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INTERVIEW: Only Restructuring Can Guarantee Victory For Osun APC In Coming Elections – Salinsile  

INTERVIEW: Only Restructuring Can Guarantee Victory For Osun APC In Coming Elections – Salinsile  
  • PublishedSeptember 17, 2021


Hon. Rasaq Salinsile is the Caretaker Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State of Osun. He bares his mind on the just-concluded Local Government Congress of the party in this interview with OSUN DEFENDER. Excerpts: 


THE last Local Government Congress of your party has come and gone, what is your genuine assessment of the exercise?

Before I go to the Local Government Congress, I wish, for the umpteenth time, to inform the public on what led APC in general to the last congress. We should have held our congresses since 2018, but for reasons beyond our control, especially the elections that were coming up around that time; we didn’t have the opportunity because of what could be the negative aftermaths of having our congresses at that time. They were postponed indefinitely. Unfortunately, we could not have time to hold them before the General Elections again and since then, they have been postponed until the National Secretariat of the party decided on this time.

In the preparation for the congresses, I wouldn’t know what happened to the State Chairman of the party, Prince Gboyega Famodun and Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, who happens to be the Leader of the party. They only invited selected stakeholders to meetings where they said they wanted consensus for the congresses. And in the Constitution of our party, we have three ways through which you can conduct congresses – consensus, direct and indirect. They decided on consensus without consulting many of the stakeholders who should be at the roundtable to decide whichever one we were adopting. Too bad to the extent that myself as the State Secretary of the party was not involved and you said you wanted to do consensus. Many people said they were not carried along as well but despite that, they were ready for congresses but elective one – direct primary. 

Now, they went ahead with their own selected people, majorly consisting of IleriOluwa group members. Because of the vantage position of the Governor as a member of the Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, the party at the National level relates with him directly. Those who are bringing in the forms for the congresses at the National Secretariat came to the state through him and he bought all the forms and gave them to IleriOluwa people only. 

The Congress Committee, led by Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye, came and there was nothing like screening of the candidates. Major stakeholders were not invited for discussions by the committee. The Congress Committee and the Governor did what they wanted and they said they did congresses. But the other group, The Osun Progressives (TOP), despite the fact that they tried to deny them of the availability of the nomination forms, went to the National Secretariat to procure the forms, they came back with them and organised their own congress.

This same process plated out in the last Local Government congress, but what surprised me the most is that the same committee that carried out the Ward Congress was also used, in spite of the huge criticisms that followed the congress. They (Governor and the party Chairman) still imported the same committee to do their bidding again. I call them contractors, because they came to do the Governor’s bidding here. If I were Elegbeleye, I would not come back here, because the previous assignment I did had been condemned! But the man still had the guts to come here and do the same thing again; which means that he has neither conscience nor integrity to protect. They did their congresses in their way, but we held the congresses in the right way. We followed the constitution of the party on how congresses should be done. Party members elected their leaders, we have the results and we have announced it and very soon, by the grace of God, we will conduct an inauguration for the chairmen and members of the executive.

Elegbeleye said he was not aware of a dissenting voice against consensus; didn’t you communicate your stance on elective congress to the committee?

What do you expect him to say? He knew it. It was in many of the national dailies before the congresses that there was a crisis in Osun APC as regards the method of the congress. The dailies also reported that there was a parallel congress in Osun after the local government congress. I said it earlier, he is a contractor who came for an assignment and he had been paid for the services rendered. He cannot condemn his shenanigans called congress.  

The IleriOluwa group of the APC has been calling for reconciliation, are you (TOP) not willing to reconcile?

There is no sincerity in the call for reconciliation from their end. Most of these people talking about reconciliation are not genuine. Do they think we are political neophytes? We are the real people who own APC. And it is because of the imminent collapse of the party, which we observed, that led to the creation of TOP. Go and look at the seven objectives of TOP, everything was borne out of the love for the party and all efforts to prevent the party from going into extinction. So, we are the real initiators of the thought that this party must not die. If the party will not die, we have to come to the roundtable to discuss. 

We had initiated reconciliation before but they turned their deaf ears to us. They never thought we are saying anything sensible when it was an in-house matter. But they are calling for an insincere reconciliation now that we have exposed them to the whole world. This is the same reconciliation we started before the emergence of TOP and even at the earlier stage of the formation of the group. We were not, I repeat, we are talking not only about reconciliation, but reformation and restructuring of the party. The collapse of the party is very imminent. We need to restructure the party and reposition it in such a way that comes to any election, anytime, we will win.

The Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr Adebayo Adeleke, said on a radio programme that you have abandoned your duty at the party Secretariat. Is that true?

Who is he? He is just a tenant at this party. He is a tenant while I am one of the landlords of the party. He joined the party and before he and some other few elements came; the party was very peaceful. I don’t know how he found his way to be so close to the Governor and be giving him very bad advice. Unfortunately, the Governor has been giving them listening ears. 

How do you know that?

The man is close to the Governor. Everybody knows that. From the way he talks outside, you will know that he is not the kind of person that can give the Governor any good advice and I always say it. His likes will come and go back to their parties after destroying our party and God will not allow that. 

What does he know about party administration? Where was he when I became the Secretary of the party in the state? It is not his fault. He can say whatever he wants but I want to say he is nobody when it comes to party affairs, wherever I am. I have been doing my job diligently as the Secretary of the party. Osun people could attest to that. 

But you were absent in the last two or three programmes held at the party Secretariat?

Well, I was not informed about those programmes. I said earlier that as far as my position is concerned as the party Secretary, I should be at the centre of the planning. Everything going out to people concerning these congresses should emanate from my office, but I was not informed. I didn’t know anything about it. I was not invited. How do I just go to where I don’t know what was happening there? I have said it severally and I stand to be corrected, let the state Chairman of the party come out and tell me where we ever sat down and discussed party affairs. Let the Governor and the party Chairman come out and tell me where we discussed the issue of congresses.

They have their plans. They are afraid of elections. They know they are not popular. Some of them will claim that they are more than us and we say we are not disputing that, but let us go for elections and test our popularity. But they are scared of elections and that is why they are hiding under consensus. If they know that they have the capacity, let them come out and face us in real elective congresses. That will tell them who owns the party.

What should the APC members expect from the State Congress that is coming on October 2?

What are we going to expect other than what we experienced in the Ward and Local Government congresses? We are going to contest the State Congress. We have candidates for all the party offices. I am contesting for the State Chairman of the party. The Governor should not come from the same constituency where the Chairman of the party comes from. But incidentally, that is what is happening right now in Osun. The Governor is from the Central, I am from the West. That one will make a balanced arrangement and that is what can give us a good winning, come to any election. Every participant in the party and election processes are interested in what will come to his side. Lopsidedness will never favour any political party.

Some members of the APC believe that your chairmanship ambition poses threat to the second term of Governor Oyetola. How would you react to that?

We are talking about congresses now. This is purely party matter. When we get to the river, we shall know how to cross it and mind you, I am just an individual in the party structure. I cannot decide for the party.

What is your message to the APC members?

I thank them for the massive support we are enjoying from them and I want to assure them that what The Osun Progressives (TOP) is championing is the right cause. I know they have confidence and faith in us. They know we will always walk the talk and this time around, it will not be an exemption. By the grace of God, we will lead them to the Promised Land.

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