By DAPO FALADE
The crisis rocking the Oyo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) may not be over soon as those opposed to former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala as its leader have been described as opportunists who are allegedly out to destabilize the party.
A former financial secretary of the party in the state, Alhaji Kayode Adanla, made the allegation in reaction to a media report that the Oyo APC Unity Forum, had insisted that the former governor was never appointed as the party leader.
The report, published on Tuesday, was part of a statement jointly signed by four of its leaders, including Senator Soji Akanbi, Senator Olufemi Lanlehin, Senator Ayoade Adeseun and former Minister of Communication, Barrister Bayo Shittu.
Recalled that a meeting was convened at the Ibadan residence of the Ekiti State governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, last Sunday, to resolve the leadership impasse in the Oyo APC.
Addressing newsmen after the meeting on the position of the Unity Forum, Governor Fayemi had acknowledged Chief Alao-Akala as the co-convener of the meeting and the leader of the party in the state.
He further said he was not aware of any opposition to the decision taken to make Alao-Akala the party leader, affirming that all issues affecting the party in the state were collectively resolved by all present at the meeting, including the leaders of the unity Forum.
However, the leaders of the Unity Forum, as contained in the statement published on Tuesday, denounced the media report that Alao-Akala was selected as the APC leader, saying the report did not reflect what happened at the meeting held at Governor Fayemi’s residence.
They said the nature of the Ibadan meeting, as agreed at the peace meeting earlier held in Abuja, was subverted, alleging that the SENACO/ADP/PDP axis of the APC flooded the meeting with about 60 of its members, contrary to the 15 representatives that Fayemi claimed were invited.
They further said attempts were made to make Alao-Akala the leader of the Oyo APC, but such was vehemently opposed on two grounds namely, that the party constitution does not make provision for a leader and that they would not allow for another dictatorial tendencies, given the recent experience of the party.
Responding to the claims of the quartet, Alhaji Adanla, who said the group was formed in his office in 2018, described the four signatories to the statement as parasites who are using the forum to make money from politicians from outside the state.
Going down the memory lane, Alhaji Adanla said the Unity Forum, which he said is no longer in existence, was birthed to resolve the problem of imposition in the Oyo APC, which he alleged was caused by the late former Governor Abiola Ajimobi, preparatory to the local government election in the state in 2018.
He described Senators Soji Akanbi, Olufemi Lanlehin and Ayoade Adeseun as outsiders who were never part of the group at inception, adding that Barrister Bayo Shittu was a passive member who was out to exploit the group.
“We need to set the record straight here. These four people who were said to be the signatories to the statement rejecting former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala are not members of the now defunct Unity Forum in the true sense of it.
“They are opportunists, scavengers and parasites who are using and exploiting the then Unity Forum to make money from politicians from outside Oyo State.
“Soji Akanbi can never be described as a true member of the now defunct Unity Forum. At best, he was a member in the night and a member of SENACO under the late Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
“Senators Olufemi Lanlehin and Ayoade Adeseun have never been part of the forum. Lanlehin was until recently a member of the ADC where he was pushed out, while Adeseun was also pushed out of the PDP.
“Both Lanlehin and Adeseun just joined the APC and their membership of the party is yet to be ratified. How then can they claim to be members of a forum which I helped to form in my office in 2018?,” he said.
Adanla further said that Oyo APC would no longer be left in the hands of those he described as moneybags who he said are being bankrolled by some politicians from Lagos and Ogun states.
He also said some of those who are claiming to be leaders of the party, particularly in the unity Forum, are not electable and cannot win the 2023 elections in the state.
“Look at those who are claiming to be the leaders of the so-called Unity Forum and who are opposed to former Governor Alao-Akala as the Oyo APC leader. None of them can deliver the state to the party in the 2023 elections.
“Professor Adeolu Akande comes from a constituency with a very small voting strength. Senator Lanlehin left the ADC for the APC but his former party have told him that he is of no electoral value. If Senator Adeseun has the political strength, what stopped him from becoming the PDP candidate in the 2019 elections?
“Oyo APC has been liberated. We don’t want moneybags or slavery in the party anymore. Power now resides with the people. What matters now is your integrity, goodwill, pedigree, honesty and trust. That is what we are building the party on.
“Some of these people claiming to be leaders of the party are the ones getting one federal appointment or the other, but they are not using their offices for the benefit of the people of the state. How many members of the party have benefitted from them? They are all using their offices for their selfish ends,” he said.