By Shola Oyeyipo and Gboyega Akinnsanmi
Top leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday converged on the Oloto Street, Off Boudilon, Lagos residence of the former Ogun State Governor, Chief Olusegun Osoba, who dumped the party in October 2014 for a crucial reconciliatory meeting.
Osoba, former Chairman, APC constitution drafting committee, left the party for Social Democratic Party (SDP) due to irreconcilable difference between him and Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State.
Former Lagos State Governor and national leader of the APC, Senator Bola Tinubu; former Osun State Governor and former acting National Chairman, APC, Chief Bisi Akande; the Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola; Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi; former Ekiti State Governor, Chief Niyi Adebayo and the Lagos State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Idiat Oluranti Adebule, attended the meeting.
Others present at the meeting were National Vice-Chairman, APC, South-west, Chief Pius Akinyelure; former Ogun State Deputy Governor, Mr. Segun Adesegun, who was later the deputy governorship candidate to Mr. Akin Odunsi of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the 2015 election, Senator Gbenga Obadara, Akintola Benson and Alhaji Bimbo Awofeso.
Addressing journalists after the closed door meeting that lasted about three hours, Aregbesola said the discussions had brought Osoba back to progressive fold in western Nigeria.
“It is my pleasure to address the band of media houses that the leadership of the progressive politics in the western part of Nigeria met today at the residence of Akinrogun Aremo, and have resolved all the differences completely with the leadership.
“We are happy to inform the world that the leadership of progressive politics are united and ready to jointly prosecute the agenda for purposeful leadership in western part of Nigeria as we plan to do at the national level; to revive the economy.
“I believe with good governance and purposeful leadership, West Africa and the black race will be better for it.
“A time was when Aremo switched to another party. He was with the SDP but with what we have done, Aremo is back in the progressive leadership of Yoruba race,” Aregbesola said.
He said the reconciliation was on the platform of the APC, adding that: “With the leadership united, whoever subscribes to the leadership is part of this.”
Fielding questions from journalists when asked if he was happy about the development, Tinubu said: “You see me here, what do you expect? My happiness is personal to me. What is crucial is forging on “I’m an unapologetic progressive and I will remain a progressive.”
Asked if the absence of. Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State was a sign that he was excluded from the reconciliation meeting, Tinubu said: “Nobody is left out. No one. No matter your insinuation. The governor is with us. We can excuse people. He was elected on the APC platform. He is for the APC.
“This is not a leaderless revolution. It is clear we are one, including the governor of Ogun State. Who told you we are fighting? That is you insinuation?”
“We want to strengthen Nigeria. We want to stay focused in redefining Nigeria. We want to reverse the decay of the past years. For 16 years, PDP destroyed this country. We can’t be emotional and in self-denial about it.”
Tinubu bemoaned that the past PDP leadership in Nigeria did not prioritise road and rail road constructions, electricity and other crucial sectors attributing it to why Nigeria is where it is today.
On whether Nigerians are already getting impatient with the APC leadership, Tinubu who disagreed, said instead, what Nigerians want is to understand the direction of government.
“I research Nigeria. What they (Nigerians) want is to be certain of the direction of government. We will not continue to be leaderless. The fact is we don’t have to continue to import tooth pick. We need good leadership and that is what President Muhammadu Buhari is providing,” he said.
The APC national leader denied putting Akande forward for the Board of Trustee (BoT) chairmanship of the APC.
When asked about the reconciliation, Osoba who did not give a clear statement, sang a Yoruba song he referred to as one of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, stating that “The fight is over and the war is ended, the Lord has fought and won the war, halleluyah.”