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Ogun crisis: Bigwigs shun Yar’Adua’s visit

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By Kolade Larewaju
ABEOKUTA — PRESIDENT Umaru Yar’Adua’s scheduled one-day working visit to Ogun State, may be marred by massive boycott by political bigwigs in the state. He is scheduled to commission the new State Secretariat Complex in Abeokuta, the state capital. He is also speculated to be on a mission to settle the protracted bad blood between the executive and the legislature.

However, the Director of Organisation of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, in the state, Mr. Deji Kalejaiye, said that there was no truth in the claims that leaders of the party would shun the President’s visit.

He said: “I can assure you that the leadership of the party at the local government level, state level and the south west level would be heavily present at the programme. Do not be deceived about leaders shunning the programme, it is not true.

Meanwhile arrangements for the visit of the President continue to heighten as radio and television jingles continue to rent the airwaves while several bill boards welcoming him to the state have been erected
Meanwhile arrangements for the visit of the President continue to heighten as radio and television jingles continue to rent the airwaves while several bill boards welcoming him to the state have been erected

“It will be a successful visit and the President will be impressed with what is on ground here”.
Mr. Kalejaiye however said that he would not know whether the settlement of the crisis was on the agenda of the President’s visit which he said was only a day’s visit.

“I will not talk about what I do no know. I don’t know if the issue of settlement that you talked about is part of the visit. So I cannot really say much other than to tell you that the President is coming and will be well received.”

Confirming the proposed visit of the President in a statement by Mr. Adegbenro Adebanjo, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Olugbenga Daniel, the Government added that after the commissioning of the 18 blocks of office complex, the President will be treated to a state banquet.

The commissioning slated for Oke-Imosan is expected to start by 10.00am while the banquet would follow immediately.

President Yar’Adua’s visit to Ogun State, according to sources, would be an opportunity for him to intervene in the protracted crisis between Governor Daniel and 15 of the state lawmakers led by the Speaker, Mr. Tunji Egbetokun.

Several interventions by prominent people, traditional rulers and the National leadership of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) had proved abortive.

Recent developments have however brought the face-off between the warring factions to a frightening height as an oath taking saga has been brought in.

Settling the matter by the President today may however be impossible as the Speaker; Mr. Tunji Egbetokun had declared that he would not be attending the commissioning as he was not invited.

Egbetokun and the 14 other legislators on his side including the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Remmy Hassan, have for months shunned state programmes.

I wasn’t invited —Speaker

He told Vanguard on phone yesterday: I’m not attending because I’ve not been properly invited. It is an executive function. We also commissioned our own assembly complex and the governor did not attend, so what is the big deal in it.

If the President is coming to attend, there has not been any special invitation to that effect. Anyway, there are no signals that the president will be coming.”

Also expected to throw spanners into the works of an immediate settlement is the fact that some of the leaders of the party, some Senators and House of Representative members who should be around to join Governor Daniel in hosting the President, Vanguard learnt would not be attending the ceremony.

2 Senators, 4 Reps shun visit

Among those who would not be attending, Vanguard can confirm, is Chairman of the party’s Elders Forum, Alhaji Sule Onabiyi. Others include former Minister of State for finance, Senator Jubril Martins-Kuye; former Special Adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo, Dr. Doyin Okupe; Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello and Senator Lekan Mustapha.

Of the three Senators representing Ogun State, only Senator Felix Kola Bajomo representing Ogun West, Vanguard learnt would be in attendance along with about four of the nine House of Representative members from the state.

Obasanjo’s position unclear

It is however not clear whether former President Olusegun Obasanjo who lives a stone throw from the venue of the commissioning would be attending or not.

The implication of the non-attendance by the leaders of the party who are believed to also be at loggerheads with Governor Daniel is that an amicable resolution of the crisis would be impossible as only one side, loyalists of Governor Daniel would be at the ceremony.

Meanwhile arrangements for the visit of the President continue to heighten as radio and television jingles continue to rent the airwaves while several bill boards welcoming him to the state have been erected.

Sources at the state-owned television and radio stations told Vanguard that arrangements have been concluded to broadcast the programme live on the two stations.

Yoruba Elders back Daniel

Apparently reacting to political developments in Ogun state, prominent Yoruba Elders including the retired Bishop of Anglican Communion, Akure Diocese, Bishop Bolanle Gbonigi, The founder of Odua Peoples Congress, Dr Fredrick Fasheun and a frontline politician, Dr Tunji Otegbeye have expressed concern on what they called a deliberate attempt to truncate the spate of development in the State.

The leaders at a meeting at the Century Hotel, Okota, Lagos last weekend, stressed the need for every concerned Yoruba elder to “take a cursory look at the political development which has hidden hands and capable of affecting good governance in the Gateway State and other states in the southwest”, pointing out that  “we are currently holding crucial meetings to address the situation”.

Said Bishop Gbonigi, “we are worried and that is why we are crying out. Ogun  is not only a progressive state, but has witnessed steady transformation. But we are worried at the various attempts to retard the progress and that is why we are meeting and by the grace of God, there would be reconciliation”

Dr Fasheun on his part said Yoruba people needed to be on the alert over the dimension the Ogun state crisis has taken, saying  if care was not taken; the crisis in  would spread to adjourning states.

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