A former Osun State governor, Rauf Argbesola, has raised concerns about the admission of new members into the ruling party, APC.
Mr Aregbesola’s statement comes amidst concerns raised by some APC leaders about the defection of former deputy governor of Osun State, Iyiola Omisore, from the Social Democratic Party (SDP) to the APC.
PREMIUM TIMES, last Monday, reported that Mr Omisore did his official registration as a card-carrying member of the APC at his unit in Moore, Ile-Ife, with his supporters chanting “Oyetola for second term”.
Mr Omisore contested for governor under the banner of SDP during the 2018 gubernatorial election and he came third in the poll.
He later supported the APC at the re-run of the governorship election after Gboyega Oyetola, the APC’s candidate, trailed Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by 353 votes.
Amidst reported anomalies by several local and international observers in some polling units, Mr Oyetola later won the rerun by 462 votes and was declared winner, making way for Mr Omisore to be one of the major players in the current administration of the state.
Sources within the party in Osun State confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that the defection of Mr Omisore to APC was not supported by many leaders of the ruling party.
This may have influenced the statement made by the Minister of Interior, Mr Aregbesola, after the revalidation of his APC membership on Friday, at Ifofin, Ward 8, Ilesa East Local Government Area, Ilesa, Osun State.
Reacting to the recent defection from opposition parties to APC, the former governor said the Nigerian constitution allows suspects and murderers to register as members of any party.
“This registration affords us the opportunity to deepen internal democracy in our party. Our members now have a say in whoever becomes a flag bearer either at the party level or in government.
“Though the Constitution allows everyone to register as a member of any political party, even if they are suspects, murderers, character assassinators etc, but those who constitute the majority of the party membership must represent the core values of the party, he wrote on Twitter.
“What distinguishes us in APC are the values we hold. We value social democracy, to a large extent liberal democracy and progressivism.
“There must be a clear distinction between jolly good fellows and fair-weather friends who will still leave our party when they sense a better opportunity elsewhere. In associating with individuals, who you are, your character and world view must come to play.
“More importantly, we must honour the memory of our father, Chief Bola Ige and what he stands for which includes, compassion, commitment to the good of the majority and ideas that will bring good life, happiness, progress and security for the people”, he said.
Mr Aregbesola did not publicly mention Mr Omisore’s name but the former senator was a suspect in the murder of a former attorney-general, Bola Ige. Mr Omisore denies the allegation.
Mr Omisore did not respond to PREMIUM TIMES calls and text messages seeking his reaction to Mr Aregbesola’s comment.
Mr Omisore served as deputy governor to a former governor, Adebisi Akande, between 1999 and 2003 and was also a senator representing Osun East from 2003 to 2011. Mr Akande is a former APC national chairman and is considered the leader of the party in Osun.
In 2014, Mr Omisore lost the governorship election in the state to Mr Aregbesola before he lost again in 2018.
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