In spite of a series of meetings and proclamations of party leaders of having forged a united front, the crisis rocking the Oyo state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is not over.
The new chapter of the crisis facing the Oyo APC is the fallout from Sunday’s meeting held at the Ibadan residence of Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state to cement peace moves by the Mai Buni led national reconciliation committee.
The recent bone of contention among members stems from notions that former governor Adebayo Alao-Akala has been appointed as leader of the party in the state.
While the Ibadan meeting resolved that Alao Akala be Chairman of an advisory council of elders, members of the party on the platform of Unity Forum, hold that such position should not be termed as the former governor assuming the position of leader of the party.
The position of Unity Forum was contained in a statement jointly signed by four of its leaders namely Senator Soji Akanbi, Senator Olufemi Lanlehin, Senator Ayoade Adeseun, and Alhaji Adebayo Shittu.
According to the Unity Forum, rather than waiting for the outcome of the Ibadan meeting to be reported to the national reconciliation committee for a final decision, some members of the party were reaching unfounded outcomes.
Holding that even the formation of the elders’ advisory council was even inconclusive, the Unity Forum group said premature announcements pointed to latent intention in some quarters to hijack the party.
The Unity Forum said its opposition to having one leader was because the APC constitution did not have such provision and that it wanted to prevent having a dictator, going by its recent experience.
The Unity Forum’s statement read, “The truth is that Governor Fayemi proposed the composition of an advisory council of elders with Otunba Akala as Chairman.
“When attempts were made by some contributors that Otunba Akala be made the Leader of the party in the state, this was vehemently opposed on two grounds. One, that the constitution of APC does not make a provision for a leader.
“Second, that given the recent experience of the party with dictatorial leadership, the council of elders should provide collegiate advisory leadership for the party instead of creating another possible dictator.
“This position became the popular theme in subsequent contributions. The opinion was so overwhelming that in his closing remarks, Otunba Akala angrily rejected the offer to be Chairman of a council of elders. He said he was only ready to be Leader of the party.
“The meeting, however, went ahead to resolve that Akala be Chairman of the council while the two surviving former deputy governors in the party and Chairman of the party, Chief Akin Oke, be made automatic members of the council.
“They are to consult elders of the party in Oyo Central and Oyo South Senatorial zones to nominate three members each into the council.
“Efforts to elect the representatives at the meeting were resisted as there was no equal representation of stakeholders of the party at the meeting. At this point, it became evident why members of the SENACO/ADP/PDP axis flooded the meeting under the guise of being stakeholders of the APC.
“Besides, the meeting in Ibadan was on the directive of the National Reconciliation Committee of the APC. The outcome of the meeting is to be reported to the committee which will in turn report to the National Caretaker Committee of the party for the final decision. What then is the basis of the premature announcements of unfounded outcomes, if there has not been a grand plan to hijack the party for God knows the reason?”
Earlier, Alao-Akala had in a letter dated Monday, 21st September, asserted his commitment to leading the party to victory in 2023.
In a letter addressed to party faithfuls, Alao-Akala had sought the collaboration of members of the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the task of building a virile and strong party.
According to Alao Akala, in the letter, all differences had been resolved, all hatchets been buried, all groups, bodies and forums collapsed into one structure, such that the state boasted of one happy and united Oyo APC.
Alao-Akala asked all members with varied aspirations to downplay their ambitions, for now, noting that he was committed to promoting internal democracy.
He, however, said that an expanded, all-inclusive meeting will soon be convened to cement the party’s oneness.
On his headship of an elders’ advisory council, Alao-Akala said the task of the council was to promote internal, ensure fairness and transparency in all party’s activities, maintain a level playing ground for all, and promote justice and fair play in the party at all levels.
Alao-Akala wrote thus: “As we are all aware, our great party the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State has been through series of upheavals in recent past but I am glad to inform you officially that this has now become a thing of the past.
“All differences have been resolved and we have become a very happy, united and common front.
“All hatchets have been buried and all groups, bodies and forums have been collapsed into the APC structure. What we have now is All Progressives Congress, (APC) Oyo State Chapter.
“Similarly, an Elders Advisory Council has also been put in place with my humble self as Head.
“This is a call to duty and service. It is a sacrifice and we are ready to put our best into ensuring that Oyo state regains its pride of place in the comity of states in our great country Nigeria.
“In light of the above, I want to reassure you all great men and women of APC in Oyo state that I, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala remain neutral in the scheme of activities of the party.
“I am not in support of any aspirant for any elective office and will never go against the wish of the people.
“I am an advocate of internal democracy that will promote oneness and progress.
“I reiterate categorically that I am against imposition.
“I hitherto implore all members with the aspiration to keep their ambition for now and join me and others in building a virile and strong party. I am always available and open to everyone.
“I hereby put all members on notice that an expanded, all-inclusive meeting shall be held soon to further cement our oneness.
“I re-assure you all once again that I am committed to leading our party to victory come 2023.”