By Opeyemi Adio
With about five weeks to the general elections, All Progressives Congress (APC), Oyo State is going into the polls with a seriously diminished and depleted electoral strength. This is a fall out of the crisis that has dogged the party since the congress that produced the party’s candidates for the different positions; from the House of Assembly, House of Representatives, Senatorial to governorship flag bearer.
The congress left many of the hard-core progressives and party faithful are disenchanted due to their perception of the manner the congresses were conducted. Aggrieved members of the party crossed over to other , the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Accord Party (AP). For those who decided to stay back, it was a “siddon” look with a lukewarm attitude to the fortunes of the party in the forthcoming gubernatorial elections.
However, within the fold of those still remaining in APC, it is a unanimous decision to work for the presidential ambition of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the party’s presidential flagbearer. Needless to say, many groups, associations, progressive factions, individuals including some members of opposition are working for the realisation of the Tinubu presidency in Oyo State.
Especially active in this regard is Mrs Florence Ajimobi, wife of the former Governor of Oyo State, whose late husband, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, was a friend and core loyalist of the APC presidential candidate. This probably accounts for the efforts Mrs Ajimobi has been putting to the task of working assiduously for the victory of Tinubu based on her mandate after the inauguration of the Women Wing of the Tinubu -Shettima Presidential Campaign Committee a couple of months ago in Abuja.
Mrs Ajimobi, who is the Oyo State Coordinator, began the task by opening an office for the Oyo State Tinubu/Shettima (OTISHE) Women Presidential Campaign at the building formerly accommodating the state secretariat of the APC after a visit to the new party secretariat, where she met with the women group.
The secretariat was declared opened by the state party chairman, Hon. Isaac Omodewu, accompanied by the state women leader, Mrs Tinu Adigun, former National Deputy Youth leader of APC, Hon. Hafiz Bolaji Repete, House of Representatives member, Hon Tolu Akande-Shadipe, a former Reps member, Hon Folake Olunloyo-Oshinowo, a member of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Hon Seyi Adisa, among others.
As part of a well conceptualised strategic campaign plan to be implemented in stages with the key objective of rallying support for the APC in the build up to the general election, the OTISHE coordinator recently took the renewed hope campaign and Tinubu for President gospel to critical stakeholders. She met with the leadership of CAN at their secretariat and organised meetings with various Moslem women associations, as well as market men and women in Oyo State.
Notwithstanding, her effort and support for the party and the presidential ambition of Tinubu, has not positively impacted in reducing the festering crisis in Oyo APC. At the early stage of the crisis, she had called all the different stakeholders together to resolve the impasse. The meeting, which held in her Oluyole home, had in attendance the Unity Group faction, the Ajimobi Legacy Forum (ALF), the Teslim Folarin faction and party elders.
At the end of the meeting, a committee to look at the different, contending issues was inaugurated. The committee met and came up with what was considered acceptable solutions to the crisis. However, as one of the members said, it was a waste of every body’s time as the Folarin faction was not willing to concede, but only agreed to the meeting to buy time.
Also last week, loyalists of Senator Folarin continued with attacks on Mrs Ajimobi, accusing her of working against the party’s interest. This came as a surprise to some party loyalists who had followed her efforts in ensuring peace in the party and selling the APC agenda to various stakeholders in the state. One of them said: “What is shocking to most of us is that few weeks to the election, the Folarin group has continued to fan the ember of discord instead of engaging in activities to pacify all those who felt aggrieved by the illegality that accompanied the emergence of all the APC candidates who were picked by Folarin.”
In their accusation, Folarin group said Mrs. Ajimobi, during her meeting with members of Oyo State chapter of CAN, Moslem women and market leaders, was distributing fliers of Accord’s governorship candidate, Adebayo Adelabu and a Senatorial aspirant, Kolapo Kola- Daisi, other National Assembly and State House of Assembly candidates of Accord.
What they failed to note was that during all her meetings with these groups, leadership of APC in the state always accompanied her. The meeting with CAN had in attendance, APC state chairman, Hon. Isaac Omodewu, the Women leader, Mrs Tinu Adigun, former state chairman, Chief Akin Oke, among others.
Mrs Kemi Opatunde, a staunch APC leader and OTISHE coordinator for CAN expressed surprise at the accusation. “I organised that meeting and there was no where Mrs Ajimobi distributed flyers. This is a function that was attended by APC leader and former Chairman of the party in the State, Chief Akin Oke. Also in attendance was Omodewu, Mrs Adigun, Repete, among other APC leaders. Would she then be distributing Accord flyers or be canvassing for Accord candidates in the presence of these people”, she said.
Members of OTISHE campaign committee, organisers of the event and participants who represented various groups and stakeholders are at a loss on the source and intent of the story, which also accused Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Hon. Sunday Dare, of anti party activities, declaring that Teslim Folarin group is walking the path of self destruction.
However, the coming days would prove interesting. Would the Folarin group continue with its dog-in-a-manger approach, knowing that APC would need every body on board to ensure victory for its candidates or it would bend backward or ‘walk’, to make peace, the way Asiwaju had advised. Only time will tell.
Adio is an Ibadan based journalist.
Source: The Guardian