By Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo
Osun State chapter of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) yesterday said the party formed coalition with the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the just concluded state governorship re-run election due to the insinuations by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that SDP was politically irrelevant to their party.
A Chieftain of the party, Dr. Yemi Farounbi, who stated this while addressing party faithfuls at the Atlantic Event Centre, Osogbo, said the party laid its cards open, but that PDP refused to take advantage of it, while APC took advantage of the opportunity.
According to him: “Infact, let me tell you how it all happened; on Monday 24th of September, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki came by 2.00 pm and told us that, since Omisore was a member of the PDP, he should reason along with them on the coalition and we laid our card on table for him and he promised to get across to us within 24 hours. Till now he is yet to come.
“Equally on Tuesday, the following morning, Atiku Abubakar through his campaign manager, Otunba Gbenga Daniel called that they were in Osogbo and they would want to come to Ile-ife over the coalition arrangement. We waited for hours without him coming. Atiku called by himself on phone and said, he could no longer come because the leadership of the PDP said Omisore and the party were irrelevant to them politically.
“They were quoted as saying that, we should do whatever pleases us that Atiku should not negotiate with us. We then told them that we are not desperate to see them, and that our leadership in SDP was not for sale.”
Farounbi, who denied forming coalition government because of money, said the party did not receive any penny from anybody or political party.
He explained that to show the seriousness of APC, the Governor-elect of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi came to Osun State a day before the governorship election but left earlier for Lagos, from where he left for the UK to meet Mr. President, adding that while there, President Buhari directed him to go back to Osun on that very day to lead the negotiation team that met Omisore in Ile-ife.
Farounbi stressed that, “While with them, the president himself called the SDP members and later, the national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomole, Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosu and others from the North entered and joined them to negotiate with the SDP.”
He said it was at that stage that SDP presented its requests; “one of which was that the incoming government under the leadership of the State Governor-elect, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola would pay all accumulated civil servants salaries within three months of taking the baton of the state leadership”.
He stressed that they also agreed that the pension areas of pensioners will be paid, adding that it was also agreed that salaries of workers and that of pensioners must first be paid at the end of every month.
“SDP also told them that the 6-3-3-4 system of education must be introduced in the state while contracts should be given to local contractors if they emerged as the ruling party to boost the state economy.”
“We also made it clear that the Council of Obas should be revived and that all traditional rulers should be involved in the scheme of things. People welfare was also part of our discussion while Infrastructural development and agriculture should be prioritize by the APC government,” he said.
He said the APC agreed to their demands and it was subsequently put in written form, adding that their seriousness was what led to the coalition.
On his part, Omisore thanked people of the state and confirmed all that was said by Farounbi.
He also stressed that he did not collect money from APC.