2019 Election: S’West APC kick-starts the debate - The No.1 Infotainment blog

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Friday, 20 October 2017

2019 Election: S’West APC kick-starts the debate



When they had another stakeholders meeting last week after the one held in January at the same Agodi Government Secretariat, Ibadan, Oyo State, hosted by Senator Abiola Ajimobi, South-West chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) opened a new vista of discourse on the future of the party as regards the 2019 presidential election.
The pronouncement by Chief Bisi Akande, ex-Osun State governor, who chaired the meeting that the South-West leaders of the party did not welcome the idea of sole candidacy and endorsement of President Muhammadu Buhari, and that the zone would be ready to support anybody, who indicates interest and is found qualified for the election, has continued to generate reactions from loyalists of the President, who are angling to have him return for a second term. Also on the front burner was the resolve of the party chieftains to retain Osun State as well as win back Ekiti State from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in next year’s governorship elections in the two states.
The meeting had in attendance who-is-who in the party in the South-West led by APC National Vice Chairman (South-West), Chief Pius Akinyelure. The meeting was attended by Governors Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun) and Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (Ondo); former Governors Olusegun Osoba (Ogun), Adeniyi Adebayo (Ekiti), Olagunsoye Oyinlola (Osun), Adebayo Alao-Akala (Oyo) and Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi. Others were Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Lasun Yusuff; Minister of Communications, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu; Senate Chief Whip, Senator Sola Adeyeye and Leader, House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, among others. National Leader of the party and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, was unavoidably absent, while Chief Akande announced that the APC Deputy National Chairman (South), Engr. Segun Oni; Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and Minister of Works, Housing and Power, Babatunde Fashola, would have been present but for various national assignments they had.
Having cleared the air on the absence of some of the stakeholders which he said was not due to alleged disunity within the fold, Akande, who spoke on behalf of others, disclosed that a review of the January meeting on whether the efforts of the party’s leaders in government had been fruitful showed positive results.


“We are happy that our governors and ministers are performing satisfactorily,” he said. Fielding questions from reporters after the meeting on whether the zone would adopt Buhari for the 2019 presidential election, Akande said: “He has not told us that. Anybody in our party is free to become the president of Nigeria as long as they indicate interest. We will set a process through which a candidate will be selected.
If he is lucky to have the ticket, then we will have no other thing to do than to present him as our candidate.” But, his declaration to which all other stakeholders kept sealed lips on, has generated some heat among many other stakeholders outside the zone, who said that President Buhari has the right to a second term.
Akande also used the occasion to distance the APC from the vociferous call for restructuring of the country, saying: “Restructuring is not our language. Go and ask those who are advocating restructuring to define it. What I told you just now is devolution of functions, from the centre to the peripheral government: the states and the local governments. Restructuring is a language of other bodies and groups of people. You can always direct your questions to them on what they mean by restructuring; whether restructuring in economy or in politics or whatever.
Go and ask the advocates of restructuring what they mean by restructuring. That is not in the APC manifesto or constitution.” In his opening remark, Governor Ajimobi, who harped on the “change” mantra of the APC said: “Our meeting today presents a veritable ground for us to reconnect with our political root and keep reengaging ourselves as people whom nature has entrusted with the political leadership of the region at this material time. Similarly, it is a reconnect to the ideals that are germane to the progress of our people and, by extension, to the growth and development of Nigeria.
“It is imperative for us, as we approach the third year of our tenure at the federal and state levels, to engage in some introspection to identify what could have been done differently, and if necessary, go back to the drawing board to proffer agreeable methods on the way forward, with our people as the ultimate beneficiaries. “Let me state here that as leaders, it is incumbent on us to brainstorm and forge a unity of purpose, which will be beneficial to the people, who have put us into these leadership positions.
Our past leaders, wherever they found themselves, used to exhibit such attributes as vision, determination, selflessness, courage, steadfastness and passion for the emancipation of their people. We must, therefore, renew our resolve to re-enact these qualities in order to bring back the lost glory of our region and re-position it for our people in order that they may enjoy the full benefits of entrusting our party with their destinies.”
Appraising the performance of the party in the South-West, Ajimobi said: “We in the South-West today need to rediscover ourselves and the common bond that ties us together as a people, and let it work for the development of our people in the region.
We must be ready and prepared to sacrifice our self interests and ambitions for the common goals and speak with one voice at all times as we confront the developmental challenges facing the South- West region and our people. It will definitely not be in our overall best interest to work at cross purposes.
“Today, we must reaffirm that the greatness of our region in the past was not just because of our education or infrastructure alone, but primarily because we were known as selfless, forthright, accommodating and, above all, equitable and fair people. If, in the past years, politics had been allowed to take that away from us, we must commit ourselves to bringing back those values and resolve that never again are we going to allow mundane things to rob us of the progressive character and vibrancy for which we were renowned. It should never be about ‘me’ but always about ‘us’ a people.
“Besides, we should realise that we owe a lot to the President and Commander-in-Chief, Muhammadu Buhari, whose major preoccupation, since assumption of power, has been how to meet the basic needs of the ordinary citizen and make life comfortable for him.
I can attest to the fact that as a party, we have achieved a lot for this region in the last two and half years. It is these achievements that we should celebrate. We must also not forget to showcase what we have done or what we are doing to create a region that will be the envy of others.”

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