.Embattled Governor Considers Next Move
.As State APM Postpones Campaign Flag-Off
.Oshiomhole Stabbed Me In The Back — Minister
.Asks APC To Seek Restitution, Not Reconciliation
Temidayo Akinsuyi and Tony Ezimakor
Lagos / Abuja – Details of President Muhammadu Buhari’s meeting with Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State on Monday emerged on Wednesday as sources said the president gave the embattled governor a stern warning to desist from anti-party activity in the state, Daily Independent has learnt.
It was gathered that the president, who frowned at the governor’s statement that while he will support him for the presidential election, he will not support the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Dapo Abiodun, also warned the governor that they cannot afford to lose Ogun State because it is the home state of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Without mincing words, he told the governor that he expected total loyalty from him to the APC, adding that he should learn to sacrifice his personal desires in the interest of the party.
Amosun’s preferred candidate for governor in the state’s governorship primaries, Adekunle Akinlade, has since left the APC, having defected to the Allied People’s Movement (APM), a move Governor Amosun endorsed.
Aside Akinlade, other loyalists to the governor also dumped the APC.
According to our source, “From the feelers we got, the president did not mince words in telling Governor Amosun that as the national leader of the party, he will not support any form of anti-party activities. He told the governor that he cannot put one leg in APC by saying he will support him, while putting another leg in APM declaring support for another governorship candidate.
“The president told him he cannot claim to be working for the APC while all his foot soldiers have left for the APM and the governor also gave them maximum support.
“From what we are getting, this is the president’s final warning to Governor Amosun as the party’s campaign will kick off soon. Don’t also forget that the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) has since penciled down the governor for punishment after rebuffing the reconciliation meeting set up to reconcile aggrieved members”.
Since the governor returned to Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, the euphoria trailing the movement to APM has died down. The leadership of the APM has also postponed its campaign flag off which was scheduled to hold today.
A message sighted by our correspondent from the party leadership to party members reads, “The official flag off of our great party would not hold tomorrow (today) as earlier promised due to some contingencies as work is ongoing in the secretariat. Please bear with us and update others”.
Another source said the governor who is a close ally of President Buhari is now in a dilemma as to whether to remain in APC or join his loyalists in the APM while jettisoning his senatorial ambition.
“I believe the governor is in a dilemma now and we expect him to make a very important decision in the coming days”, he said.
It was gathered that the governor’s associates who are the major backers of the APM may have decided to postpone the meeting so as to deliberate on the next move following the governor’s meeting with the president.
While the governor’s next move is unknown, Dapo Abiodun, the APC governorship candidate, has expressed confidence that Amosun will support his candidacy at the start of the party’s campaign.
“Of course, the governor of Ogun State is the leader of the party. And when I am flagging off my campaign, it is the incumbent governor that would help me flag it off.
“I don’t have any doubt in my mind that the issues of misunderstanding would be resolved soon.
“I am sure the governor of Ogun State will help me in flagging off my campaign. And I am sure he will raise my hands up as the governorship standard bearer of the party in the state.”
Oshiomhole Stabbed Me In The Back – Shittu
Meanwhile, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has opened up on the lingering crisis that trailed the primaries of the party, stating emphatically that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the party, stabbed him in the back.
He claimed that he was the first person two years ago to suggest to President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint Oshiomhole, whom he described as “former friend” as his Political Adviser but regretted the manner he was paid back by the APC national chairman.
Alhaji Shittu, who is court to secure his claim to the governorship ticket of the party in Oyo State, also dismissed as hypocritical the ongoing reconciliation of aggrieved members of the ruling party, describing it as slavish coercion.
Rather than seek reconciliation, he said, what the APC leadership should seek was restitution and justice for all aggrieved members by retiring what was stolen from them.
Recall that the party had, in the wake of the crisis that gripped it at state and national levels, set up a Peace and Reconciliation Committee that went to the various geopolitical zones. Some of the committees have submitted their reports.
But Alhaji Shittu said he would be “a bastard” if he submitted to such a committee after he was glaringly defrauded by the APC NWC.
He said the Oyo State governorship ticket was sold and paid for by persons he said had made money through shady means.
Asked if he would appear before the Governor Kashim Shettima-led reconciliation committee for the South-West, Shittu said he would pursue the alleged trading that went on during the APC primary in Oyo State to a logical conclusion.
He said: “I will be a bastard to be defrauded out of a primary process and still behave like I am a slave. I think it does not make sense.
“I have been a foundation member of APC and twice I have run the primary for governor.
“In 2011, I aspired. I was defeated by the incumbent. In 2015, I aspired, I was defrauded, and I challenged that primary that gave Governor Ajimobi a second term.
“I went to court, and I was still in court when my appointment as minister was announced.
“That meant I had to abandon that suit, but the governor, instead of thanking his God that I did not continue with that suit, sponsored a campaign to stop my confirmation.”
Alhaji Shittu claimed that Oshiomhole did the bidding of Ajimobi in foisting a newcomer on Oyo State APC and vowed to resist the ‘anti-party’ threats being dangled by the APC leadership.
“They foisted somebody who is barely two months on the party. Of course, at my level, you cannot expect me to support that person.
“I have given enough warning. Now they are talking of reconciliation. I have said this, that before you talk of reconciliation, you first talk of restitution.
“If you violate somebody’s right or you steal somebody’s property or whatever, instead of returning what you have stolen, you are talking of reconciliation,” he said, insisting that only justice would restore peace in the party.
Asked if his stand would not affect the second term bid of President Buhari, Alhaji Shittu said Buhari’s victory would transcend party affiliation, adding that even people in the opposition PDP would vote for him.