The Minister of Interior, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola has debunked claims of nursing presidential ambition in 2023 and also dismissed claims that he is at war with his leader and mentor, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja yesterday, Aregbesola said his loyalty to Tinubu is total, and his commitment to whatever the former Lagos State governor wants is unwavering.
There were reports that all political groups within the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State have been dissolved.
The Cable reported that the Mandate Group and the Justice Forum, the two most powerful groups, will no longer exist, according to the communique issued by the party leaders in the state after a meeting held yesterday.
Aregbesola was accused of re-launching political groups in the state without the knowledge of Tinubu.
But Aregbesola debunked the allegation, saying that “the group our detractors claim has been banned is the most committed to the realization of Asiwaju’s ambition.”
The minister continued: “They even said I have presidential ambition. False!”
Aregbesola reiterated that the APC is one, adding that the party is like an oak tree that keeps growing.
He said his focus and goal is to execute his ministerial duties as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He urged his supporters to ignore the allegation in its entirety and refrain from being distracted from the goal of building a strong APC as well as a united Nigeria.
The Mandate Group, made up of Tinubu’s core loyalists, was relaunched by Aregbesola on May 26, 2020, without Tinubu being in the picture.
APC Organising Secretary in the state, Mr. Abdullahi Enilolobo, was picked as the new chairman to replace Mr. James Odunmbaku, who moved up as the “apex leader”.
Aregbesola was made the grand patron at the meeting which took place at his Ikeja GRA residence.
However, in the communique signed by 27 party chieftains who are members of the Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC), they said “it was unequivocally resolved that all factions like JG and MG are inimical to party unity and are hereby permanently disbanded and prohibited within the party.
“Party members should no longer make use of these factions or their names with regard to future party business and activities. To continue to hold meetings in the name of these groups or to continue to promote such associations will amount to a violation of this resolution.
“The only permitted use of the names will be limited to historic references. Any violation of this decision is subject to party discipline, including suspension and expulsion. This prohibition extends solely to official party business. We are in no way trying to abridge anyone’s constitutional rights to free speech or assembly. The party chairman is hereby tasked with promulgating more detailed regulations with regard to prohibited and permissible activities for sub-party groupings.
“The party remains supreme. It has developed structures from the ward level to local government and state levels. These are recognized by the party’s constitution. They are adequate platforms for members to congregate and to present their views.
“The APC in Lagos is one party and one family. We must always act in this spirit if we are to attain the dream of democratic prosperity that we set out to achieve. We must do this in honor of June 12 and those who gave of themselves to make democracy our reality.”
Signatories to the communique include Tinubu; Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; and former governors Akinwunmi Ambode and Babatunde Raji Fashola, among others.