Minister of Communication, Barr. Adebayo Shittu on Saturday led the inauguration of the Muhammadu Buhari/Osinbajo (MBO) Dynamic Support Group Southwest Zonal Office in Ibadan, ahead of the 2019 elections.
Major All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders in the Southwest who were expected to grace such an occasion were however absent.
National Leader of the APC Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, all the Southwest APC governors: Governor Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos) and Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), were all absent.
The Chairman and members of the state executive of the party were also absent, except the treasurer.
The ongoing feud between Shittu and Ajimobi was seen as a major factor and party chieftains at the event worried that the feud might affect the political fortunes of the party in the state.
The event had in attendance former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu; Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole; former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani; Deputy Chairman Southwest, Chief Pius Akinyelure, Postmaster General of the Federation, Mr. Bisi Adegbuyi; National Coordinator, Muhammadu Buhari/Osinbajo Dynamic Support Group, Usman Ibrahim; and South West Zonal Coordinator of the organisation, Lateef Olawumi among others.
Chairman of the occasion, Senator Nnamani noted that the party must eschew the politics of bitterness and rivalry but learn to accommodate each other for the progress of the party.
He said: “There’s a need for our party APC to have internal decorum in which there is coercion and people work together. Politics is not a game you play as an individual. You have a role to be part of that team. You are not the team itself. You are part of it. Since we are here to commission the zonal office, maybe after this we will go further, but it is important to understand that we cannot achieve much as a group without unity and peace. It is so vital, not only in politics, but also in our families. We must stoop to conquer. We are not trying to prove any point by trying to be agonistic and run one another down. We have not come to develop a syndrome that is called Pull Him/Her Down (PHD). So, nobody should use that as a philosophy of life.
“We as members of one family must try and eschew every form of bitterness and excessive anger because nobody does anything right if we do it in anger or bitterness. The same thing if you are speaking and you speak with anger, you are likely to say things you will regret later.
“I’m using this occasion to appeal to all of us that to make our party great, we must come together as one. We may have different ideas but we must allow the majority rule to prevail. Remember, the new way our country is going now under President Buhari, I see our election becoming very effective and efficient. So the importance of getting a very good and acceptable candidate is important to all political party and unity is also essential. If we have internal fighting among us, it’s going to be difficult for us to achieve our objectives.”
In the same vein, Kalu did not hide his disappointment with the level of disagreement between the governor and minister whom he both described as “two elephants”.
Kalu said: “I want to thank Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, and the leaders of the MBO, for inviting me and my senior brother, Ken Nnamani, to be here today. We are very glad. For us, we are students of preaching peace and unity.
“We are students who say the truth. We are students who are not afraid of telling people what we feel that is not right. Everybody in this hall will agree with us that there is a break in the communication between our governor and the minister. We don’t want that to continue. If anybody inside this house today in the University of Ibadan would say it is good for these two elephants to continue quarrelling, I and my senior brother would disagree that they should not be quarrelling. The minister and the governor should be the best of friends. And we are going to make that happen.
“We have already agreed with the Minister of Health, and with my brother, former Senate President, that we are going to take it upon ourselves to the highest level of this party. If both of them are quarrelling, there will be no peace and progress in this state. We are going to be fighting a very big party, a party that knows how to do it. We don’t want to lose any vote in Oyo State.
“I cannot understand why the minister is very close to me and the governor is very close to me. They are also very close to Ken Nnamani. We came here to honour both of them. I am slightly not very happy what I have seen here that the governor is not here, the party officials are not here, the commissioners are not here, and they are the main things that will make APC what it is and they are supposed to be here please, but they are not here.
“I am not a man that you’ll keep inside a room, and ask not to say the truth. Everybody knows that even what people are afraid to say, I will say it because it is only the truth that can set us free. When you leave the truth, we will suffer. I have spoken to the Minister of Communication, I told him I wasn’t very happy. Immediately I came, both the Minister of Health and former Senate president whispered to me that the governor is not here, but I learnt the governor was going to Lagos this afternoon. That was what the Chief of Staff told my aide when I said after this programme, I wanted to go and drink water with him.”
Also, the Minister of Health, Prof. Adewole called on the people of Southwest to continue to give their support for APC, Buhari/Osinbajo ticket, assuring that the party is on the right track to move Nigeria forward.
The dignitaries later moved in a convoy to the Mokola area of the state where the Zonal office is located for cutting of the tape and tour of the building.
About the same time, the Shittu event was holding, Ajimobi held a rally with local government chairmanship aspirants and members of the Executive at the local and state levels.
The rally was held at the party’s State Secretariat, Oke-Ado, Ibadan with state party leaders and supporters in attendance.
The governor said the state electoral commission would soon announce date of the election. For the 90 days gap between them and poll date, Ajimobi urged them to shun promoters of blocs within the party as well as those working hard to bring him down.
Obviously referring to Shittu, Ajimobi said it was pointless responding to, or fighting with anyone that is below one’s level in life because their aim is to pull one down.
He insisted that he is doing well in strengthening the party, referring to the recent defection of a former governor, his deputy and Senate Leader along with their supporters to the APC in Oyo State.