The crisis rocking the Oyo State chapter of the All Progressives Party (APC) has taken a turn for the worse as some of its stakeholders have rejected the return of Mr Ajiboye Omodewu as the chairman of the party in the state.
The national secretariat of the party had, last week, officially recognised Omodewu as the chairman of the Oyo APC by issuing him with a Certificate of Return.
However, the stakeholders who are opposed to Omodewu’s chairmanship of the party in the state, held that there was no congress and wondered why the national leadership took the decision.
They asserted that, Omodewu, as the APC chairman will only lead the party to electoral disaster in the state and vowed to resist him with all legal means.
Rising from a meeting, held in Ibadan today, the stakeholders vowed to use every legal means to return the party to majority of its members who they said overwhelmingly returned Alhaji Abubakar Adejare Gbadamosi as the Oyo APC chairman.
As contained in a statement signed by Senator Ayo Adeseun, the stakeholders who are against Omodewu include Minister of Youths and Sports, Chief Sunday Dare; former Minister of Communications, Dr Bayo Shittu; Senator Olufemi Lanlehin; Senator Soji Akanbi, Senator Fatai Buhari (Oyo North Senatorial District); and APC governorship candidate in 2019, Chief Adebayo Adelabu.
Also on the list are chairman of Nigeria Lotteries Regulatory Commission, Alhaji Fatai Ibikunle; chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Professor Adeolu Akande; Post-Master General of the Federation, Dr Ismail Adewusi; Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Sugar Development Council Hon Zach Adelabu Adedeji; a governorship aspirant, Dr Joseph Tegbe and a former Commissioner for Health in the state, Dr Azeez Adedutan.
Other signatories to the statement include APC members in the House of Representatives, Hon Akeem Adeyemi; Hon Tolulope Akande-Sadipe; Hon Olumide Ojerinde; Hon George Akintola; and Hon Jide Olatubosun.
Others include three former Secretaries to the State Government-Alhaji Sarafa Alli, Alhaji Waheed Olajide and Alhaji Olalekan Alli; former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon Gunju Ojo; Hon Yekini Popoola; former chairman of the state chapter of Association of Chairmen of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Hon Abass Aleshinloye; and former chairman of the Oyo State Youth Council, Mr Gbenga Ariba.
They averred that the inauguration of Omodewu as the chairman is a threat to the APC in Oyo State, declaring that the enthronement of a minority group on the majority cannot stand.
“It will only lead the party to electoral disaster in Oyo State. The details of what transpired on the purported state congress of the party in Oyo State is an open book.
“At the stakeholders’ meeting held at the National Secretariat on November 4, 2021, the national secretary declared that the purported congress conducted on October 30 at the Liberty Stadium, Ibadan “was held in error” and without the knowledge, nor approval of the national chairman of the party.
“He apologised to the members for the error and the meeting resolved to complete the consensus election of a state chairman which had produced Alhaji Gbadamosi as state chairman.
“The purported return of Omodewu is the climax of a reign of impunity which a tiny and minority section of the party in Oyo State, in collaboration with outside forces, had sought to impose on the party ahead of the 2023 general election. As such illegalities have always been, it will definitely fail.
“The stakeholders resolved to use every legal means to reclaim the mandate given to Alhaji Abu Gbadamosi and establish a party leadership that represents the wish of majority members of the party in Oyo State.
“What we are witnessing is a temporary distraction that would test our commitment to democratic principles and the rule of law. We will not fail the test.
“There are attempts to exploit sentiment to rally support for the illegitimate Omodewu executive. We commend our members who have spurned the early morning visits and calls to woo and hoodwink them to support the illegitimate executive.
“The clandestine visit, calls and blackmail will continue. We are convinced that our history of commitment to democratic principles which have always been on display in Oyo State will make all such nefarious efforts come to naught.
“We implore all members of the party in the state to remain calm and law-abiding. Every legal means would be employed to return the party to the overwhelming majority of members who have expressed their preferred leadership through the democratic process enshrined in the constitution of the party,” the statement read.