Adelani Baderinwa, a former Commissioner for Information and Strategy, is the Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State of Osun. He speaks on the crisis rocking the party and the way forward. Excerpts:
ARE you ready to settle the crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC)?
The crisis within the APC is a family feud, which we know we are capable of settling at any point in time.
What are the chances of the APC if you go to the poll as a divided house?
Before we go to the poll, definitely we will resolve the issues; I am very confident about this.
The crisis took another dimension recently when your faction conducted parallel congresses. Do you think your faction will be recognised at the national secretariat of the party?
Well, ordinarily, there are procedures for conducting congresses. But such procedures were not followed by the other side. So, the truth of the matter is that there is no other way the national secretariat will look at the matter except through such laid down procedures. Incidentally, it was the same national secretariat that sold forms to the Governor Gboyega Oyetola’s camp that also sold forms to us. So, you can’t have one cake and give it to two children and allow them to struggle for it. Ab initio, the party has gone into slumber before The Osun Progressives (TOP) came in. The APC was sleeping because of the way it is being run; that was the reason that brought us out. We have been part of the struggle before 2010 and it brought the progressive government in 2010. We cannot be watching the party going astray. We came out to restructure the party so that we can prepare it ahead of the 2022 governorship election. We had a seven-point agenda.
We were going to consult everybody but unfortunately, they decided to make enemies out of us. We were insistent because we know what it takes to be on the barricades. Many party members are still aggrieved because of the way the party is being run and that is the reason we are gaining more supporters on daily basis. When we started, some of them were making statements that were incoherent about the situation of things. When we had ward congress and had exco members in 332 wards, they came to the reality that we are no longer a few disgruntled elements as they earlier described us. During the local government congress, we had 36 exco members from 30 local governments and the area office. But, at the state congress, they couldn’t show the crowd which they had at the stadium. They were so much incensed, even when they had the plan of disrupting whatever we are going to do; they hatched a plan at the government house the night before the state congress. As at the time we went for state congress, they were yet to put in place their excos at the ward and local government level, they were just using the power of government to stabilise and hold things together. Our goals are very clear; the reformation, the rehabilitation of the Osun APC. I believe we are achieving that because many people that would have gone to the PDP are not going, but coming to our side. We are making progress.
Will your faction support Governor Oyetola for a second term?
For whatever that it is worth, it is the person who speaks to you and asks for your support that you will give your support. You cannot “dash” your support, because it is a very serious thing in politics. So, if somebody is not asking for it, will I go and beg him to support him? It doesn’t make sense. So, I am telling you in clear terms that we are talking about support, but he is doing everything to annihilate us; they have been attacking us consistently either at the ward level, local level or even at the state level. Less than two weeks ago, he sent people to come and disrupt our meeting, even to do more if it would have been possible. He has not asked for our support; he doesn’t need it. A state commissioner under Governor Oyetola once said they don’t need our support for Oyetola to emerge; so basically, they don’t need us.
How many aspirants have indicated interest to vie for the governorship ticket in your group?
Within our fold, I am aware that the former Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Moshood Adeoti and former Speaker of the House of Assembly, Najeem Salaam have signified their interest in the ticket. There are other people. We have a choice to make between the two, and whosoever is willing before the closure of the sale of the nomination forms.
Have you ever negotiated with Governor Oyetola?
He did not give us the chance at all. As a father, he was expected to carry everybody along. He was not expected to be one-sided, even if he believes our grievances are not genuine.
What do you think can bring a lasting solution to the crisis within your party?
The party structure has to be reworked; it has to be renewed. There is a need for the party to do what is needful. For the past four years, the state executive has not held a meeting, not to talk of relating with executives at the local levels. Without a doubt, I don’t know how they will mobilise with such a state of affairs.
Can you identify what should be considered in resolving the crisis?
Anybody interested in resolving the crisis, let them talk about reworking the party first. Those who know the intricacies of running the party should give proper advice, and then there will be a resolution. We need inclusiveness because what they have been doing in the last three years is the mutual exclusion of members by throwing people out. This is an aberration in politics.
Are you demanding the harmonisation of the congress list?
There is nothing sacrosanct about resolving the problem. But I know that if there’s the willingness on the part of the elders, they will resolve the matter and we are ready for any form of resolution that is not going to put us at a disadvantage. We know we have more members than the governor’s group.
Are you now demanding positions at the party level or government?
We have always been talking about the party level; forget about the government. There’s nothing in government any longer that we are interested in.
(Culled from The Nation, Wednesday, December 1, 2021.)