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President Buhari should not support factionalisation in Ogun state APC

By Wale Adebayo

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Still on President Muhammadu Buhari’s encouragement of factionalisation of the Ogun State chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). A friend, Onayinka Olusegun, just brought this statement by presidential spokesman, Alhaji Garba Shehu, to my attention,

STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE

PRESIDENT BUHARI WILL CAMPAIGN FOR ALL APC CANDIDATES

Following repeated media enquiries on the matter, the Presidency wishes to state in clear and unmistakable terms that as a party leader and a candidate on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the coming elections, President Muhammadu Buhari will campaign for the party and all its candidates.

This however does not mean that he, as the nation’s leader, will decline courtesy calls or offers of support from citizens including candidates flying the flags of other parties.

There is no doubt that the President has no competition here in terms of popularity in the coming elections. But the more support he gets, the wider the margin of victory there will be.

So please let there be no confusion about this. President Buhari is APC.

He will campaign for all APC candidates, but he welcomes support and endorsements.

-END-

My response is,

Mr. President,

With all due respect, this is like speaking from both sides of the mouth. Party discipline requires that once a candidate has emerged, ALL party members rally round the choice. Where there is a problem, the leadership looks into it and take a firm decision.

A responsible Party leadership will never condone the kind of situation playing out in Ogun State. Yes, you, President Muhammadu Buhari, is the leader of all Nigerians irrespective of political leanings. But your actions and body language in respect of the crisis in the Ogun State chapter of APC are deliberately encouraging gross indiscipline among persons, who should have been sanctioned by the Party long ago.

Whether anybody supports our presidential candidate or not, once the individual concerned acts in a way that undermines the officially-recognised leadership of the Party, you have no business with him or her. And if you insist that as a leader to all Nigerians you can receive and show affection for candidates from other political parties, we can test that by allowing Dr. Bukola Saraki to visit you as a senatorial candidate of PDP and you raising the senate president’s hand.

It is gross indiscipline to allow this kind of division in Ogun State APC. Mr. President, you are undermining the APC at the national level as a political party with your current posture. A Party Leader must not only be seen to be firm, you MUST accord respect to those in charge of our national secretariat. Your actions, thus far, do not portray that.

In essence, this statement on your behalf by my senior colleague, Alhaji Garba Shehu, has no meaning for the angry and confused members of the Party in Ogun State and beyond. But it does appear there is a hidden Agenda from your end, which should unfold after the February presidential election. Many have been writing about same since last year, advising our Leaders in the South-West to be wary of supporting your return to office.

For us, no kain! We will remain firm behind the leadership we know in this part of Nigeria. We WILL NEVER allow them to be disgraced, either now or in the future, no matter what could be deployed against them.

Someone wrote in part, “The real members of APC that worked for the victory of his election in 2015, which Mr. President was aware himself.” And, guess what? I laughed in Ijebu! How about 2011? There were no real ACN members? How did Mr. Governor emerge as our candidate in 2011?

Besides, you mean there was no injustice in using Government machinery to upstage almost all the ACN leadership of APC towards the 2015 general elections, a development that forced Aremo Olusegun Osoba to shift base in 2015? Whoever was not a SIAst was forced out of the Party, directly and indirectly, during the period in question. We shouted, we wailed. Even Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who today has become a subject of abuse to the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, supported that injustice! It was the same Tinubu, who foisted Amosun on ACN in 2011, not Buhari.

There have been sundry allegations of injustice during last year’s primaries by Mr. Governor. But how many of you remember that the same process of 2015 was repeated by the same Amosun towards the primary. From a vantage position of working directly for one of the governorship aspirants, Otunba Jimi Lawal, son of man knew that this bubble was certain to burst the way it did. In a manner worse than dictatorship, Amosun replaced the names of Party officials elected during Local Government Congresses and replaced them with his stooges. He simply wrote the names he wanted on the day of the State Congress in Abeokuta.

In Ogun East Senatorial District, which is my area, Amosun unilaterally replaced 8 out of our 9 Local Government Party Chairmen. Long before then, he had also unilaterally replaced some members of the State APC Executive Council. Meanwhile, the officials being replaced were the ones to assist in conducting the primaries.

Amosun had long prepared the ground for a doctored primary across board long before Abuja got ready. He had illegally pocketed the Party by pushing out those with dissenting views from their positions without ANY recourse to due process. He did same to those who supported Yayi and were holding Party positions all in a bid to ensure that his choice candidates do not have any problem during the primaries. What do you call that? Justice?

For me, if there was any one to blame within Ogun State, it was Otunba Jimi Adebisi Lawal. Without any regret whatsoever, my suggestion to JAL a day before the State Congress in Abeokuta was that we should arrange a parallel State Congress with the illegally removed officials on ground. JAL refused. If that had happened at the time, we would not be having this crisis so close to a general election that will be keenly contested in Ogun State.

So, Alagba, if you are writing about injustice, it was perpetrated by Mr. Governor. You cannot isolate the past from the present.

By Wale Adebayo

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