The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, has blamed Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi for the recent failures of the All Progressives Party (APC) in the state.
In a letter addressed to the APC National Chairman, Mr Shittu said the “undemocratic” actions of the governor had cost the APC dearly as it has lost every election in the state since 2015 when Mr Ajimobi was reelected – a victory he claimed was made possible by the unity of purpose, commitment and resilience of members who campaigned for him.
He accused Mr Ajimobi of running the affairs of the party like a dictator by usurping the functions of the various organs of the party in the state, notably the executive of the party at the various levels.
“Rather than allow the wishes of the majority to prevail, the Governor has always single-handedly imposed his will on the party without due consultation with party members, elders and stakeholders.
“The effect of the above is that since the year 2015 when Governor Ajimobi won his re-election bid on the platform of the party, the party has lost every election in which it has participated in Oyo State.
“This is because, the Governor, in a bid to impose his hegemony on the party, has always ignored the views of party members and imposed unpopular candidates on the party. I will give a breakdown of the losses suffered by the party,” he said.
He made reference to how the APC lost the bye-election conducted in August 2016 in respect of the Oorelope State Constituency following the death of the former occupant of the seat and also the bye-election conducted last Saturday in respect of the Ibarapa East State Constituency following the death of the former occupant of the seat, Hon. Michael Adesina Adeyemo.
Mr Shittu further accused the state governor of having preference for non-members of the party for key positions in government.
He said Mr Ajimobi had directed members of the House of Assembly to vote for Hon. Joshua Olagunju Ojo who then occupied the Office of Minority Leader on account of his membership of the Labour Party.
“This, the Governor did to the detriment of the party all because of his selfish motive. The rest is now history as the said Minority Leader emerged speaker based on the shenanigans of the Governor. ”
He described the losses recorded by the party at the polls, including the recently conducted bye-election of June, as “a consequence of the apathy foisted on the majority of the party members by Mr Ajimobi through his culture of imposition and disrespect for the democratic will of the majority.”
While reminding the leadership of the APC that apart from Lagos State, Oyo State made the highest contribution to the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari at the 2015 polls in the entire Southern part, Mr Shittu called on the leadership of the party to abate “the culture of impunity.”
“May I also warn that the decision of the National Working Committee to unilaterally swear in Mr. Oke, a nominee and stooge of Governor Abiola Ajimobi without following due legal and political process amounts to a pitiable show of indiscretion, lack of political foresight and possible political electoral suicide for our great party in Oyo State,” he added.
When contacted, the Oyo State Commissioner for Information, Toye Arulogun, said he would not react to Mr Shittu’s claims because he is “not compelled to do so.”
However, APC spokesperson in the state, Abdulazeez Olatunde, told PREMIUM TIMES Mr Shittu was full of fallacious claims “which is something he is fond of.”
He challenged the minister to state three vivid examples of undemocratic tendencies the governor has exhibited. He also accused Mr Shittu of carrying out anti-party activities in the state.
“He said the party lost the by-election in Oorelope since the governor was sworn in the second time but all the elements in the party that are causing trouble now were solidly with us then, yet we lost the by-election.
“The by-election in Ibarapa which he claimed that it’s because they are no longer with us that the party lost; they were the ones that are guilty of working against the interest of the party.
“They were carrying out anti-party activities. They raised a candidate from the same constituency of the candidate of the APC all because he wanted to undermine the chances of the APC,” he said.
Mr Olatunde alleged the minister was “mobilising people ans telling them not to vote for the party.”
He further stated that Mr Shittu did not contribute to the reelection of the governor “because he was the one that took the governor to court despite every reasonable element in the party pleading with him to be reasonable.
“He is reaping from where he did not sow because if at all, reward is given based on contribution, then he doesn’t deserve that ministerial position he is enjoying now.
“Other antecedents of the minister are there for everybody to claim. He has never been found to very stable in every ramifications. If he actually loves Buhari, this is not the time for him to be working against him,” he said.
He, however, noted that the party does not want Mr Shittu and “any of his co-travailants to leave the party.”
“We want peace and reconciliation. We want them to come and amicably settle it but whatever is their choice is left for them. If he cannot be submissive to the leadership of the party here and the state governor, he certainly cannot be submissive to President Buhari in Abuja,” he added.
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