By Sikiru Akinola
Four days after the conduct of the ward congress of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Oyo State, Governor Abiola Ajimobi is mounting pressure on the national headquarters of the party as well as the congress and appeal committees’ panels to accept his people as the ‘duly’ elected ward executives
It would be recalled that Ajimobi’s loyalists lost out of power play as they failed to obtain nomination forms for the exercise.
Contrary to Ajimobi’s claim that the party was one in the state, it was learnt that members of Unity Forum of the party had obtained the 9477 forms produced for the congress.
The Unity Forum includes Communications Minister, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu, Sen. Monsurat Sunmonu, Prof Adeolu Akande, Alhaji Fatai Ibikunle, Dr Wasiu Olatunbosun, 8 House of Representatives members in the state, 18 members of the state House of Assembly, 26 former local government chairmen, many serving and former political office holders as well as majority of the aggrieved members of the party.
Unknown to Ajimobi, who had advised the national headquarters of the party against issuing multiple forms as he wanted affirmation, those who had been sidelined in the scheme of things had purchased forms for the 9477 vacancies. Each of the 9,477 candidates was endorsed by 13 party members in their respective wards bringing active members of the Unity Forum who participated in the exercise to about 140,000.
“Did all these people die in 24 hours after signing the forms to be party of the purported affirmation”,asked a party chieftain.
According to an executive of the state chapter of the party, “affirmation means approval of an existing executive, whereas the list submitted to the Congress Committee is not that of existing executive members but entirely that of his SENACO members. He deceived the Congress Committee that they were existing party executives”. This is another fraudulent act in addition to the printing of fake nomination forms which the governor and his men parade.
On getting to know on Saturday that members of Unity Forum had collected all available forms, an obviously-defeated Ajimobi was said to have lobbied members of the congress to accept payment on the day and provide forms for his people. It was, however, learnt that members of the Congress committee rejected the idea saying that they lacked such power.
The pre-congress briefing, which was to hold at the Oke-Ado, Ibadan state secretariat of the party, later snowballed into violence as many people, including son of a late leader of the party, Alhaji Lamidi Adesina, Adedapo Lam-Adesina was attacked by sponsored thugs.
A top party chieftain, who preferred anonymity, revealed that “Ajimobi is looking for every means to get his bidding done. What really happened was that he sees himself as the all-knowing.
” Few weeks before the congress, he had told the national secretariat of our party that there was no division within the party. He was quoted as telling them not to bring more than the needed 9477 forms that they were going to do affirmation. He didn’t tell anybody about the plan when he returned to Ibadan. The other group knew they were going to contest against an incumbent but didn’t know Ajimobi’s loyalists were not going to obtain forms.
“Attempts by the governor and his men to get the committee members do their bidding fell on deaf ears as the 7-man committee remained adamant. The congress members later gave forms to those with payment tellers on Friday. And on Saturday, the pre-congress briefing was later disrupted as a popular Ibadan High Chief came loaded with thugs. Members of the Unity Forum, it was learnt, later went to the Police headquarters, Eleiyele to brief the police and the press. They later came for the reconvened meeting and congress, which was suppose to hold on Saturday, was adjourned to Sunday.
“Ordinarily, those with forms should have been declared winners as they had no opponents. The congress went ahead. The forms could not be submitted on Sunday and they were asked to come on Friday. In fact, Ajimobi, the party and the security agencies confirmed the congress to be successful. Meanwhile, Ajimobi didn’t stop lobbying the congress members to put it in their report that affirmation was done in Oyo. That is illogical. How could you have done affirmation when members of the other group purchased forms? When he couldn’t get the congress members to buy into the idea, he allegedly threatened that if they declare anything contrary, that he may not be able to control the aftermath. That was why the committee members didn’t declare any result.
“As I talk to you, Ajimobi hasn’t stopped lobbying top chieftains of the party to safe him from disgrace. He wants them to write in their report that the committee did affirmation in the state,” the source added.