The Chairman of The Osun Progressives (TOP), a group within the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Rev. Adebiyi Adelowo has described as shameful the disruption of the sitting of the APC Ward Congress Appeal Committee at the party secretariat in Osogbo on Saturday, 14 August, 2021.
Addressing a press conference on Sunday, 15 August, 2021 at Oranmiyan House, Osogbo, Adelowo explained that the Osun Progressives (TOP) was born as a child of necessity as a result of the gross unpopularity level which the Osun APC has been brought to due to ineptitude of highest order displayed by the outgoing executives of the party.
“Expectedly, reactions to the birth of TOP was opposed vehemently by today’s men of power. They felt challenged and became irrational towards TOP which was born out of the necessity. The essence of TOP has been the need to reposition Osun APC and strengthen it for future success as we have kept stressing since.
“However, like most situations when truth gets bitter than bitter kola, the outgoing executive members and their acolytes in government attributed wrong motives to what TOP stands for, saying it was formed to undo Governor Gboyega Oyetola’s second term bid,” he explained
According to Adelowo, it is a fact well known to politically astute minds that a weak party cannot be the expected vehicle, “to bring us to the destination of winning elections and forming government. That the Osun APC is very weak today is a very clear thing that cannot be denied by even the most biased analysts.
“As at today, Osun APC state executives have not sat for a meeting for once in the last three years or so. No issue affecting the party and its members have been discussed anywhere since the said time. All misunderstandings in the local government branches have been left unattended to and indeed festered to become crisis. Not one of the 30 plus Area office local governments is free of crisis”.
Adelowo said the party Chairman, Prince Gboyega Famodun, rarely visits the party Secretariat, as he prefers holding court in his palatial Famson residence. He rather he said prefers to be beholden to his Lord and master at Okefia Government House to pick crumbs of available things than sit in his well furnished office at the party secretariat.
“By these actions, he got cheaply bought over by the Governor’s faction of the party, IleriOluwa, and ceded all powers and responsibilities of the party to the Governor and his IleriOluwa group. It is a sine qua non to exclude or keep in view any party members other than that of Ileri Oluwa. The principles of exclusion has become the policy of the Oyetola’s administration. The case is even worse, if it has anything to do with the personality of the former Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola; former Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Moshood Olalekan Adeeoti; and the former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt.Hon. Dr. Najim Salam all of whom Governor Oyetola considers as his mortal enemies and treated as such”.
With this kind of situation, Adelowo said the Osun APC became irrevocably polarised, rudderless and without no known purpose.
“It is thus on that score that the battle for the resuscitation of the Osun APC became a task that must be done but which the few elements in power felt threatened about. After TOP made its first outing to Ogbeni who reasonably declared support for the objectives that propelled formation of the caucus, verbal attacks by the outgoing party Chairman and some enfant terrible of the government followed.
“Famodun, you will recall, called TOP members many unprintable names. The state Commissioner for Works, Remi Omowaye, publicly canvassed for physical assault on TOP members anywhere they are found. The so- called Elders’ Forum excommunicated Reverend Lowo Adebiyi who had been a former Chairman of the AC, the ACN, both precursors of All Progressives Congress, APC.
“Adebiyi, the man the so called Elders’ Forum suspended is on record to be the one that led us to a landslide electoral success in 2014. His humane handling of party matters and the enigmatic personality of Ogbeni Aregbesola made that feat possible as against an unpopular character whose only added value was the fact that he is a surrogate to an Uncle somewhere, and a docile party with rudderless and feckless leadership.
“Notwithstanding, the barefaced anger that greeted TOP’s emergence, we remain focused and true to the need to have a renewed Osun APC”.
He disclosed that TOP strategised on how to get its mission done, with the National Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, in furtherance of the fulfilment of its mandate scheduled registration of new members, revalidation of old members and hold congress into the wards, local governments, states and the National Convention to elect exco members for the party national level.
Adelowo disclosed that TOP saw opportunity in these schedules and went to work in pursuit of success. But a number of things happened along the way.
