A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State, Senator Gbenga Aluko, has urged members to forge stronger unity within the party to sustain its foremost position in the politics of the state.
He debunked insinuations of attack on the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, saying it was shocking that an honest remark on the resolution of local disagreement within the party could be misinterpreted and manipulated in the social media to set him against the respected party national leader
The former Senator was at the weekend on a visit to the party secretariat in Ado-Ekiti, where he said he was on a “familiarization and assimilation visit” to the leadership of the party and sought the support of the leadership to be accepted into the APC fold.
He appealed to the aggrieved members to sheath their swords, explaining that taking internal crisis for resolution outside the state diminished the credibility and stature of the party leadership in the Fountain of Knowledge state blessed with wise and credible leaders.
Also at another meeting with the local government and ward chairmen of the party at his Ode-Ekiti country home, Aluko insisted that political structures within the party should not be encouraged because such tendency destroyed party cohesion, urging, however, that party leaders should listen to aggrieved members to ensure resolution of the crisis tearing the party into groups and structures.
“While I urge our leaders in the Executive Council to listen to the aggrieved members, I also urge our aggrieved members to recognise and support party structure. I particularly appeal to our Iyin leaders to allow Hon Opeyemi Bamidele to be registered as a member of our party. We need genuine reconciliation to build a stronger party.
“It should be noted that reconciliation begins on the altar of party leadership structure and not elsewhere. That is why the party cannot afford to dissolve the party EXCO for now because members have a tenure as established by the party’s constitution, otherwise, we will be brewing a bigger crisis within the party.”
Expressing displeasure over the misinterpretation of his remark on Tinubu, the former Senator said the party National Leader was a man he respected so much that he would not denigrate in the manner some mischief-makers were painting in the social media.
“When I was in the Senate in 2000 when my fellow PDP members on the floor of the Senate were making uncomplimentary remarks on Asiwaju on an issue that generated national attention, I stood up to the shock of my fellow PDP senators to register my displeasure over attempts to rubbish a promising Yoruba man who though was not a member of my party.
“I stood up in 2000 in the Senate to resist the tarnishing of Tinubu’s image, particularly when I discovered that it was an orchestrated attempt to rubbish him. How can I stand up today to be fighting the same man that is now my leader who I have no issue with?” he queried.
The former Senator, who insisted that any politician’s structure should be built around party structure, noted that because the party is supreme, all members must submit themselves to the authority of the party for peace to reign and ensure party health and strength.
Urging the local government and ward chairmen to accept him to the party, Aluko said:
“It is because I recognised the party supremacy that I went through the party to invite all of you the local government and ward chairmen to this meeting. If I had gone through structures and groups, I am sure I won’t have all of you present in this meeting this afternoon.”
Aluko also urged members to rally round the three former governors who are leaders of the party, explaining that for now, according to the APC’s constitution, the Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr Kayode Fayemi, is the state leader of the party by the virtue of his current position and as a former governor.
Earlier, the Vice Chairman of the party, Mrs Kemi Olaleye, while welcoming Aluko to the secretariat, said the former senator was a leader by the virtue of his membership of the Senate and that he would also function as a leader in APC.
He thanked Aluko for his previous assistance to the party and encouraged him to do more as the leader to grow APC to a formidable political party capable of winning all elections in the state.
Present at the occasions were party leaders, including the State Secretary, Paul Omotoso; Publicity Secretary, Taiwo Olatubosun; South Zonal Chairman, Kayode Babade; Assistant Secretary, Gbenga Agbeyo; former Deputy Speaker, Dapo Karounwi, among others.
In Aluko’s entourage was Ropo Adesanya, who praised the state EXCO and three former governors Niyi Adebayo, Segun Oni and Fayemi for their leadership roles to keep the party united.
The former State Chairman of PDP said he had no regret leaving PDP to join APC, explaining that Governor Ayodele Fayose was not a person he could work with again under any circumstance.
He urged members to remain united and rally round the leadership of the party to enable it win in future elections.