It was a tough time, I almost lost hope. My life was miserable; everywhere seemed so dark but I never gave up. I never for once had a thought of leaving the very people I wanted to serve.
In 2009, I join the progressives family, a decision that came from my private table at No 25, Oshuntokun Avenue, Bodija – Ibadan, then as CEO of a fast growing security company (Ardenil). Factually, I was a greenhorn – no previous knowledge of partisan politics but with so much experience in life: administration, leadership, interpersonal relationships and street politics.
The struggle to 2011 elections was a great experience; it was tough but quite adventurous for me. I was in a new field of life with vigour and resources to prosecute my political ambition. After briefly following a governorship aspirant in Oyo State (not Governor Abiola Ajimobi), I got calls from my native local government (Itesiwaju) to signal intention to run for Iseyin /Itesiwaju state constituency and I accepted my people’s proposal. I tried all my efforts to secure the ticket of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) but to no avail. The party hierarchy promised me an appointment to compensate for my expenses and contributions to the growth of the then ACN in my constituency.
As God would have it, we won the 2011 elections and I was hoping for the promise to materialise. Alas! The first blow was that I did not make the 20-man list from Itesiwaju LGA (as requested by His Excellency Governor Abiola Ajimobi). The various excuses given by our party leaders in Itesiwaju LGA were: “You (Niyi) were not nominated by your Otu ACN leaders”; “Niyi just came into the fold”, and “He is still young and rich let him wait”. I refused to be discouraged by the derogatory comments and excuses, instead I intensified my efforts to promote our party and the government of Governor Ajimobi until I was appointed as a member of Oyo State Rural Electrification Board, riding on the influence of the former Chief of Staff to the Executive Governor. Happy Niyi you will say!!
Our struggles to retain power in 2015 was tougher than 2011, the house was to be set ablaze by some internal forces in the then newly formed All Progressives Congress (APC). The internal forces are those that served in the government through elections and appointments from 2011 to 2015. Despite the antics and missiles fired by the internal forces, the truly loyal party members remained with the governor and the APC. Eventually, the good people of Oyo State gave the party another four-year mandate. Post 2015-elections, some of the individuals such as my humble self that contributed to the victory of the party at the polls got appointment opportunities while a larger percentage of party faithful that deserved appointments are yet to be appointed due to different circumstances unknown to many of us. Till today, majority of the yet-to-be appointed individuals are patiently waiting for their turns. I must emphasise that every loyal and committed member of the party deserves to be appointed but it is highly impossible.
The main reason for my narrative is very clear – a passionate appeal to the aggrieved founding members of the APC, some of whom are my political teachers, lecturers, fathers, brothers, friends, associates and boys. Some of you at different stages of my political struggles have taught me that dues precede rewards. You have told me to persevere; you preached to me that contentment, humility, patience and faith are the most important ingredients that a genuine leader must possess. We are now at the junction that we must invoke the spirits of sportsmanship in us; the time to mend our fences is now.
We are all students of history; it is my earnest prayers that the aggrieved members are not caught in the web of 2015 history. In fairness to our leader – the Executive Governor, some people have immensely benefited from the government, some people wanted more and some people have not, so it is time for us all to take sober reflections. Making hasty decisions are most often regrettable; I humbly enjoin you not to leave certainty (APC) for uncertainty. In politics, conditions and positions of power are not permanent, we have seen yesterday, we are here today and tomorrow is not known yet.
We all laboured to lay a solid foundation for this house (APC), therefore, let us remain together to build on it. A true son does not leave his father’s house after serious disagreement with the head of the family. This house belongs to us all (the genuine members); nobody should contemplate exit. When two elephants fight, the grasses suffer for it; let us remain together in order to better the lots of the downtrodden masses.
Without mentioning names, I will appeal specially to certain great individuals that I know are always committed to the ideals of progressivism. To me, you are teachers, comforters, mentors and partners in struggle (as the case may be), please do not throw the baby away with the bath water.
Expressing one’s displeasure is normal in a democratic setting but such right must not be damaging. No war is settled in the battlefield; I enjoin you to embrace the reconciliation committee setup by the National Working Committee of the APC to perform its assigned task. The Governor Abiola Ajimobi we know is blessed with the spirit of live and let live. He extends an olive branch to you!!
You belong to this house.. Let’s move forward progressively!!!
Thank you, may God bless you.
Niyi Adeagbo, is the Chairman, Itesiwaju Local Government Area of Oyo State