Ademola Babalola in Ibadan
With exactly three months to May 12 local government election in Oyo State, some members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday staged a protest at the party secretariat at Oke Ado, Ibadan to register their displeasure over alleged imposition of councillorship and chairmanship candidates by the state Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, in connivance with some party leaders.
They were led by their spokesman, Mr. Kamardeen Kayode Obisesan from Egbeda Local Government who said: “We heard that the governor for complicity and orchestrated move had perfected plans to impose his cronies and his group which have been the only group ravishly enjoying the real dividend of democracy in Oyo State since the inception of this administration from May 2011 to date.
“Moreover, information at our disposal confirmed that the names of would-be candidates for the chairmanship and councillorship in the 33 local government councils, local council development areas have been secretly compiled and approved without any conduct of primaries just waiting for the submission to OYSIEC. This action is devoid of internal democracy and unacceptable.
“Therefore, the APC concerned group in the 11 local government councils in Ibadanland resolutely plead that the state executive should forthwith release the timetable for the forthcoming local government election and equally that the party primaries be conducted in accordance with article 20 of the party’s constitution.”
The aggrieved APC members who claimed that they were aspirants said they had registered their intentions to contest the council poll with the party, stressing that “they would never allow what they described as “action that is capable of destabilising the party” but would fight the injustice to a logical conclusion.
They argued that out of 68 caretaker chairmen and local council development areas for the state, one slot was given each to a former governor and a traditional ruler. The remaining 66 positions were allegedly allotted to loyalists of Ajimobi.
They, therefore, called on the national secretariat of the party to quickly rise up to the occasion and salvage the party from the precipice.
Though the party Secretary, Mojeed Olaoya, said the APC Chairman, Chief Akin Oke, would react appropriately to the protest, an aide of the governor, Otunba Moronkola Thomas, described the protesters as dissidents.
Thomas who is the Senior Special Executive Assistant to the governor, said: “It was a sponsored protest by some dissidents within the party. They are the dissidents foreseeing their imminent defeat in the forthcoming primary or consensus arrangements being put in place to forestall crisis. The governor had sued for the possibility of working out a consensus arrangement with the party elders across the state in line with the article the provision contained in the APC constitution as amended in 2014.”
But a communique signed by Chief Abolade Akinyemi, Alhaji Gani Alade, Mr Osuolale M. Ishola-Asanke, quoted the aggrieved members as proposing the move to impose candidates.
In a letter of protest addressed to the party chairman in the state, Chief Akin Oke and the national chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, national leader of the party, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu and three APC senators, they stated: “We are quick to stress that we have absolute and implicit confidence in the performance and ability of the State executive council of the APC in steering the ship of our great party in Oyo State. Hence, our full support for the state executive in executing the laudable programmes of our great party is guaranteed and not negotiable.
“The group observed that the governor in conjunction with some few party members had concluded the secret plan of imposing candidates for the forthcoming local government elections, an act which is against article seven of the party’s constitution; that actively condemn and resist all forms of oppression and exploitation of Nigerians.”