were told might take a pound of flesh from the party that denied him governorship in the last election.
It was rumoured that the National Chairman of the party, former governor Umar Abdullahi Ganduje, might hand over the control of the party in Oyo State to the aggrieved members, who decamped to the Accord Party with Adelabu.
Prominent in the race for the control of the party in the state are Adelabu and Ogbomoso-born Senator Ayoade Adeseun.
Reports had it that several meetings have been convened in Abuja between the national chairman of the party, Ganduje and the duo of Adelabu and Adeseun to dissolve the Isaac Omodewu- led executive and set up a caretaker committee to oversee the affairs of the party.
The intention, National Daily News learned, was to accommodate returning members from the Accord Party, who left the APC ahead of the last election.
To replace the Omodewu- led executive, sources said, would be a 17-member executive committee that will be led by a Chairman and Secretary from outside the state.
It was gathered that the Chairman is likely to be a Senator from Osun State, while the Secretary would be a former Commissioner in Ekiti State.
It was gathered that the 15- slot members will be shared at a ratio of nine (9) members for the returning members, led by Adeseun and Adelabu, while the remaining six members would be shared between the Unity Forum, Ajimobi Group, and Senator Folarin Group with two members per group.
However, the proposal was said to have been opposed and vehemently resisted by some top members of the party, who have queried why Ganduje from Kano State would be assigning party positions in the South West without the involving President Tinubu.
“We are all children of President Tinubu, and nobody can intimidate us in the party. What is certain is that we would work for the second term of President Tinubu in 2027, but all those who worked against the party in the governorship election in 2023 will receive their pay back,” said am aggrieved member. Some aggrieved members said: “We are waiting for them. If they hijack the party with the money they made from government, they will meet us at the election.
This is no longer about Folarin. It is about democracy and party loyalty.
“There is no way those who left the party for Accord Party will use money to hijack the party and expect us to support their candidate in 2027. It will not happen, “he said.
Speaking as a party, while reacting to the rumour on Wednesday, the state executive of the APC, described those behind the rumour of the dissolution of the party executive and caretaker arrangement as ‘renegades and desperados’.
In a statement issued and signed by the APC Publicity Secretary, Olawale Sadare, the party appealed to party faithful and supporters who got agitated by the “nonsensical propaganda material written and circulated by cowards and political vultures.to disregard the content of the poorly- scripted write-up which was only aimed at causing unnecessary panic among the teeming genuine party members.”
Sadare said: “We found it most unfortunate that some overrated political players would still take an undue advantage of their unsuspecting supporters by dishing out lies and misinformation at regular intervals with a view to retaining their support and loyalty. From the tone of the write-up, the source is quite known and the intention behind it is also not hidden even to a neophyte in politics.
“As serious- minded progressives, we can only laugh at the folly of those behind it while we also sympathise with the sponsors who have again shown their penchant for doing the same thing in the same way and expecting different results. “To set the record straight, the latest futile effort was designed to whittle down the effects of the disappointment which the unscrupulous group met last Thursday at the court where a case instituted before a Federal High Court in Ibadan with a view to getting a verdict to dissolve Oyo APC executive committees was struck out for lack of merit.
“Those behind the nebulous litigation had assured their supporters of a favourable result which they wanted to use to launch themselves as owners of the party but they met a brick wall since God does not support hypocrisy.
“It is time we emphasised again that the current executive committee of Oyo APC was a product of legitimate Congress, which was done the same time as those of other 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
“In as much as there is no case of misconduct or breach of Party Constitution by the whole of the State Exco or any other at any level, the cry of dissolution by the disgruntled elements anywhere would remain a mere wishful thinking.
In the last general election; we did not only win the state for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, we produced three Senators, nine House of Representatives members and four House of Assembly members. So, we challenge those labouring to hijack the party should provide their results to drive their immoral cause.
“It is on this premise that we are calling on the teeming population of genuine party members and supporters of the APC across the state to disregard any unfounded rumour relating to Exco dissolution while we are also assuring those who left the party at one time or the other but now genuinely willing to return that our doors are widely open.
“Our main focus now is on the forthcoming local government council election in which we are fielding candidates to win the 33 Chairmanship and 351 Councilorship seats across the state.
We say no to distraction as we ask selfish and desperate groups and individuals to keep away,” the party said.
With the current release from the party, the saying that ‘behind every smoke, there is fire,” has been confirmed.
Political watchers are eagerly monitoring the scenarios to see what will be the eventual outcome of the alleged “rumours.”