*2 Senators, 3 House of Reps. Members, 4 House of Assembly Members Ditch APC
*Its good riddance, says party’s publicity scribe
The reelection plan of Oyo State Governor Abiola Isiaka Ajimobi, which seems to have been boosted by some headline projects in the state, may have suffered a setback as major stakeholders are ditching the government and party in droves, scattering in different directions.
Apart from the major exit of strong cabinet members from the government after the dissolution of the entire State Executive Council by the governor last year, WESTERN POST learnt that some of the main pillars holding the party’s structures across the state are quitting, and this is authoritative.
Last year, a number of Commissioners, Special Advisers and Senior Special Assistants left the government either voluntarily or involuntarily following the dissolution of the executive council. While some accepted their re-appointment by the governor, some made their re-appointment difficult while the rest rejected their re-absorption outright.
In what is now seen as a major blow to the government and the party in the state, the two senators elected on the platform of the party, Senator Femi Lanlehin, representing Oyo South Senatorial District, and Senator Ayo Adeseun, representing Oyo Central Senatorial District, three House of Representatives members, four House of Assembly members as well as notable leaders of the party from Oke-Ogun zone have either left or on their way out of APC.
While the two senators have formally announced their exits, the key party leaders indicated theirs as they boycotted the party’s state congress held at the Lekan Salami Stadium last Saturday.
Chief Michael Adeniyi Koleoso a leading father figure in the politics of the state and former Secretary to the state government, did not attend the congress together with Chief Iyiola Oladokun, former deputy governor of the state and other top APC leaders from the Oyo North Senatorial District.
Not only that, these highly respected leaders did not participate in the process that led to the state congress, meaning that they do not have anybody or input in the APC executives from ward to the state level.
Senator Lanlehin, a strong party man, believed to have inherited the political structures of the late former governor of the state, Alhaji Lam Adesina (the structures through, which the party won most of its votes in Ibadanland during the 2011 elections) has now pitched his tent with Accord Party formed in the state by former Governor Rashidi Ladoja.
Senator Ayo Adeseun, a well known astute and highly calculating politician from Ogbomoso, is now back in his former party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Adeseun, who was the Chairman of the all-powerful and lucrative House Committee on Appropriation in the last dispensation, aided the victory of the party in some parts of the state, particularly Oyo axis.
Apart from money, Adeseun’s political network and the provision of solar-powered streetlights in most parts of the Oyo Central Senatorial District by him also contributed immensely to ACN’s electoral victory then.
Expectedly, these two APC senators did not quit the party alone, they left with thousands of their supporters and all the strength, influence and goodwill they had injected into the party and the government of Ajimobi.
The former Oyo State top executive members including Barrister Sarafa Alli, Barrister Lowo Obisesan, Mogaji Nuru Akinyo, Asiwaju Yemi Aderibigbe, Hon. Gbenga Olayemi and others are now fully in the Labour Party where they are campaigning with vigour against the Ajimobi government and APC.
The likes of Hon. Michael Okunlade and other former Ajimobi’s cabinet members from Oke Ogun have joined the PDP where they too are not in any way hiding their disdain for Governor Ajimobi and APC.
The next political move of Chief Koleoso and other leaders were not known as at press time at the weekend.
Reacting to Lanlehin’s exit, the APC, Oyo State chapter, described the exit of the senator representing from the party as good riddance to bad rubbish and an exit worthy of being celebrated.
The state’s Publicity Secretary of the party, Hon. Dauda Kolawole, said in a statement in Ibadan that Lanlehin was only putting into action his well-known political pedigree of “party flirtation” stating that if the senator had not abandoned the APC, he would have made news as acting against what the world knew him to be.
“No one who knew Lanlehin’s political odyssey would be shocked at his most recent flirtation and betrayal of the hands that fed him. He has travelled a political road that is landmarked by political treachery, abandonment and lack of basic ideology. That it took him this long to show his most recent political destination is a testimony to the fact that the APC is a good manager of political deviants”.
The party said that even though he hails from the home of a well-known Action Group stalwart who was his father, his romance with conservatives came as a surprise to many at the early part of his political journey.