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    Monday, August 12, 2013

    Ibadan Rally: APC is Noah’s Ark -Gov. Ajimobi ...Lanlehin, Reps, CPC, ANPP Chairmen, Others Absent


    Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, has described the newly registered political party - All Progressives Congress (APC) as a biblical Noah’s ark, saying, there is still time for whoever wishes to join the party now before the rain begins.
    The governor made this declaration while addressing journalists at the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan, after members of the party organised a rally at the ancient Mapo Hall, Ibadan.
    Ajimobi said: “APC is the only party now. It has taken off like the biblical Noah’s ark with appeal to people to come inside before the rain starts. Like in the time of Noah, the Ark is waiting for people to come inside but if the rain starts now, those who fail to come inside would be left in the rain.

    “The presence of people at the rally today left me with no doubt that this mammoth crowd is unprecedented, a confirmation of acceptance of our government, performance and the acceptance of APC as a new party,” he said.
    On the grouse being expressed by some sections of the merging party in the state, Ajimobi said the grouse was normal.

    He said “almost everybody complained of being informed late or not all. It is the party chairman in the state that called for the rally. However, we’re using this medium to appeal to them. It is good that they have expressed their feeling, but we’re using this medium to appeal to them and let us take off together by rescuing the polity.”
    However, a faction of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, led by Senator Femi Lanlehin, Mr Sharafadeen Alli, Honourable Kola Olabiyi and others, as well as chairmen and leaders of the dissolved Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) were conspicuously absent at the event.

    Speaking on the occasion, a foremost leader in the new party, Chief Michael Koleosho and the governor of the state, Senator Ajimobi called on aggrieved leaders and members of the party to bury their difference in the interest of the party, especially as 2015 elections approached.
    Koleosho, who arrived at the venue of the rally clad in white agbada with black stripes at about 1:38 p.m. in company with the governor and others, urged all stakeholders in the new party not to give room for bickering and infighting.

    He stressed the need for a roundtable discussion with all stakeholders in the party to ensure that the party continues to control the state beyond 2015.
    He added that the huge crowd at the rally was not enough because the party needed more people in its fold to guarantee victory in the coming polls, noting that reconciliation was the tonic that the party needed to progress in the state.

    While commending Governor Ajimobi for the transformation of the state since assumption of office, he described the registration of APC as a major victory for the progressive family, warning against divisive tendencies that could reverse the fortune of the party in the state.
    Speaking in line with the tone of reconciliation set by Koleosho, Governor Ajimobi said it was normal for disagreement to arise in any political set-up, urging the aggrieved members to embrace acts that would promote peace and not strife.
    “This is a new beginning. There are no old and new members because we are starting afresh and the party is now a collective property. Everybody has an equal stake in this new party. My charge to you is to go out and sing the song of peace.

    “I enjoin those in the CPC, ANPP and our brothers who are aggrieved to join us and take the party to greater heights. Governance is not hereditary and that is why people can aspire to the office. But whoever wants to be governor of Oyo State, these are the questions that you should ask the person:
    “Has he done it before? If he says yes, then ask him what he did while in office. If perhaps he says he has not done it before, then ask him what he has done in his private capacity.
    “Before you elect people into position, you have to research into their background to know the kind of people they are. There is no room for politics of deceit in Oyo State,” he said.
    Reacting to the rally in a telephone interview with the Nigerian Tribune, chairman of the dissolved ANPP, Alhaji Rasaq Folorunsho, said what was held was no rally but a “roadshow for Ajimobi and his disciples in government.”

    Folorunsho explained that by the time the real APC rally would be held, all the nooks and crannies of the state would know a new party had come on board and participate in it.
    “What they held was a jamboree and could not have been APC rally. No leaders or members of ANPP were in attendance and CPC did not participate too. So, how can it be called APC rally? It is nothing but an assemblage of government disciples.”

    “Tell me, did you hear them discuss any political issue at the so-called rally? Real APC rally will be grand and all stakeholders will be involved,” he said.
    Also speaking with Nigerian Tribune on telephone, CPC gubernatorial election in the state in 2011, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, said his party decided to team up with strategic members and leaders of the defunct CAN to reject authoritarianism and arbitrariness by boycotting the gathering.

    “APC is a different ball game. For the dissolved executives of the defunct CAN to collaborate with the governor to hold a rally without adequate consultation and involvement of other components leaves much to be desired.
    “CPC is not an appendage of government. What is more, the national leadership of the APC had given a directive that no rally should be held. Dissolved executives of the ACN cannot lord it over us; they do not represent the majority of the defunct ACN.
    “This arbitrariness, in my mind, amounts to vainglorious showmanship and we believe we must be vigilant from point zero. CPC and ANPP are not excess luggage and should not be so treated,” Shittu said.

    Meanwhile, Honourable Olabiyi representing Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Kajola/Iwajowa Constituency in the House of Representatives has denied striking a deal with Senator Lanlehin to deputise him in the 2015 governorship race.
    Also speaking with Nigerian Tribune on telephone in reaction to a statement credited to former chairman of ACN, Chief Akin Oke that he had agreed to be Lanlehin’s running mate, Olabiyi said the permutation was ridiculous because he and Lanlehin are Christians.
    He explained that he would have joined issues with Chief Oke if the former chairman had not taken their private discussion to the press, adding that he and Lanlehin had never discussed governorship race for 2015.

    “Chief Oke is an elderly man and I am surprised he did not tell you why he invited me to his office. He told me during our meeting that I hold the key to my constituency and that I should work to ensure peace returns to the party.
    “I told him what to do but the refuse to follow it. All we are saying is that there should be an all-inclusive administration of the party. I can’t be railroaded into any second term plan and I can tell you that none of the leaders in my constituency attended the charade they call rally.
    “My constituency is the largest in the state with a population of about 700,000 people and with this, we can negotiate for anything. If you want me to mobilise people of my constituency in 100 buses, I only need to make phone calls to achieve this,” he said.
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