Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
Leadership of the Osun State Chapter of the All Progressives Party (APC) has upbraided some members of the State Working Committee of the party who passed a vote of no confidence on the chairman, Gboyega Famodun, and Secretary, Salinsile Rasaq, and announced their suspension on Monday in Osogbo, the state capital.
Recall that 11 out of 16 members of the committee had, at GMT Hotel in Osogbo, announced the suspension of the duo during a press conference.
In a statement by the spokesperson of the 11, Barrister Goke Ogunsola, the group directed Famodun and Salinsile’s deputies, Isa Adesiji and Rasheed Idera, to take over as acting chairman and Secretary respectively.
The move, Daily Sun gathered, was in protest against the party leadership’s decision to adopt a direct system in the primary election ahead of the governorship poll scheduled for September 22.
The aggrieved members accused the party leadership of using the method to impose the candidate of their choice on the members and went ahead to pass a vote of no confidence on the chairman and the secretary.
In a chat with Daily Sun, the party described them as stray members, adding that they are on their own.
The party’s Director of Information, Research and Strategy, Barrister Kunle Oyatomi, who spoke on behalf of the party, said that the party did not reckon with their decision to suspend the chairman and the secretary because they did not have the prerogative to take such decision.
He said that the move was illegal and inimical to the constitution of the party.
He added that they were disgruntled in making such a move because the party executive was never aware of the decision.
Oyatomi claimed that the members of the State Working Committee who pronounced Famodun and Salinsile suspended are more than 40, insisting that only 11out of them did not form a quorum to sanction any member of the party, let alone the chairman and the secretary.
“The people who addressed the press in a private place in Osogbo on Monday and announced the suspension of the party chairman and the secretary are on their own. They are stray members. The party leadership did not know about it and we can’t reckon with their decision.
They did not represent the interest of the party. That is why they ran somewhere else we don’t know about to do what they did.
“There was no need to go into hiding to organise a press conference if their intention was genuine. None of our chieftains was available there. As a matter of fact, the party didn’t know about their move. They are probably stray members of the party,” the party said.
“The party’s constitution is so clear about indiscipline in the party that you can not just make a statement that is not authorized or approved by the executive of the party. So, we don’t know what they were expressing their anger against. To be very frank, they didn’t represent the interest of the party.
They are not representing the party. They are on their own and what they are on their own for, I don’t know. The anger they are expressing we are yet to know.
The interest they are protecting we are yet to know. You can’t just say you are suspecting the chairman or secretary of a party without the exco knowing about it. “)The constitution determines how you can discipline anybody,” Oyatomi added.
At the press conference where Famodun and Salinsile were pronounced suspended, some thugs believed to be sponsored by one of the APC aspirants invaded the venue and beat up journalists.
But Oyatomi said the party did not know anything about the thugs’ action. He, however, apologised to the journalists. “We are sorry about what happened to you. For what you know nothing about, for an offence you never committed. I feel so disgusted about it. I feel very embarrassed. It is not fair, it is not acceptable to us. We condemn it in totality.”
“While still condemning the action of the 11 members of the State Working Committee, he added:
“A group of people just stayed somewhere and called a press conference. We didn’t even know where they were having the conference. That is to tell you the kind of agenda they have. We don’t know what they are really interested in. You can’t claim that you are protecting the interest of the people and go into hiding, no matter your status.
APC has leadership.
“If you claim that the party leadership wrote a letter to the national been body to request for a direct system, has the party adopted the system? The answer is no. The Article 20 of the party’s constitution says that the party can elect president, governor, senator or councillor through the direct or indirect system of the primary election. But the decision of choosing rests with the national body, not the state.
So, where did the party chairman, Famodun, go wrong?
“In 2014, we used the direct system. We also used it for the current local government chairmen in the parliamentary election. The constitution allows it. It is not strange. It is about the national body of the party. They are the ones to sit down and look at what they want based on the constitution.
“The party actually recommended the direct system at the weekend when it appealed to the National Working Committee to adopt it.
This was because we felt that it is better for us for several reasons. This was after a full consultation with the members of the party. But if some people said no, does that represent the party’s leadership voice?
When the national body speaks, we will know who has the final say. For instance if the party chairman, Oshiomhole says it is the direct system that will be used, so be it. So, the ‘wahala’ they are trying to introduce is uncalled for.
In other words, what have the party chairman, Famodun and the secretary Salinsile, done wrong to warrant their suspension?
I think their agenda is to impose a candidate, but how can you achieve that in a system that is supposed to be plain and without manipulation?
“While we felt that the direct system is better for us is that, it eliminates corruption. That is to say that the aspirants’ tendency to bribe delegates to vote for them is not possible.
Also, it is less expensive. It is more democratic because all the members of the party have a say in the election of the candidate. Manipulation and money bag will be erased.
“We have foreseen that some candidates want to display good money to buy votes through the indirect system, but we want to disappoint them through the democratic means of the direct system.
“Interestingly, the national body has adopted the direct system as announced by Oshiombole on Monday.”
On whether the members of the State Working Committee that announced the suspension of Famodun and Salinsile would be made to face any disciplinary action by the party, Oyatomi said:
“The leadership of the party will sit down and examine the issue critically to determine the kind of discipline that is supposed to be meted out to them based on the constitution. They have embarrassed the party to a very large extent because everywhere is saturated that there is crisis in the party.”
He, however debunked insinuations that the party is currently embroiled in crisis.
He said: “There is no fight or division in the party. Famodun and Salinsile have not been removed. Those who said so do not have the constitutional integrity to say so.”