Oladele Ogunsola – Ibadan
In what could be the manifestation of the popular Yoruba proverb that with the presence of elders in the marketplace, it will be difficult for a newborn baby to be wrongly backed (agba kii wa loja, kori omo tuntun o wo), elders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) might have stepped in to resolve the ongoing crisis between the state governor, Sen. Abiola Ajimobi and the splinter group within the party that goes by the name, ‘Unity Forum’.
On Monday, the elders from the seven zones of the state visited the governor in his Agodi, Ibadan seat of power, where they pleaded with him to bring back to his fold the members of the dissenting group, most of whom also christened themselves as LAMISTS.
The elders, including Chiefs Solomon Akindele and Lasisi Ayankojo from Oyo zone. Chief S.A. Adekola from Oke Ogun zone; Prince Kunle Sanda and Alhaji Kamarudeen Ajisafe from
Ibadan Less City, Alhaji Olaide Abass from Ibarapa, Mr. Sunday Adewale from Ogbomoso and Dr. Mrs. Adepeju Esan from Ibadan also used the occasion to felicitate with the governor on the successful and peaceful conduct of the Local Government/Local Council Development Areas (LG/LCDAs) in the state last Saturday, which was however boycotted by the members of the Unity Forum.
Pleading with the governor to forgive the group, the elders pledged their loyalty to him and promised that they would on their own call the aggrieved group to order as they recalled that none of them could be more LAMIST than them in the party politics.
According to the elders, “we were foot soldiers of Late Alhaji Lamidi Adesina and were loyal to him when he was governor, yet we did not come out to claim we are LAMISTS and go against governor Ajimobi. While we recognize the governor as our leader and another ‘Lam Adesina’, we hereby plead with your Excellency to forgive the dissenting members of the party”.
In his response, the governor said that all those fighting him had benefitted one way or the other from his government, asking, “why should I become their enemy because I replaced some of them during the second term to give room for others”?
He used the opportunity to react to the allegation by Lam Adesina’s son, Hon. Dapo Lam-Adesina, who was former Commissioner for Youth and Sports in his cabinet during his first term in office and now member of the House of Representatives, that the governor wanted to kill him during the last ward congress.
The governor said, “If I had not forced him into my car that day, he could have been injured by the irate men who do not like his political stand”, adding, “till date, I have not pencilled anybody down to succeed me, contrary to insinuation from some quarters.
“If the former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala could become our member now, former Senate Leader in the PDP, Teslim Folarin could be in APC and even the former Deputy Governor, Taofeek Arapaja can come back to our party, what else would we say we want that we would not accommodate everybody for good.
“I have forgiven those fighting us. I hereby call on them to let us jaw jaw and continue the consolidation process”, Ajimobi told the elders.
Meanwhile, the governor told the mammoth crowd that accompanied the elected 68 chairmen of LG/LCDAs in the last Saturday election and their deputies to their inauguration at the Secretariat on Monday that his party, the APC that won all the seats of the councils was not perturbed by the non-participation of some opposition parties in the election
He, however, urged the party officials to extend their hands of fellowship to all the aggrieved members of the ruling party while admonishing the 33 local government chairmen and 35 chairmen of the Local Council Development Areas elected on Saturday after they were sworn in by the Oyo State Chief Judge, Justice Munta Abimbola.
The governor reminded them of the oath of office taken and allegiance to discharge their duties without fear or favour.
To add colour to the ceremony were many dignitaries from across the state, including politicians, royal fathers, party leaders, among others, including the executive members of the government, Chairman of the APC, Chief Akin Oke, two members of the House of Representatives (Hon. Saheed Fijabi, and Prince Akeem Adeyemi), Oba Lekan Balogun, the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland among others.
The governor told the gathering that the successful conduct of the election, which was peaceful, orderly and stood as a veritable test of election conduct, locally and globally, has demonstrated and consolidated the quality of our administration in the state.
“For those who did not participate in the election, we are not perturbed because it is a confirmation of their self-assessment which is indicative of their lack of presence, relevant structures and convincing status in the politics of the state”, the governor said of the opposition.
Asking the newly elected council bosses to extend their hands of fellowship to the aggrieved ones, the governor said, “God loves forgiveness for others” just as he equally appealed to all and sundry within and outside the ruling party and to those “we extend our hands of fellowship, to support, cooperate and collaborate with us in repositioning Oyo State”.