Ekiti State governor and Chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), Dr. Kayode Fayemi, on Sunday brokered peace among the warring factions within the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State, saying the leaders of the party have deferred to the position of a former governor, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, as the leader of the party in the state.
Fayemi reconciled the aggrieved members at a well-attended special meeting held at his Amandla Villa, Prince Sijuade Street, Jericho, Ibadan residence on Sunday.
Briefing journalists after the meeting, Fayemi stated that: “Part of the reasons we held the meeting today is that there was a directive, following the successful meeting held in Abuja, that an expanded meeting should take place in Ibadan.”
He said: “Naturally, there will be people who would feel that they should be in the meeting. I have a very small house, as you can see, I can’t accommodate more than a sizeable number and I have to follow COVID-19 protocol. So, basically that was what informed the number. It’s not an attempt to denigrate any member. All our members are important.
“But the leaders are here, and they are of one voice. There is no victor and there is no vanquished. All is settled. We are now a united front as a party, moving strongly towards retaking Oyo State, and working in the interest of progressive politics.”
Fayemi also stated that he was not aware of the existence of some groups within the party in Oyo State.
“Maybe because I am not from Oyo State, I am not aware of any group. I am aware of stakeholders in our party, some of who for one reason or the other had disaffected and felt that certain things ought to have been done in order to bring everybody on board. And that is what we have done. And they were all here. Every segment of our party came to the meeting today,” Fayemi said.
When asked for comment on the alleged non-acceptance of Alao-Akala by some members of the Unity Forum as the APC leader in the state, following a stakeholders’ meeting held at Premier Hotel, Mokola, Ibadan, last Thursday, Fayemi said: “That did not even arise. The people who held the meeting on Thursday were all here today and everybody deferred to His Excellency (Alao-Akala).”
The Ekiti State governor further stated that APC’s target is to oust the PDP in 2023 in the pace setter state, noting that Governor Seyi Makinde is my very good friend and brother.
” As you know, I am Chairman of the Governors’ Forum, I can’t campaign against the sitting governor. But this is about my party. And I have a national assignment. I am not the one that will remove him. Oyo State members of our party have come together and they are not selling groundnuts,” Fayemi added.
Alao-Akala, who flanked Fayemi during the briefing, said: “There is no victor and there is no vanquished.”
The former governor of Oyo State added that APC would retake the state from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2023.
Recall that the National Reconciliation Committee of the party under the leadership of Jigawa State governor, Abubakar Badaru, had on September 10, 2020, hosted a meeting in Abuja towards reconciling the warring factions within the party in Oyo State. The suggestion by the committee that another meeting should hold on September 20, in Ibadan and should be hosted by Alao-Akala, was turned down by some chieftains of the party, which made Governor Fayemi to volunteer to host the meeting in his Ibadan residence.
The meeting, which lasted for about three hours had in attendance chieftains of the party from the different stakeholders’ groups, such as SENACO, Lamist and Unity Forum.
The Lamist group comprises people that are loyal to former governor of the state, the late Alhaji Lam Adesina; while the SENACO, which is an acronym for Senator Ajimobi Campaign Organisation, consists of people loyal to another former governor of the state, the late Senator Abiola Ajimobi. However, the Unity Forum is an assemblage of APC members that were against Senator Ajimobi.
The meeting was attended by chieftains of the party, including Alao-Akala; Chairman of Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Prof Adeolu Akande; Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare; former Minister of Communication, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu; legal luminary, Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN); the 2019 governorship candidate of African Democratic. Congress (ADC), Senator Olufemi Lanlehin, who has returned to APC; and two serving senators, Teslim Folarin (Oyo Central) and Abdulfatai Buhari (Oyo North).
Others are former deputy governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and the APC governorship candidate in the 2019 election in the state, Chief Adebayo Adelabu; state chairman of the party, Chief Akin Oke; one of the 2019 APC governorship aspirants, Mr. Joseph Tegbe; among others.