There was mild drama at the Oyo State secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday, when angry members of the party pelted the National Chairman, Abdullahi Ganduje and his entourage, who were on a visit with sachets of pure water over alleged marginalisation and ill-treatment meted to the chapter.
Before the drama, Ganduje had assured the party faithful that APC would restructure itself right from the ward to local government, state and federal level for it to attract more members.
Ganduje, who first visited the palace of Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Lekan Balogun, thereafter proceeded on a private visit to the Ibadan residence of Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, where the incumbent governor is recuperating following his return from a three months medical trip from Germany.
Ganduje said he appreciated the Oyo chapter for the job well done during the last general elections, which according to him resulted in the victory of President Bola Tinubu.
The visit somehow turned sour, as some aggrieved members of the party protested what it described as APC national body working against their governorship candidate, Senator Teslim Folarin, in the March 18 gubernatorial poll.
The protesters started shouting the name of Folarin and were simultaneously pelting sachets of water at Ganduje and his entourage, which included the National Vice Chairman, Southwest, Isaac Kekemeke; Ayo Afolabi, former Minister of Communication, Bayo Shittu among others, as they were about leaving the party secretariat.
It was gathered that part of their grievances was President Tinubu’s choice of not picking a member of the party as minister, but decided to appoint Mr. Bayo Adelabu, who was the gubernatorial candidate of Accord Party in the last election. They lamented that up till now, Adelabu, who was given the works ministry, is yet to return to APC.
They booed Ganduje, saying the National Working Committee (NWC) has practically destroyed the Oyo chapter as a result of its continuous romance with Governor Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). It was also alleged that the Oyo State government on the governor’s directive, provided all the logistics, security, vehicles among others for Ganduje and his entourage.
In his remarks, the Oyo APC chairman, Isaac Omodewu, expressed displeasure that the state chapter is yet to be duly compensated for the work it did for the emergence of President Tinubu in the last election.
He said: “As events that heralded the last general elections are still fresh in our memory, we must inform you that Oyo APC remains an unsung hero because we got little support but we delivered beyond expectations. In spite of the fact that we had no sitting governor in Oyo, electioneering was quite challenging as we had to face a lot of hostilities from the PDP government in the state. All these attacks were documented and reported but unfortunately, the same people behind the attacks are now the one laying claim to our hard-earned victory at the February 25 presidential poll.”
Responding, Ganduje appealed to all conflicting factions and stakeholders within the state to set aside their differences and prioritise peace for the success of the party. He acknowledged the internal crisis within the party, emphasizing that the party’s national leadership is well aware of the situation and is advocating for unity to strengthen the party.
While recognising the dedicated efforts of party members in securing victory during the last presidential election, he emphasised the importance of unity moving forward.