THE game is continuity, as the political class in the pacesetter state scheme and manoeuvre amidst suspicion and skin deep intrigues. Politics of preservation manifests in Oyo State, as political gladiators realign to protect and further hiding interests.
Political barriers were broken; politicians were united. Very recently, the Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi held a meeting with his predecessor, Adebayo Alao Akala and the former senate leader, Teslim Folarin at Alao Akala’s residence in London.
No doubt, the meeting which served as a political realignment ahead of 2019 election in the state has yielded positive fruit.
Also, the Executive Assistant to Governor Abiola Ajimobi on Political Matters, Dr. Morohunkola Thomas has described the arrival of these bigwigs from other political parties as part of the governor’s overhaul strategy, a strategy of accommodation and ability to headhunt skillful strikers.
With the array of political bigwigs that have joined APC, Dr. Thomas, in a chat with Mega Icon Magazine while analysing political permutations asserted that the party (APC) has been repositioned to win future elections. Excerpts
With the influx of some political bigwigs into the APC in Oyo state, of what importance do you think this will have on the party especially as 2019 election beckons?
Well, 2019 is quite far because we are still in 2017 and I do know that electoral contest is a short distance race. We are very busy with governance. Although, on a daily basis we are strategizing with regards, not just to the general elections but to the coming local government elections that will certainly take place in Oyo state.
Regards arrival of some bigwigs from other political parties, I think its part of our overhaul strategy, a strategy of accommodation, a strategy of enlarging our scope, a strategy of our being broadminded and our ability to headhunt skillful strikers and people that are also good in defence. We are bringing them on board and these are people that have done very well in terms of electoral contests in the past. They are not people who came into office on the basis of sentiments or some spiritual helps so to say.
They are people that have demonstrated their worth in the political space in recent past in the state. For us, it shows that we are team like Manchester United or Manchester City that is ever looking forward to winning. Our goal is to develop Oyo State and at the same time looking for allies who believe in our philosophy, who believe in our principles, and who can work with us to make sure that we are the dominant force in Oyo state.
We are very conscious of the existence of an ultrawin conservative elements in group in Oyo state as represented by the leader of Accord. They don’t look at anything positively, very negative in their approaches, very deceitful and they have never undertaken policies in favour of the people in the past when you x-ray their performances in government. The people that are coming on board now are people that people speak well of their glorious days. So, we cleverly search for people that can buy into our philosophy so that we can remain the dominant political force in the state.
If you look at it now, in the last elections in Ibadan less city, we won only in two local governments – Oluyole and Ido. We are now bringing in Teslim Folarin who is from that area so that we can do better in that place. And Teslim Folarin has followers in many of the local governments in Oyo state. If you look at Ogbomoso, we have never done too well in all our electoral appearances, so former governor Akala has come on board very strongly.
If Ogbomoso is secured and we can still have our strong hold in Oke -Ogun, Ibadan votes, we will split it. That means that we will carry the day. We don’t run our elections based on sentiments but purely scientific and we are constantly doing our studies. We know where we are weak, we know where we are strong. Where we are weak, we are trying to get people to come on board and be with us.
But, these people are coming with various ambitions.
Every politician is ambitious and the major ambition of any politician is to seize power, to get hold of power so that he can use that power to execute his programmes. So, every politician has a reason for being in politics. You just don’t get into politics for nothing. If they are coming with ambitions, may be they want to be governor, senators, strong members, executive members of the party, it is legitimate.
In the old ACN, people like us joined and because of our backgrounds we got our ways. So, it is also legitimate for people to come. A number of ex-PDP elements joined in forming the APC, people like Kwankwaso, Rotimi Ameachi, Bukola Saraki. They all came with ambitions and some people scaled through with their ambitions and some didn’t. The ambition of the founding fathers of the APC is to form a coalition between the North and the Southwest for the purpose of getting to power because we found out that no single region of the country can get power on its own. So, if these people come into the APC in Oyo State with ambitions, they are free to pursue it legitimately, if they get through, fine, if they don’t get through there are machineries in the party that is organized not in the same way with the PDP.
If you don’t get it, you don’t get it, you wait for another time . Here we have some people who didn’t scaled through with their ambitions, they are accommodated elsewhere.
Some of these celebrated politicians were elements that led to the destruction of PDP in Oyo state. Are you sure their coming would not also contaminate the APC?
In the case of destruction of PDP, the PDP has a different history. The PDP was unfortunate to have a man whose intellectual credibility is questioned as its national leader at that time. When Obasanjo was the leader of the PDP, the then PDP didn’t suffered this destruction in spite of the third term agenda. As soon as Jonathan came, we see what happened. Any organization that is run on the basis of laissez-faire leadership will go into extinction like PDP, they are just gathering the pieces.
I can tell you, even among them, those of them that have not shown their faces now are still coming on board.
It would be recalled that scarcity of cards hits Oyo PDP one day after membership registration began. Are you not threatened with the encouraging registration enjoyed by the PDP?
How can we be threatened? We have about close to 700,000 members of APC in Oyo State, so what can 200,000 do? In Ibadan Northwest/Southwest alone APC is looking about over 70,000 members in the two local governments. Now with the coming of Alao Akala, Teslim Folarin, coming of Taofeek Arapaja and their members, I can tell you that we are going to have over 1million members of the APC.
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