Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) Reformer Reconciliatory Committee in Oyo State, Chief Lowo Obisesan, has said the party will bounce back in the state, despite its electoral loss to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) during 2019 general elections.
He gave the assurance in an interview with journalists in Ibadan, the state capital, when he briefed them on the progress made so far in the onerous task of reconciling aggrieved members of the party towards ensuring that the party returns to power in 2023.
According to him, the committee had the backing of National Leader of the party and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; former interim national chairman of APC and former governor of Osun State, Chief Bisi Akande; former governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, and notable leaders of the party in the South West.
Obisesan stated that the committee had met with aggrieved stakeholders of the party from all the 33 local government areas of the state and had been mediating among different interest groups, saying the progress made so far had shown that APC would bounce back to power in the state.
But he warned that the hope of bouncing back might be a mirage if certain steps were not taken to restructure the leadership of the party in the state, adding that by popular demand, an executive council that would be acceptable to a large majority of party members should be put in place.
Lowo, who served as Commissioner for Environment during the first term of ex-Governor Abiola Ajimobi, said: “We give glory to God because we started on a good note. What our people did not really want at that time was the way our former governor destroyed the structure of the party before he left. You will agree with me that Oyo State is for the progressive and that has been in existence from time immemorial.
“With the way the former governor conducted his tenure, many people were discouraged about our party and that was what led to the victory of the PDP in Oyo state. Now, immediately our people discovered that he had lost the election, they were happy that someone working towards the retrogression of the party had left.
“Today, they are all happy to come back to the party and that is the reason the reconciliation is progressing. We don’t have problems in winning the minds of the progressives back to the party. For those who are actually aggrieved and having the wrong impression about our party, they have all returned to their party and made progress. The little problem we are having now is about the present state executive that the previous administrator put in place.
“Our people believe that the process that led to the emergence of the executive was fraudulent. Ajimobi handpicked those executives without the contributions of the leaders of the party across the 33 local governments in the state. That is the only problem we are facing. But we thank God that we have spoken with our leaders in the South West and they understood.
“We spoke with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is our leader. He is a father and leader of leaders. Apart from him, we have also gone to see Baba Bisi Akande, and former governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, and they are all working to see that proper executives are put in place in Oyo State.”
On 2023 game, Obisesan said: “Well, anybody might have personal interest or ambition in 2023. But we have told them to forget about 2023 for now. That is the only way forward. With the way things are going, our leaders have seen their mistakes. Nobody can say he wants to become a governor at all cost. It is not wrong for anybody to have ambition, but it is not good to be desperate if you really mean well for the party.
“Nobody can act as a leader except the people elected him. We have told everyone to pocket his or her ambition and look to the progress of our party in the state. When the time comes, let God choose our leader, who will be the next governor for us in the state.”
Obisesan revealed that APC in Oyo State needs a politician like Tinubu to become the leader of the party in the state, saying “everybody is praying to be a leader like Tinubu because of his generosity. He appoints people into office without knowing their parents. The mistake we shouldn’t make again is that anytime we want to elect someone as governor, such a person must be a politician. We shouldn’t elect a technocrat again. Such a person should not also be a greedy and selfish person. That was the mistake we made in the past that led us to the calamity we are into right now.”
He described the reconciliatory efforts in the state as very important, adding that “the case of Oyo State is peculiar because it is the only state where our former governor created artificial problems. If you notice, progressives have never lost in Oyo State before now except the opposition came through the back door. But with the steps we are taking now, particularly with the likes of former governor Adebayo Alao-Akala, Senator Ayo Adeseun, Senator Teslim Folarin, Alhaji Fatai Ibikunle, Prof. Adeolu Akande and others, we believe the reconciliation will be successful.
“We are working together to achieve the same goal. As we speak, there is no progressive leader in the state that hasn’t got a representative in the committee. All the zones are well represented in the reconciliatory moves. We believe that the best way to achieve this goal is that every leader should be given a fair treatment to ensure we work in line with the notion of our leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.”