Three prominent leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun State, have expressed their readiness to work together to rescue the party from what they described as imminent electoral defeat.
The three party leaders include immediate past deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Lasun Yusuf; former Osun State House of Assembly Speaker, Hon. Najeem Salam; and former Secretary to Osun State Government, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti. They declared that APC cannot win the 2022 governorship election if it fields Governor Adegboyega Oyetola.
The trio,who also contested the governorship ticket of the party with Oyetola in 2018, lamented that the governor has been playing politics of exclusiveness and disunity since he took over.
Speaking at a special meeting of The Osun Progressives(TOP), a caucus of the party loyal to the Ministry of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Salam said it was disheartening that genuine APC members who worked for the emergence of Oyetola were being treated as outcast and nonentities by the governor and his people.
According to Salam, Oyetola was mismanaging the party because he is an opportunist, who got the party’s ticket on a platter of gold.
“Yussuf, Adeoti and myself have resolved to downplay individuals’ political interest, accept and work with whoever emerges among us as the candidate of the party in 2022.
“I urged party members to work in unison to realise the dreams of the majority in a bid to salvage the party and the state,” Salam said.
Speaking in the same vein, Yusuf, the former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, said it was painful that the APC in the state is in the hands of an impostor, noting that the party is in disarray and needed to be rescued.
He said: “I decided to join hands with other leaders of the party in TOP because of my love for progressives, my relationship with the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aragbesola, and the need to take the party back to the genuine progressives in the state.
“APC ran into problem in 2018 because its leaders refused to allow collective leadership to play out.
“This time around, the leaders of the party are ready to embrace collective leadership which will start from presenting a candidate from their camp against Oyetola during the primary,” Yussuf stated.
In his own submission, Adeoti, the governorship candidate of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) in 2018, said it was surprising that a governor that won with just 482 votes would be chasing away quality APC members and leaders.
“It was hypocritical and unfair for Oyetola to be dissociating himself from policies, programmes and projects of Aregbesola’s administration. He was actively involved in every decision of the government as a Chief of Staff to the governor.
“The current governor (Oyetola) was more powerful than Aregbesola, I swear by God. It was only the approval pen that Aregbesola had. It shouldn’t be that Chief of Staff if anyone should deny Aregbesola.
“Sometimes, Ogbeni gave a blanket order that all the MDAs should pass all their files through the CoS to him. I ignored it on the day because I know that the CoS office has no constitutional backing.Even deputy governor’s files were passing through Oyetola; the ministry that the deputy governor was supervising then; the Ministry of Education was engaging the government through him.
“The deputy governor also complained about the issue of files not passing to the governor because it must pass through the CoS. The deputy governor asked me how my files always have accelerated passage and I told the deputy gov to ignore the order because I didn’t pass my files through CoS.
“I told Aregbesola that he doesn’t not appreciate his aide that is the cause of his travails. If you know how much Aregbesola spent on the rerun of 7 units, it was huge because a voter collected N50,000 to N100,000, and they still accused him of not supporting him.
“Our elders have shown non-chalant attitude to settling the misunderstanding in the party before it snowballed into full crisis. Especially, the former chairman of the party, Prince Gboyega Famodun, who was also not willing to relate with anybody that has relationship with Aregbesola.
“The window of reconciliation has been closed, what is needed now was to be united to rescue the party from sinking”, Adeoti said.
All the three governorship aspirants promised to work together, restructure the party and position it for victory in 2022.
The factional APC Chairman in Osun State, Hon. Rasaq Salinsile, said it was unfortunate that the party found itself in its current crisis , stressing that the crisis would have been settled had Oyetola been a genuine progressive and a fair human being.