Text of a press conference delivered by the Chairman of ‘The Osun Progressives (TOP), Reverend Adelowo Adebiyi, on Tuesday, June 01, 2021 in Osogbo, State of Osun.
Gentlemen of the Press,
On behalf of all members of The Osun Progressives (TOP) at home and abroad, I welcome you all to this press conference. As you are all aware, TOP has been in the news of recent. While the group’s emergence has ruffled feathers in many quarters, many patriots and genuinely concerned members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have been wondering what is going on and what the group is all about. We are here today to clear the airs on TOP, to explain what the group is all about and to allay any fear that might have built up since then.
For the avoidance of any doubt, The Osun Progressives (TOP), is a caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Parties are made up of caucuses. Afenifere metamorphosed into the Action Group (AG) in the First Republic and remained a caucus in the party and has remained so in the successor legacy parties of Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) in the Second Republic, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the stillborn Third Republic, the Alliance for Democracy (AD), the Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN) and now the APC.
The APC has many caucuses, just as state branches of the party have caucuses. Oranmiyan was the platform on which the Progressives reclaimed power in Osun in 2010 and has remained a caucus in the party. Governor Gboyega Oyetola came into power on the platform of Ileri Oluwa which has also remained a caucus in the party. Agba Osun never existed prior to its establishment by former Governor; Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. It is now a caucus in the party.
We therefore want to state in clear terms that we are not a splinter group that the enemies are associating us with, but genuinely concerned Party Patriots wishing to have a great progressive platform in the party. TOP exists to correct the observed anomaly in APC, which other existing caucuses like Agba Osun turned blind eyes to, and strengthen it for the good of all.
WHY WE DECIDED TO INTERVENE
1. The reality of the state of affairs in APC today is not heart-warming, as the structure is weak and the leadership seems overwhelmed with its management. There are no regular meetings at whatever level, where opinions, views and ideas could be aggregated while members are fragmented with unsynthesized outlook towards party ideals.
2. It is clear now that Osun APC is being run arbitrarily with the rule of thumb as dictatorial tendencies of the party leadership has put several members off, to the extent of their becoming nonchalant towards the party.
3. As at today, without internal cohesion and commitment to party ideals, the APC may need more than ordinary efforts to win elections in the state. This, regrettably, was the pattern with the AD before it lost power in the state to PDP which sent the state to darkness for more than seven years. That tragedy and affliction must be avoided by all means, hence the emergence of TOP.
4. It is rather sad that party elders and stakeholders put on a nonchalant attitude towards redeeming this unacceptable state of affairs in APC, a clear danger which could have debilitating effects on our electoral fortune.
5. Members of the Osun Progressives (TOP) having watched these developments felt it is incumbent on them to redeem the near ugly situation before it is too late. This compelled the formation of the Caucus.
6. It is TOP’s considered opinion that the Progressives APC platform, having been in government since 2010, should have matured to the point of democratic invincibility and be consolidating by now.
7. It is also TOP’s view that rather than the un-coordinated and divisive way party affairs are run, there is the need to ensure greater democratic participation of members so as to sustain their continued interest in and commitment to the party.
8. It is quite amusing that a Caucus expected to find solution to problems in APC are the ones creating further problems by their acts of omission or commission. It is therefore laughable and repugnant to good reasoning that Agba Osun; a caucus of hand-picked group of people, unknown to APC statutes, would arrogate power of suspension to itself when it ought to interrogate the problems and find solutions to such problems. How will malicious actions breed genuine reconciliation?
THE MISSION OF TOP
To be sure, the mission of The Osun Progressives(TOP) is outlined below for clarity.
1. To Consolidate progressive legacy from 2010 to now. Rising from the ashes of 2003 eclipse, progressive administration emerged on November 27, 2010 and is on the third term. We are going to work hard to ensure the consolidation and perpetuation of this legacy.
2. To strengthen the party structure from the polling booth through the wards to the local governments and state level. Every cadre of the party will be energised and positioned to participate in policy making and governance process through idea sharing, opinions and meaningful contributions and the members will be mobilised for victory in all elections.
3. To deepen democracy through restoration of internal democracy in the party such that every elective office in the party or elective executive and legislative positions at the ward, local government, state and national levels of government will be democratically determined, thereby eliminate imposition in any form. This will make the party dynamic, inclusive and vibrant.
CONCLUSION: Let me state very clear again that our mission is not to weaken the party but to strengthen it. Our objectives are noble, our motives pure. Whoever identifies with these objectives is free to join us.
I thank you for listening.