By Oladele Ogunsola – Ibadan)
The state congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was held in two different locations; Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba and Obafemi Awolowo Stadium (former Liberty Stadium, Oke-Ado and Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, both in Ibadan, Oyo State capital yesterday to further authenticate the unhealthy status of the ruling party in the state.
However, at the congress held at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan where the faction loyal to the state governor, Sen Abiola Ajimobi converged, the governor declared the other faction under the aegis of ‘Unity Forum’ as jesters.
The Adamasingba congress, which had in attendance the approved authorities for such exercise consisting of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials and the party’s National Committee for State Congress from Abuja headed by Engr Abdulahi Gwarzo returned Chief Akin Oke as the state Chairman.
At the two venues, Obafemi Awolowo Stadium (former Liberty Stadium) Oke-Ado, Ibadan which hosted the Unity Forum and Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba where the main faction held its congress, all the state officials were elected by affirmation since all the officers were returned unopposed.
Speaking after the election and swearing-in of the 35 state officials of the party at Adamasingba, Governor Ajimobi, who maintained that those ganging up against him and his loyalists were only engaging in ‘afefeyeye’ because “it is where we are that God is.”
An elated Ajimobi, who rhythmically danced to the songs by Ibadan-based Fuji crooner, Wasiu Ayinde Merenge told the mammoth crowd that his assertion of God being on his side was based on the fact that all the party apparatus from Abuja were there with him and his people there.
Not only that, he said, “President Muhammadu Buhari, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Chief Bisi Akande, former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala, former Senate Leader, Teslim Kolawole Folarin, Sen Fatai Tayo Buhari, former member of the House of Representatives, Hon Kamil Akinlabi, some of the current members of the lower chamber of the National Assembly, some of the state lawmakers and other very important political big weights are all here with us.”
Saying that the calibre of people in the gathering gladdens his heart, the governor remarked that “it is natural to have enemies and I’m not in anyway disturbed that I have my own share of the natural phenomenon, but, what emboldens me the more is the fact that nobody fights me and win, I’m always a conqueror.
“As powerful and all-knowing God is, He still allows the devil its own space to operate, but those of us here are true children of God. Don’t be carried away by the long and whitish bear of some people, it doesn’t really mean that they know God or very close to God.
“We have faced similar opposition in the past, but, where are the members of the group today? They have all fizzled out. Those towing the same path will fail. We have elected new party executives and that is certain and we stand by what we have done,” he added.
Governor Ajimobi, who described those claiming to be LAMISTS (a group within the Unity Forum) as ‘alarmists’ maintained that nobody could lay claim to the name, ‘Lam’ (Lamidi Adesina), the late former governor of the state more than him, adding, “I inherit ‘LAMIST’, he raised my hand up, where were they then?
“The State Chairman, Chief Akin Oke, who has just been re-elected was put there by the late Lam Adesina, I didn’t remove him. The same goes for some of the other members of the executive council in the state that have been serving and are still serving the party. As I said, they are ‘alarmist’.
“They are radio and newspaper tiger, making noise all about that they are all in all. They are saying we want to kill them, can we kill? They are the ones harbouring killers and may God not allow them to kill us and we shall not be killed by God’s name.
“I thank the new members of the state executive council, God has given us the party and nobody can take it away from us. I’m not interested in making noise and I’m not ready to join issues with them. What I know is that we don’t lose the election and whatever they claim to do not mean anything to me, let them meet us at the poll.
“Lion is the king of the jungle. I charge you all to go and tell those ganging against us to retrace their steps, we have beaten them in the game of politics. So many people pursued us yesterday, where are they now”?, the governor charged.
At Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, Oke-Ado, where the only Minister from the state and Minister of Communication, Barr Abdul-Raheem Adebayo Shittu, Sen Monsurat Sunmonu, some members of the House of Representatives, few of the state lawmakers and other party chieftains held the parallel Congress, the immediate past State Deputy Chairman of the party, Alhaji Isiaka Alimi became the chairman.
Barr Shittu, in his remark, said the gathering of the people defied the insinuation by the governor and his acolytes that the group has no members, stressing that with the large crowd from across the state, the group had shown the whole world that it could not be ignored.
The Minister noted, “who can say all you people gathering here today are rabble-rousers and inconsequential? The struggle we have embarked upon will be pursued legally to a logical conclusion. Whoever says a gathering like this does not matter in a political party must be a joker”.
Sen Sunmonu in her comment said the group’s clamour ”is to let the whole world know that a political party is not an estate of an individual, but, a platform for collective interest, which created the platform for the current holders of political offices.
“It is undemocratic for somebody to make himself God over others in a political party setting. We all have equal rights and whatever may be the desire of any party member should be subjected to the collective decision of party members and not an individual, that’s what is called democracy”, the Senator representing Oyo Central Senatorial District affirmed.