The former Osun governor said the president feared his closeness to Obasanjo despite pleas by Messrs. Anenih and Mark.
Six days before he defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC, a former National Secretary of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, wrote a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan. In the letter, the former Osun governor accused the president of frustrating him out of the PDP despite his efforts to prove his loyalty to Mr. Jonathan.
In the letter dated July 30, Mr. Oyinlola told Mr. Jonathan that ‘it would be fatal if the former governor did not think seriously about his political career and take a decisive step to salvage it.
Mr. Oyinlola, a former governor of Osun State, decamped to the APC at the party’s mega rally in Osogbo held for the re-election of the state governor, Rauf Aregbesola, Tuesday.
Mr. Aregbesola, then of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, assumed office in 2010 when Mr. Oyinlola was sacked by the Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan. The court ruled that ACN candidate won the 2007 governorship election.
Mr. Oyinlola, who ruled Osun State for about six years, became the national secretary of the PDP at the party’s national convention in 2012, but was also sacked by the Federal High Court, Abuja in January 2013 for being improperly elected to the position.
He appealed the judgement and won, but made unsuccessful attempts to return to the office. Part of the efforts was the July 1 meeting he had with Mr. Jonathan, who is the leader of the PDP, and Adamu Mu’azu, the party’s National Chairman at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
In the letter to Mr. Jonathan, with reference number 00/PDP/5, Mr. Oyinlola, a retired brigadier general, said the president was aware of the repeated efforts he and other leaders of the party made to return to his office as the national secretary of the ruling party, but that he (president) learnt the president was doubtful of his loyalty because of his closeness to former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Among the party leaders that pleaded to the president on his behalf apart from Mr. Mu’azu, according to Mr. Oyinlola, are the Senate President, David Mark, and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PDP, Tony Anenih.
He said, “Your Excellency, you are very conversant of all efforts made by me and very importantly, by respected leaders of the party to get this matter resolved and truly reconcile all aggrieved parties. I, however, learnt that you were not sure of my support for you, given my closeness to former President Olusegun Obasanjo hence the decision to disallow me from returning to my legally recognized position as the National secretary of the PDP.”
“I have met you on several occasions on this matter to pledge my loyalty. At my last meeting with you, which was at the instance of the party’s National chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, you requested that I be part of the ongoing Osun State governorship campaigns. Mr. President would remember that I stated that the minimum the party leadership could do to get me to campaign was to instruct the Ogun State chapter of the party to withdraw its appeal at the Supreme Court; or alternatively, obey the Appeal Court order, and allow me to resume duty, the same way the party obeyed the faulty Federal High Court verdict that ousted me.”
“To the foregoing, I wish to state that I was promised some positive response which never came, up till this moment. The Chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih CFR, has also on several occasions, after discussing me, met with Your Excellency on this matter assuring you of my loyalty to you and to the cause of the party. I am also aware that the Senate President, Senator David Mark, GCON, has similarly met with you and made a case for my return to office. Senator Mark went to the extent of asking you to hold him responsible for all actions I might take as National Secretary.”
“Mr. President, allow me to state with emphasis that what joins Senator Mark and my humble-self is more than politics. The military family that binds us does not know double-dealing or disloyalty. A part of our training, we keep our words, hence we are called “Gentlemen Officers.”
“That precisely was why the Senate President could most frontally vouch for me. Your Excellency, allow me to also recall that on three occasions, Senator Mark informed that I had agreed to submit to you a pre-signed resignation letter, if that would allay all fears of insincerity; and all, in a bid to ensure that the injustice of my illegal removal from office is redressed.”
“I wish to respectfully state that I do not go back on my words, just like I don’t abandon my friends, associates and leaders, no matter how hard the situation might be. That explains why as a State Governor, I remained very loyal to my boss, former President Ibrahim Babangida, GCFR, even when he had some issues with the government of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, I wish to respectfully recall very respectfully, that Chief Obasanjo never made any attempt to move against me on account of these differences.”
“The same spirit today drives me as I maintain my loyalty to former President Obasanjo, who may, or who may not have any relationship with your government. It was that same spirit that made me insist on your approval of my candidature, in your capacity as national leader of the party and president, before I agreed with my brother-governors request in 2012, to contest for the position of PDP National Secretary. I should like to state that I am not a fair-weather fellow. To my friends, the spirit is very similar to marital vow.”
Mr. Oyinlola regretted that despite all the efforts to reinstate him, the president was not totally convinced that he could be loyal. He added that it was this kind of mindset that was at the root of his challenges in the PDP.
“Mr. President, I wish to observe that with all these efforts by me and other credible leaders of our party, it appears clearly to me that you are not totally convinced that I am who I have always been in my journey through life,” the former governor said.
“I have, therefore, come to the conclusion that it is this mindset that is at the root of my challenges in PDP. It seems to me that I am not wanted by the national leader of the party; and I know that.
“Therefore, I will certainly not be doing myself justice and good, despite everything, if I don’t think seriously about my political journey and take a firm decision. Mr. President, I may at this point, need to look beyond the party and take my destiny in my hands. I sincerely hope that this will solve the problem. “Conclusively, Your Excellency, if I am doing the above and take further steps without telling you, I would be negating the pledge of loyalty which I had earlier made to you; hence this correspondence to Mr. President.”
It is not clear if Mr. Jonathan replied the letter before Mr. Oyinlola defected to the APC.