By Ola Ajayi
OLAMIJU, one of the sons of ex-governor of Oyo State, Otunba Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala and Teslim, one of the brothers of the state governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, have been included in the new list of Local Government Caretaker Committee Chairmen recently sent to the state’s House of Assembly. The list which was announced during the Assembly’s plenary on Tuesday also included the name of Prince Lana, one of the children of the immediate past Olubadan of Ibadanland, late Oba Samuel Odugade Odulana.
The crisis within the ruling All Progressives Congress over appointment of education secretaries, a list of caretaker chairmen for 33 councils and additional Local Council Development Areas sent to the state House of Assembly and members of Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission is gradually returning the pacesetter state to its ugly past when the state was tagged the hotbed of political hooliganism.
The bloody clash which erupted on Monday was between two visible factions within the party who are sympathetic to Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State and a former state leader of the party, Late Alhaji Lamidi Adesina.
Alao-Akala’s son, ex-Olubadan’s son, Ajimobi’s brother make list
According to information gathered, preference was given to supporters of the governor who allegedly formed 97 per cent of the whole list. Among those that benefitted from the list of caretaker chairmen are the former governor of the state, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala whose son, Olamijuwonlo is to become the caretaker chairman of Ogbomoso North, former Olubadan of Ibadanland, late Oba Samuel Odulana, Prince Gbade Lana and also the governor’s brother, Alhaji Teslim Ajimobi.
This development angered some supporters of the former governor who have all along been complaining of alleged partiality in the sharing of political offices. Most of the agitators came all the way from Oke Ogun areas of the state in about 50 buses. The people are from local government areas like Oke Ogun including Saki East, Saki West, Atisbo, Iwajowa, Kajola, Itesiwaju, Kajola, Irepo, Olorunsogo and Oorelope local government areas.
Bloody clash between Ajimobi and Lam Adesina’s supporters
On arrival in Ibadan, members of the National Union Road Transport Workers who were believed to be loyalists of the governor tried to prevent the incursion of the aggrieved members of the party into the sprawling city. During the crisis which lasted about 30 minutes, dangerous weapons were reportedly used by the feuding parties. While some of the party members coming from Oke Ogun were blocked at Moniya by some NURTW members, others who escaped and marched to the State Secretariat met supporters of the governor on ground.
They had hardly got to the secretariat when supporters of the governors and some security men tried to prevent them from gaining entry into the secretariat which houses the governor’s office. This led to an exchange of verbal outbursts which soon degenerated into a brawl.
Ajimobi in a dilemma: The governor seems to be in a dilemma as Lam Adesina’s faction on the one hand is complaining that the list of nominees sent to the legislative arm was different from a list sent by party leaders from various local government areas in the state, his supporters, on the other hand, have complained bitterly that they had been sidelined in time past and so it is not out of place if they are considered this time around. Ajimobi has said it for the umpteenth time that there is no division within the party advising his party members to see themselves as one big indivisible family.
Supremacy of the party
One of the aggrieved members of the party, Mr. Ayinde Olona from Iseyin said at a meeting, they all agreed that only the list of nominees sent from each council would be used. “They said, we should forward three names of nominees from each local government for appointment of OYSIEC members, education secretaries and caretaker chairmen. But, to our surprise, the list sent to the House of Assembly does not contain any of the names we sent.
The party chairman in Saki-West area of Oke-Ogun, Kareem Adebayo, said, “The supremacy of the party must prevail over personal whims and caprices. We represent the electorate who voted in Ajimobi for the first and second term. What he is doing now is regrettable. We reject the list because it means the imposition of people on us. We do not know them. The party must decide on behalf of the people. Ajimobi is not working with the party because he has prerogative power as the governor. If Bola Tinubu would not do such things, why should Ajimobi do it?”
In a protest letter, they wrote, “We were one party before and during the 2015 general elections. We worked together as a team and delivered nine out of 10 local governments losing one with a narrow margin. The governor appreciated this and always pointed this out at any occasion. The governor pledged to consult the party before any appointment, but he did not honour the pledge in spite of the fact that the governor personally requested and collected lists for SUBEB secretaries, electoral officers and caretaker committee/chairmen from the party across the 10 local governments of Oke Ogun.”
Governor, Party dismiss claims
The Executive Assistant on Political Matters to the governor, Dr. Morohunkola Thomas, appealed to them saying “Everybody should go and prepare for the forthcoming local government elections. The council poll will still hold by the special grace of God. You cannot satisfy everybody in politics. The governor has the prerogative to appoint caretaker chairmen. So, whoever is not accommodated now, will be accommodated later, and they have a window of opportunity to prepare for the council poll which will hold in the next few months.”
Complaining further, APC leaders through Alhaji Ahmed Ayinla, Mr. Salami Isiaka, and Alhaji Olalekan Abdulkazeem, told the governor to toe the path of honour by allowing party members to pick their leaders. But, all these claims were dismissed by the state leadership of the party which spoke through Wale Shadare, the party’s secretary.
He said, in as much as people have freedom to express their grievances in a democratic setting, he was not happy that the people acted on a rumour. He said, “The list is not yet made public. Our people should stop acting on rumour. We believe they should follow the normal channel to air their grievances. They did not come to the party secretariat. I will only appeal to them to be calm and law abiding as their grievances will be looked into by the party hierarchy”.
Cancellation of LG polls not by governor: One of the causes of the anger of party members was a rumour that the governor was the brain behind the cancellation of the poll. But, one of the aides of the governor who was not authorised to speak on the issue dismissed this as a tissue of lies saying before the council poll became a subject of litigation, the governor had funded the OYSIEC and made every preparation for the conduct of the election. He wondered how the governor who had committed so much to the poll would now mastermind its cancellation.
“Does that make any sense at all? People just peddle rumour that they cannot substantiate. We all saw the sincerity of the governor then. Preparation was on the top gear before some Baales from Oyo town instituted a suit against the conduct of the poll. The governor, being a law abiding person, then said immediately the case is settled in court, the election will be conducted”, he said.