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INTERVIEW: Politics Of Inclusion, Not Seclusion Is Needed To Bring Peace To Osun APC – Salaam

INTERVIEW: Politics Of Inclusion, Not Seclusion Is Needed To Bring Peace To Osun APC – Salaam
  • PublishedJune 15, 2023


Rt. Hon. Najeem Salaam is the Chairman, Omoluabi caucus of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State of Osun. He is also a former Speaker of the State House of Assembly. He provides way forward to the lingering crisis that has robbed APC of electoral successes in this interview with ISMAEEL UTHMAN. Excerpts: 

SOME months ago, you announced the dissolution of TOP and the birth of Omoluabi caucus of the APC in the State of Osun; what is the idea behind the caucus and is it not a continuation of TOP as some people believe?

Najeem Salaam

Sometimes last year in December, after a lengthy and critical discussion with major stakeholders of our tendency, we agreed to find means of working together with all progressive-minded people in the state to rebuild our party across all divides. Therefore, the old arrangements cannot be used for that purpose, and that was one of the major reasons that led to the birth of Omoluabi. Omoluabi, as the name symbolises, was the only name that can be used at that moment to appeal to the senses of all the progressives and not for The Osun Progressives (TOP) or any other caucus but to give peace a chance within ourselves and formed a formidable party.

In spite of the dissolution of TOP and the birth of Omoluabi, there seems to be no peace in the APC in Osun. Are you sure your tendency is sincere on the call for reconciliation?

Yes, very sincere and that was why we dissolved TOP and the party executive in our tendencies. It was not an easy task to dissolve well established party structure and the mother group, but we did that to give room for genuine and sincere reconciliation. We made the sacrifice as genuine progressives; dissolution of TOP and the party executive was a crisis management mechanism that, ordinarily, should put an end to the division in the party. Unfortunately, the other side did not welcome that move; they never seized the opportunity to end the crisis. Instead, they continued in their usual politics of seclusion. What else can we do? Like Yoruba adage says: ‘you asked a thief to run, he runs, you asked him to surrender himself, he does, what else do you want? Let me also tell you that we had been making move for genuine reconciliation in the party even before the birth of Omoluabi. We are progressives, we love the party, we would not want it to collapse. We had foreseen what is happening and we raised the alarm. But for selfish reasons, the other camp was recalcitrant and continued toeing the path of perdition. The result is what we are witnessing today.

Former Governor Oyetola recently constituted an 11-man committee for the repositioning of the party. Is the committee in line with the reconciliation move you’re clamouring for?

I can’t say anything about the committee because I am not privy to their terms of reference and the reason(s) for its formation. I heard it on the news and we are watching as the event unfolds itself. I was never consulted before and after the inauguration of the committee, likewise other persons in our tendency. A Yoruba adage says ‘He who will settle a fight must not be part of the fight’. I don’t see any sincerity in making people who are party to a crisis to be the ones to make recommendations for peace.

What is the way forward to ending the crisis rocking the APC in Osun?

When we are all ready to come to terms and accept our blames and display the maturity that a political organisation like ours requires, then and then we can forge ahead. Inclusion, not a secluded political arrangement as it was displayed some years back, can lead to a good reconciliation. Everybody should be carried along; anywhere, any organisation where politics of seclusion is being played will not succeed. It is even worse when a smaller size of a group is trying to disregard the majority. It is a commonsense political statement that you don’t drive people away in politics, instead, you continue embracing them and ensure there is discipline.  

How soon do you think the APC will return to power in Osun?

Political success is always a result of teamwork, perseverance, hard work, and good strategies. All these must be ready on the ground before you can even postulate any hypothesis for success. Importantly, we should not forget that we are mortals, and God is the Dispenser of our affairs. 

What do you think is the fate of progressive politics in the nearest future in Osun?

The future of progressives lies in their hands and the efforts put together by them. The earlier the better they realise this. Time will tell. We were in this state when Chief Bisi Akande was the governor of the state. We are also living witnesses and active participants of the opposition days of the progressives. It was possible for us (the progressives) to win the 2007 governorship election because we had our house in order, the party was formidable and members of the party were all happy and encouraged to mobilise for the election. When our mandate was even stolen, we did not relent, and the party members were undaunted, and Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola was eventually declared winner of the election by the Appeal Court. We need collective efforts, unity, organization, team spirit and purposeful leadership now more than ever.  

Do you foresee an alignment if some stakeholders forming a third force to rescue power from the APC or PDP in the nearest future?

Well, politics can take any dimension at any time. Don’t forget that, interest is the only constant factor in the political arrangement. Right now, APC and PDP are the major parties that are well entrenched in the State. I believe the future will take care of itself.

You are part of the bigwigs in Osun APC that some people accused of anti-party during the last general elections, how true is that?

Anti-Party? Well, it depends on what this means in your dictionary but as far as I know, I am as faithful to the party as anyone that sees himself/herself in the party today.  Or is there any record of declaration for another party? How sincere are those people that are alleging members of the party of antiparty? If they want the party to win an election sincerely, they know how to play the game.

How did you feel when you were not chosen as the governorship aspirant from your tendency in 2022?

Well, I always believed in whatever God gives me and have never struggled with my destiny with Him. Whatever He pleases Him, He ordained. No bad feelings.

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