“The Oyetola government atrociously tried to preclude us from obtaining forms for members of the party who is not in the Ileri Oluwa faction into various ward positions but we succeeded in getting the forms. The form selling team from Abuja were abducted and kept away from contacting any party member.
“They succeeded in keeping them but failed to achieve desired result in that regard. We used other legal means possible to obtain forms directly from the National Secretariat with individual tellers. Worse enough for them, they purchased the totality of the forms, including second set with just one teller which is against the rule. This must have pained them to no ends. They procured a malleable fellow for the Ward Congress Committee in the chairman who made the execution of their exclusion policy easy. He said he and his members inevitably arrived Osogbo late. They went straight to the Government House where they held an Ileri Oluwa Stakeholders’ meeting, leaving out all other stakeholders in the party. The Ileri Oluwa stakeholders declared that they were adopting consensus as proposed “where possible” by the National Secretariat”.
Adelowo stated further that, “Our critical thinking and smart moves worked well as the application forms coordinator man from Abuja did not bother to check about the forms sold from Abuja and went ahead to ape the Ileri Oluwa stakeholders that consensus would be used. If he were not to have been procured to do the dirty job, would he not know that consensus is impossible where two forms were obtained for a position? Elegbeleye and cohorts behave like a man without soul as he had to shamelessly lied to cover the obvious holes in his trajectory in carrying out the shady job he did for the Governor and his IleriOluwa group.
“On the day of the Congress, he visited very few select ward collation centres under heavy security escort, making him oblivious to the true situation of things, and reflecting their hiding from the people because of their evil machinations. We, the leaders of TOP, however, moved freely within the state knowing we were the ones doing the right thing. When those who procured him to do evil found out that it wasn’t right that Elegbeleye would go back without touching the party Secretariat, they arranged a structured press conference for him, supposedly to hold by 2pm.
“At the dawn of Sunday, Governor Oyetola’s team had filled the premises of the Secretariat with dangerous weapons wielding thugs who were smoking hemp perpetually.
“The neighbours were disturbed to no ends with the odious scent of the dangerous smoke which they complained about out so loudly but couldn’t get respite. Despite engaging fiercely looking thugs, and the fact that they didn’t have much to say, they deliberately pushed the press conference till about 6pm when Elegbeleye with his committee led by Prince Famodun sauntered into the party Secretariat.
“In just about five minutes, Elegbeleye was done with his rambling, not saying anything other than what is expected of a compromised person. He didn’t entertain any question from journalists who had spent the whole day waiting for a fraudulent man who had to lie to make his shenanigans looks real.
“Our members were not bought with his lies and thus they started preparing for the appeal where they hoped to get justice.
“You will discover that so far, for the Governor and his team, it has been from one failure to the other in the process and procedures. The Waterloo was on the Congress day when massive turnout was in favour of those who identified The Osun Progressives who wanted elections of ward leaders by party members and the scanty members who were forced, for one pecuniary reason or the other, to lined up behind the lies they called consensus.
“The Governor and his group shot themselves in the leg when they defined their consensus to mean returning to office of all current officers. Most party members who had wished to benefit from the new ward executives that were to emerge got disappointed and disillusioned and sought for alternative in The Osun Progressives. So, the scenario on the Congress day was a contest of strength and show of popularity between the TOP and Ileri Oluwa.
“We have gone to this length to show that the Governor and his team have gone far too deep in their game of exclusion and impunity and which certainly cannot end the way they wanted it. And that is why they have resorted to violence. Chief Bisi Akande, our leader, had always insisted that whenever a man fails to have genuine case, they resort to violence. We dare say that the Governor and his group thus chose violence and impunity to either get their way forcefully or get us emasculated.
“We saw this coming and we have been taking the right path of law and order. While The Osun Progressives was rising and getting popular, Governor Oyetola and group’s popularity were nose diving. That’s the path that led to attacks on party members of The Osun Progressives caucus who had thronged the Secretariat to present their appeal to the committee.
