•”We Are One,” – Says Ajimobi •
There was a mild drama at the secretariat of the Oyo State Government as members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) engaged themselves in a dirty fight over the choice of the governor in the nomination of caretaker committee chairmen for the all council areas in the state.
The first protesters, mostly from the 10 Oke-ogun local government areas and joined by other aggrieved party members from other parts, had arrived the venue as early as 10:00 am to express their displeasure over the list, before the second group, loyalists of Governor Abiola Ajimobi, mobilised themselves to the place, to show solidarity with the governor.
The action led to a clash between the two groups.
Dangerous objects, including sticks and canes, were deployed by both groups as they chase themselves around the secretariat complex.
The anti Ajimobi protesters, it was learnt, were aggrieved because the governor allegedly excluded the pioneer party members from the list while the SENACO. (Sen. Ajimobi Campaign Organisation) group, comprising of members who joined the party with the governor from the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) were selected to head majority of the councils.
According to them, the governor allegedly did so to hijack the party structure ahead of the 2019 general elections in order to dictate the pace in the succession race.
A party leader, Mr Aliu Balogun said some of the partymen who were travelling to Ibadan to express their displeasure over the action of the governor, were ambushed in Akinyele local government by the faction which supported the list. And that was the beginning of the fight,” he told reporters.
Corroborating other protesting party members, the party chairman in Saki-West area local government, Mr. Kareem Adebayo, explained that the entire members of the party in Oke-Ogun rejected the governor’s choice of leaders for all the councils, alleging that none of the party leaders was consulted before the list was made.
Hear him: “The supremacy of the party must prevail over personal choice. We represent the electorate who voted in Ajimobi for the first and second term but what he is doing now is regrettable. We reject the list because it means imposition of people on us. We do not know them. The party must decide on behalf of the people. Ajimobi is not working with the party because he has prerogative as the governor. If Bola Tinubu would not do such things, why should Ajimobi do it?”
Dismissing the protest as a wasted effort, secretary of the party in Akinyele local government, Mr. Claudius Oyedele said that those who were against the appointment only wanted to remain at the helms of the party affairs forever.
Said he: “We are here to show our appreciation to the governor for choosing the new council leaders. Those who are against it have been there before and they want to remain forever. We are not here to fight anybody.”
Meanwhile, Governor Abiola Ajimobi has appealed to the aggrieved APC members to be calm and not fight each other.
Represented by his newly appointed Executive Assistant on Political Matters, the governor, Dr. Morohunkola Thomas, he urged the two protesting groups to allow the Assembly work on the list, noting that nobody would be excluded in the affairs of the party.
Thomas stressed: “If you are supporting the government of Ajimobi, you will not fight. Those selected now are to be there for a while because the council poll is still going to be conducted”.