THE two factions of the All Progressives Congress, APC in Ogun State are engaged in a battle of wits for ascendancy.
The outcome of the ensuing battle would be crucial in upholding the integrity of the ruling party in the state. Presently, Chief Isaac Olu Agemo and Chief Roqeeb Adeniji who are both from Ogun West Senatorial district have emerged chairmen of the two factions of the ruling party in the state.
BY DAUD OLATUNJI
The feud, according to findings is a struggle for absolute control of the party’s machinery in the state. However, the crisis is not peculiar to Ogun State, as it is happening in some other states like Oyo, Ondo among others.
Findings have also shown that, while the national lawmakers are gunning for their return tickets, the state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun on the other hand is desirous of cornering the same tickets for his loyalists.
The governor was accused of attempting to scuttle the chances of members of the National Assembly caucus through alleged schemes to foist only his loyalists as members of the Harmonisation Committee set up to make peace in the party.
Speaking on the relationship between the governor and federal lawmakers, Senator Adegboyega Kaka who is the leader of the National Assembly caucus , said “ It is an open secret that the relationship is not exactly cordial. But as I said, we disagree to agree. We are moving towards resolution of whatever the disagreement that exists between us”.
But the governor’s camp acussed the other faction of working against the party’s guidelines and planing to scuttle the governor’s efforts to reposition the party in the state. It also acussed the other faction of planning to stop Governor Amosun from realising his second term bid in 2015.
Speaking on the crisis, Chief Isaac Olu Agemo, a factional chairman of the party loyal to a former governor of the state, Aremo Segun Osoba , said “Nobody should be blamed for the crisis. I don’t believe there is crisis in the party, it is an in-house misunderstanding, it is not crisis per se, but, misunderstanding between A and B. We are saying that let the governor take care of the governance and the party leaders take care of the party, so that you will have a lighter load of what to carry; simple”, he said.
Second term election
Agemo who described the crisis rocking the party as “an in-house misunderstanding”, said Chief Osoba did not contribute to the crisis rocking the party in the state. Agemo also said that neither the faction nor the national leader was against the second term election of the state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, urging him not to nurse any fear.
He said “I have not seen Chief Osoba playing adverse role, he has been quiet, gentle in his general disposition to what is going on in the party and he believes things would settle.”
“Amosun can seek for second term, we are all together, we are in the same party, we can disagree to agree, that is human nature “, he said.
Addressing his loyalists during the factional state congress at MKO Abiola stadium, Abeokuta, Senator Amosun, on his part called on members of the party to unite in order to overcome the challenges ahead.
Amosun who noted that its month-long congresses have produced no victors, no vanquished , said those who won should be magnanimous in victory while those that lost should take it in their strides.
“One thing we should all take away from the conduct of our congresses is that there was no overt or covert attempt to impose candidates or disenfranchise anyone. The exercises were conducted in a peaceful atmosphere and all electors exercised their right of franchise without let or hindrance,” Amosun said.
Commenting on the protests that nearly marred the sitting of the Appeal Panel three days before the congress, Amosun said such was not totally unacceptable in politics. “Once people don’t take laws into their own hands, then all is well and good. “I spoke with our party leader, Akinrogun Olusegun Osoba, this morning and we shall continue to work together so that we can face the next elections as a united body,” he said.
But , in what could be described as a swift reaction, appeal committee of the All Progressives Congress in the state denied the media reports that it said the congresses held by the faction loyal to the state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun has complied substantially with the guidelines of the party. The Chairman and Secretary of the appeal committee Hon. Ikra Bilbis and Udochukwu Ezekwe respectively stated this, describing the report as fallacy which they said did not emanate from them.
According to them, the chairman, state congress committee, Ope Salami had no authority to disclose the content of the report of the appeal committee which he did not even see. The duo said Salami was a party in the matter and could not have been the best person to represent either the appeal committee or national leadership to disclose the content of the report. Bilbis said “I did not send my report to anybody except the national body that sent me. I did not send the report to Ope Salami .Why didn’t they find out from the headquarters. I was given an assignment it took me two days and I have submitted. I don’t know what the party would do with the report”.
Corroborating his chairman, the Secretary said “We have a procedure the way we do things in APC. The committee was given the mandate to look into the complaints of the petitioners, so, we did it, we have finished and submitted , we were very careful . Salami is not a member of the appeal committee.
“If Salami said we sent the report to him, is not true, we did not send it to him, Salami has his own committee, he was accused of some things and we asked him to defend himself and he explained his action. How can we give the report to somebody who is part of the matter, it is not done and is not correct”.
The way out: Proffering a solution to the political logjam Senator Kaka said “what is happening is normal and I am sure nobody will expect us to fight on aimlessly. If there are disagreements, which I don’t regard as fights, it should mean that justice needs to be done. Once there is readiness to ensure justice is done, there will be peace.
Semblance of peace
So, if you are seeing peace or semblance of peace, it is because we have promised our people that justice will be enthroned and once it is enthroned, there will be peace”. A chieftain of the party in the state, Mr Wale Okunniyi, called for the intervention by its national leaders to resolve the issue.
Okuniyi, a former governorship candidate in the state under the Congress for Progressive Change, one of the legacy parties of the APC while reacting to the crisis rocking the party warned that overlooking the crisis may affect the fortunes of the party in the state.
He said “It is a pity that we have found ourselves in this situation, where we have to do with two structures in the state. If nothing is done about it, considering the way some Peoples Democratic Party and Labour Party are ganging up, they will oust APC in 2015.
Meanwhile, both sides are now awaiting directives by the national body on the political logjam in the party in the state before they take further steps.
It was being rumoured that if the national body upholds the congresses held by the faction loyal to Aremo Osoba, the other faction loyal to Governor Amosun, may dump the party for either Accord Party or Labour Party.
While it was also gathered that if the congresses held by the the faction loyal to Amosun are upheld, the other faction may head to court to challenge the decision. The national body needs to make hays while the sun shines before it would be too late to resolve the crisis which is becoming multifaceted and more complex.