“The sheer number of members who were there were intimidating and would drive any rival mad. Expectedly, the Governor and his group went into fits of rage. And they quickly put some of their thugs forward to dislodge the party members who have been calmly going before the Appeal Committee to present their cases. The resolute members resisted the invasion and walked the thugs out. The thugs yielded to awesome number and left in shame. The sitting was going on smoothly and everybody thought reason has prevailed and the worst was over.
“But then, there was this comic relief on the social media where the state Commissioner for information and Civic Orientation posted a scam of a material alleging the Chairman of TOP of bringing thugs to attack the committee members. The picture she put to illustrate showed a person holding Governor Oyetola’s identity cap and you wonder how possible that the person carrying the Governor’s support cap is a member of the committee? On enquiry, the man was in protection of one of the senior thugs when he hits his head against the gate.
“Not quite long after, former Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Sunday Akere came into the premises claiming he had a petition to defend. Akere went in to sit with the panel and never leave until he was challenged after creating some scenes. Not quite long after, the thugs who had returned in multiple numbers forced their way into the premises of the party Secretariat and started massive attacks on the people. The Governor’s people were so entrenched in impunity that their thugs don the Oyetola ‘s identity cap. Some of them had their faces covered with hood.
“It is necessary to note that while the attacks, which was kicked off with gunshot by one of the hooded thugs on, the security men were not doing as much as one would have expected in such situation. While thugs had a field day shooting sporadically and inflicting injuries on the party members, the best the security men was doing was to rescue the few they could get to.
“Obviously the thugs out numbered the security and this called to question the decision of the security heads to put scanty number of men in situation like this. We concede to the security chiefs the expertise to do what they considered the best in any situation but we note that the security could have been a bit tighter than it was when we have had cause to report attempted attacks and assassinations on The Osun Progressives leaders before now. We note peculiarly that once the security men were able to lead the committee members out of the Secretariat, every other party men were left at the mercy of the thugs.
“In pursuit of the viciousness of the Governor’s group impunity, they have commenced in earnest, the attack and assassination attempt we reported. After the Osogbo party Secretariat, they made way to Ile Ife home of Hon. Biyi Odunlade. He was lucky to have left home few minutes before the arrival of the thugs, otherwise, only God could say what would have become of him, taking into consideration the multiple dangerous weapons they stormed his abode with.
“His wife, children and grandchildren were met at home and had to resort to various ways of escapes, leaving trails of injuries and massive destruction to the house. Mrs Odunlade had her groceries shop attached to the house looted and have every other things vandalised.
This is certainly the beginning of the fulfilment of our reported attacks and assassinations by the Governor’s men.
We note that except the 2000/2003 crisis precipitated by a subordinate against his principal in pursuit of vaulting ambition, a Progressive government in this clime has never had it so bad.
“A Progressive government ran for eight years without hugh and cry. At least, the government didn’t exclude any party member from what they deserved, it did not use naked power on members as this government is doing and it didn’t get things done by exposition of impunity. It is surprising that the Oyetola administration has found it easier to make enemies within his own party while the opposition is left to its own devices.
“While the opposition party is working hard to win the 2022 election, the Oyetola’s government is busy excluding his co party members, disuniting his party and making them to regret ever considering him as candidate in the first place and going ahead to make him win election at all cost. Governor Oyetola seems interested in winning second term ticket at all cost and not minding whatever that follows. Well, we live to see the way things go.
“This is even as we at the TOP are determined to pursue this case to its logical conclusion through all known legal and socially rightful means. No matter what Governor Oyetola and group are doing. We are convinced of the fact that impunity has an end. It doesn’t have the capacity to live forever.
“It is on this note that we call on the security chiefs at all levels and of whatever category in the country to prevent bloodshed of the innocent by the evil men who, for selfish reasons want to attack and assassinate our members. We also call on all authorities, especially the Federal Government to see to our cry to preventing bloodshed as been planned by the Governor and faction of the APC. We are calling on the National Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, who is supervising this exercise to take extraordinary interest in Osun matter”.