Tunde Olanrewaju, Abeokuta
Indications emerged on Thursday that the gulf between feuding leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun State has widened, with speculations rife that the faction loyal to a National Leader of the party, Chief Olusegun Osoba, may pull out of the APC as it has vowed not to work with the Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.
Addressing loyalists during an open air stakeholders meeting, held at Osoba’s Ibara GRA, Abeokuta residence, the former governor wearing a white T-Shirt with “Action Group” inscription pledged on oath that he would never agree to suggestions towards reconciliation as being currently packaged by the APC national leadership, being the resolution of his loyalists across the state, which he said was binding on him.
Long before the recently concluded congresses of the APC, loyalists of Osoba and Amosun have been operating along parallel lines. Both sides conducted parallel congresses to pick different executive members for Wards, Local Governments and state chapters of the party. But a few days back, a National Executive Committee meeting of the APC in Abuja acknowledged the crisis in the Ogun State chapter of the party and set up an elders committee to reconcile both factions.
As if to cement his disdain for the decision of the party’s NEC, Osoba, who argued that his faction remains the authentic side having followed the APC guidelines to emerge, directed his loyalists which included the three senators representing the state at the National Assembly, Adegbenga Kaka, Akin Odunsi and Gbenga Obadara and six other members of the House of Representatives and other members of the party to commence the compilation of a new members’ register in the 236 wards of the state.
In his words, “Your exco members met me and said that you (members) have resolved not to work with anyone again; that you have resolved to go it your own way.
“Secondly, they said you have rejected harmonization and that you don’t want any sharing formula with them, be it 80:30 or 70:30 because you are the authentic and original APC members. Is that so? They said you are the ones who have the tellers; who obtained your tellers individually for the congresses; you are the ones who followed what the party guidelines say and so you don’t want sharing formula. Is that so?
“I now give you my words, I pledge in the name of God and Jesus Christ who I worship that we have gone beyond anybody begging us. If thousands come prostrating before me, what you members have decided is what I will adhere to and do.”
Faulting the setting up of an elder’s committee by the national leadership of the party, Osoba contended that the case was too big for such a committee to look into, arguing that, “they are only looking for sentiments; they are looking for ways to eat you up. Let them go their way.
“They said they have set up elders committee, don’t mind them, I don’t know who is older than me politically amongst them. None of them is closer to Awolowo than I was. I wined and dined with him. I don’t have confidence in those people up there again. They are interested in eating you up, don’t allow them to deceive you again. When they come, they would not meet me, it is you the exco that they will meet and you will tell them what is on ground, it is not the issue of party, when did we format APC, not up to a year, you people are vehicle. We have dropped the traitors and the betrayers.”
On the claim of Amosun that he had done so much to satisfy him (Osoba), the former governor said that, “How can anyone quantify the money I’ve spent during elections since 1988? Can money buy my good name?”
He directed his loyalists to go back to their wards and compile new members register, while saying that he had secured the assurances of the members of the party in the state who had defected to the opposition to return once the coast to the “Promised Land” became clearer for his loyalists. Osoba also said that he would commence a tour of the state to consult with his loyalists on next line of action.
Shortly after he left the podium with the national assembly members and other leaders in tow, some members of the party in the gathering became apprehensive Osoba’s address was a subtle declaration that they would leave the APC for another party, possibly the newly registered Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN).
One of them, who does not want his name in print told Uhuru Times, “I think the leader is stylishly telling us we will go to another party. At least, Amosun too had wanted to go to Accord Party. So, if the national headquarters feel we are not important, we have no business with them than to go to another party. It is a good development. Let them go and win the 2015 elections alone.”