By Wale Adedayo
Fears of losing out in the ongoing battle for political supremacy within the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) may have prompted Senator Ibikunle Amosun to draw the first blood today as scores of innocent persons were injured by thugs believed to be supporters of the Ogun State Governor.
The thugs wanted to stop the inauguration of the Ogun State APC Harmonisation Committee, which Amosun’s supporters believe has a majority of former Ogun State Governor, Chief Olusegun Osoba’s loyalists. The Harmonisation Committee has been inaugurated in Ekiti and Ondo states. Today should have been the turn of Ogun State, but for what a source claimed was the high wire politics of Amosun, who felt he has lost majority of the 37 members to the Osoba side.
Amosun is at daggers drawn with Osoba, who the governor believes is working against his political interest. Uhuru Times had earlier reported that the inauguration of a 37-member Harmonisation Committee for Ogun State APC by the party’s National Vice Chairman (South-West), Otunba Niyi Adebayo, would no longer hold on Thursday as earlier planned.
The Harmonisation Committee is expected to supervise the registration of members of the party and also organize a fresh congress to elect officers that will run the APC from the Wards and local governments to the state level. Although the chairmanship of the committee has been conceded to Amosun as governor, sources told Uhuru Times that at least 60 per cent of the members remain loyal to Osoba.
There was panic in town last week too. But it was limited to the APC members across the state. A supposed instruction from the Governor’s Office dissolving the local government and ward excutive committees of the APC took many members by surprised. Following in its heels was a list of five caretaker committee members for each ward and local government, which loyalists of the governor said was sent by Oga.
This supposed instruction from Amosun has further served to drive a wedge between his supporters and those of Osoba, who believe there is a tradition always followed each time there is transition to another political party when it is time to change officers. And these old AC die-hards remain in the majority with fresh intakes from the PDP boosting those supporting the governor.
An average APC member believes there is an unbroken chain from AD till the current arrangement. In words and deeds, it is as if there is no new political party, apart from the fact that only a change of name has been happening since 2003, when AD gave way to AC. It is in this context that ‘new entrants’ are often seen with the ‘old members’ believing they remain custodians of the party’s values.
The exodus from PDP has certainly assisted Amosun, but blending in with the system has been difficult. It was as if former President Olusegun Obasanjo instructed his loyalists to join the APC on Amosun’s side to boost the governor’s support base in the party. But to what extent this will help in a party whose system of organization is different from PDP’s is yet to be known.
There is no doubt Amosun is losing out towards the 2015 permutations in Ogun State APC as the party’s structures remain firmly in Osoba’s grip. Unless there is help from Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, it will be interesting to see how the crisis will be resolved as both sides appear bent on having their way.