THE NATION REPORTERS reports that the former Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has reacted to the suspension and expulsion of his loyalists by the leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Osun State.
Recall that the crisis rocking the party climaxed on Wednesday and Thursday with the suspension of two former chairmen of the party, former speaker of the house of assembly and other loyalists of Aregbesola.
In a statement signed by the Chairman of APC, Sooko Tajudeen Lawal, yesterday, the party claimed that the leaders were suspended for anti-party activities.
Leading the list of the APC leaders suspended are Alhaji Moshood Adeoti who was chairman of Alliance for Democracy, Action Congress and Action Congress of Nigeria between 2003 and 2011, Elder Lowo Adebiyi, pioneer chairman of APC in the state, the immediate past Deputy Chairman of the party, Alhaji Azeez Adesiji.
Also suspended are ex-Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Najeem Salaam, former National Assembly members, Senator Mudasiru Hussein and Hon. Rasheed Afolabi, immediate past Deputy Chief Whip of assembly, Hon. Abidemi Ogunkanmi, ex-chairman, House Committee on Local Government, Hon. Wasiu Adebayo, former state lawmakers, Hon. Adenike Abioye, Hon. MBO Ibrahim and Hon. Israel Oyekunle.
Other loyalists of Aregbesola suspended by the APC are: Messrs. Adelani Baderinwa, Sikiru Ayedun, Kunle Ige, Biodun Agboola, Rasheed Opatola, Akeem Olaoye, Segun Olanibi, Tunde Ajilore, Ganiyu Ismaila Opeyemi, Zakariah Khalid, Engr. Kazeem Salami, Barr. Gbenga Akano, Barr. Gbenga Awosode, Francis Famurewa and Tajudeen Famuyide.
Lawal had on Wednesday announced the expulsion of former secretary of the party, Hon. Rasaq Salinsile together with 83 others, including the current Commissioner for Political Affairs, Dr. Biyi Odunlade and Special Adviser to the Governor on Children Affairs, Alhaja Temilade Olokungboye.
Reacting to this while speaking with OSUN DEFENDER TV on Saturday evening, Aregbesola said, “We must equally realize that very few political leaders generate the enthusiasm we generate whenever we move in any part of the state. I am not bragging about it. I am using it to thank God. I am using it to draw attention of people that there is something important about our personality. So for those who are therefore not happy with that, they are fighting God. What is good for me is just to be quiet about them. I don’t have any response to them. Because it is what we railed in 2000 which by their own attitude rejected on them that bring down ultimately. What happen in 2020 to 2001, Is the fact that having learnt that lesson, we use in different approach.
“Go and read my statement that I made both in Yoruba and English, we are cleared. How many of them are even with us when we began this? I don’t want to mention name. How many of them were there when we began in 2004. People have forgotten that there was no progressive party any more here by the time we came in 2004. So what is my business with people who are just crying, when there is no need for it. What they should do is to embrace us. People have forgotten that by 2002 December, we told the whole world that the humiliation we suffered at the poll in July 2022, was to know that we should all come together on a unified campaign platform to revenge the calamity of a repeat. Were we listen to? No. We were labelled, we were castigated and condemned. So the issue is not about us, but the difference now, between what we have said before and now, we want accomodation of all, but if those who think they know it all or they have it all agree, we are ready to work with anybody because progressive tradition is natural to us, we can’t do otherwise.
“As to whether some people work for, let me repeat myself, after you might have become victory in any state, you are no longer the governor of the party, you are the governor of the state. That’s the meaning of democracy. People confidently forget that all people political parties are usually less than 10% of the electorate. No one, all parties combined, do not have more than 10% of the population of the electorate. So popular election are not party elections, party only present candidate and work for their candidate. Those who vote for or against the party are general public. They are electorates. Being the governor of a state therefore, made me a public figure. There are those who don’t belong to party that are my favorites, just I have people among them who do not like me. There are people in my party who prefer me to others no matter what, there are those who will not want me. It is normal. So how do I therefore, what power do I have, to manipulate the mind of adults when democracy is about choice. Democracy is about a father not being able to force his children who are adults on who to vote for. A husband can not force his wife and a wife can not force her husband.
“So why should the choice of anybody be my own problem? I can’t understand. It tells you the mindset of those you are dealing with. They don’t even understand democracy and what its means. Politics is contest and competition for power. The duty of a politician is to mobilize people to accept his own agenda. It is not in democratic and political activities to pregenhole. No. You don’t discriminate. You must get people around you.”
While speaking on his next action, he said, “So what we have settled is to use out charisma, our God’s living grace and talent to mobilize maximally for our party. I want to assure you by the grace of God, it is almost certain, that we are taking over the state.”
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