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How Awolowo, Akintola Destroyed Action Group | By Idowu Ayodele

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Awolowo and Akintola (filed photo)

NIGERIA has witnessed a number of political crisis since independence, such as the Action Group crisis of 1962, the census crisis of 1962/63, the civil war of 1966-1970, the Federal election crisis of 1964/1965 amongst others.

In 1945, a group of Nigerian Students who were by the time studying in Britain came together to form a Yoruba socio- cultural group named ‘Egbe Omo Oduduwa’. However, in 1951, led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the party was formed and Christened ‘Action Group’, AG. Other members of the party were Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola, Chief Sonibare, Sir Adesoji Aderemi and Chief Bode Thomas. It is believed that the Egbe Omo Oduduwa metamorphosed into the Action Group.

Chief Awolowo later became the Premier of the Western Region on the platform of the party until 1955 when he moved to the central to become the official opposition leader of the parliament. The main objectives of the Action Group Party, AG were among others to bring and organize within its fold, all nationalists in the Western Region, so that they may work together as a united party, and submit themselves to party loyalty and discipline. Also, to prepare and present to the public programs for all departments of government, and to strive faithfully to ensure the effectuation of such programs through those of its members that are elected into the Western House of Assembly and Federal Legislature.

The Action Group which was the party in government in the Western Region was plunged into serious crisis early in 1962 over a number of irreconcilable differences between the leader of the party, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his deputy, Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola who by then was the Premier of the region after Awolowo had assumed the position of the leader of the opposition at the federal level. Unfortunately, in 1959, Awolowo failed in the federal election and his ambition to become the prime minister was frustrated . While he was still nursing this anger, the prime minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa requested him to form government of national unity which he turned down.

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The reluctance of Chief Awolowo to support his deputy, Akintola as the Premier of Western Region when he was made the leader of opposition in the Federal House of Representatives in Lagos, also ignited the crisis as  the newly appointed Premier, took independent decisions without consulting his leader who was then at the center as leader of opposition. Akintola and some others supported the move to join the ruling Northern People’s Congress, NPC, to form a government of national unity which did not go down well with Chief Awolowo.

Another circumstance that threatened the existence of the then  Action Group, (AG) was the adoption of Democratic socialism as its ideology  which was also not well received by the premier of western region, Akintola.

It is interesting to note that intra-party disagreement and mutual suspicious were the remote causes of this crisis. The intolerance within the rank and file of the leaders that later spread to other members of the party. The accusation and counter accusation of the leaders clearly revealed a deep seated hatred they had for each other.

In a related development, the Action Group’s leader, Awolowo had allegedly instructed the Premier of the Western Region, Akintola to refer important matters to him before any action was taken. This was considered to be an undue interference in the office of the Premier. Similarly, Awolowo had earlier suggested a nation-wide political campaign to create sufficient awareness for the electoral preparatory to the Federal Elections of 1964, but turned down by his deputy, Akintola who wanted the campaign to be restricted to Western Region alone. This increased the suspicion between the two leaders and Chief Awolowo believed that his deputy wanted to overthrow him as the leader of the party.

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The ideological disparity between the two leaders could be likened to the event of Cold War when the United States of America led the West, and the East controlled by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic, this was indeed a great challenge which Awolowo and Akintola failed to resolve.

However, the crisis brew open at the party’s Annual National Congress held on 2nd February, 1962 in Jos, when the Premier of the Western Region, Akintola and a few of his ministers failed to attend. The party broke into two factions, Chief Akintola and others having charged with anti party activities was advised to resign which he refused to and was consequently sacked by the Governor of the Region, Oba Adesoji Aderemi and replaced by Alhaji Dauda Adegbenro as the new Premier. Chief Akintola did not stop there, he went to court to challenge his removal as the Premier of Western Region.

When the newly appointed Premier convened the meeting of the House of Assembly, fracas broke out and the mace, a symbol of authority was destroyed. Thereafter, the police was called to maintain order and lock up the House of Assembly. Violence ensued between the two factions (Awolowo and Akintola’s loyalists) and there was widespread killings and burning of houses. The federal government, for the first time in the history of the provisions of the constitution invoked the emergency powers and declared a state of emergency in the Western Region. By the time the state of emergency was lifted after six months, Chief Awolowo, other Action Group leaders and their aides were jailed for treason.

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After the collapse of Action Group, AG, Chief Akintola later formed the Nigerian National Democratic Party, NNDP. It should be noted that the crisis weakened the power of the opposition in the House of Representatives and made mockery of the parliamentary system of government. This portends that our political leaders cannot tolerate the opposing views of their colleagues. This crisis led to series of events and subsequently in the country before the military took over in 1966.

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Politics

Oyo 2019 governorship elections, a failed project for Adelabu?

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It is no news that the  horse race to Agodi Government House in Oyo State has come and gone, electorates have decided, while every political gladiators are nursing their wounds.

Today, Governor Oluseyi Abiodun Makinde (GSM)  of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is the landlord of the Agodi Government House for the next three (3) years, and his party members, presently control the Oyo State House Of Assembly with the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Action Democratic Party, (ADP) forming the opposition.

Interestingly, the residents of the state in their numbers were busy accessing the performance of Governor Seyi Makinde in the last 12 months based on the pyramid of success ladder, while some were still in euphoria rejoicing at cooling spots to celebrate his victory.

With the help of the coalition arrangement midwived by a former governor of the state, Senator Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja, the beneficiary of the arrangement, Engr. Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) polled 515, 621 votes to defeat his closest rival, Oloye Adebayo Adelabu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who secured 357,982 votes.

Meanwhile, the  three governorship candidates that sacrificed their ambitions for Govrrnor Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), are Senator Olufemi Lanlehin of Action Democratic Congress (ADC), Barrister Sharafadeen Alli of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) and Chief Bolaji Ayorinde of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) . These political gladiators in the state aimed at forming a government of national unity; unfortunately, the agreement was breached and the coalition went sour.

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With this revelation, did Adebayo Adelabu feels that he had failed? The answer is NO, according to political pundits. As a new entrant into politics, his performance at the poll was commendable and it beams ray of hope of a better political future ;if some measures are put in place.

Our  investigations revealed that the progressive party in Oyo state, even when the late governor and the leader of the progressives, Alhaji Onaolapo Lamidi Adesina led the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in 2011, the party’s guber nominee, late Sen. Abiola Ajimobi defeated the then incumbent governor, Otunba Alao Akala of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by securing 420, 852 against 387, 132.

In a related development, in 2015, late Abiola Ajimobi became the ‘Koseleri of Oyo state’ under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) by breaking the second term jinx. He polled 327,310, to defeat his brother, former governor  Ladoja of the Accord Party scored 254,520 and others.

Considering these figures, it is obvious that Oloye Adebayo Adelabu performed extremely well in the last election, a feat he achieved through members of the progressives in the state who supported his ambition. This political calculation and permutation signify that the Obafemi Awolowo University trained accountant appeared to have an edge, but needs to improve on his relationship skills as a prominent political figure in the state.

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According to the pundits, Adelabu must work on the politics of the ‘Gate Keepers ‘ and that of the Critical Success Factor’ (CSF) to accomplish his political ambition.

Oyo state housed Muslims, Christians and traditional worshipers, thus the need for proper religious identity in regards of governorship election.

People believed that Oloye Bayo Adelabu was a converted Christian, until the ‘sudden’ addition of ‘Abdulwaheed’ to his name.

The Muslims in the state observed that being a Muslim transcends mere name bearing. They insisted the community would be more pleased if Adelabu can take further practical steps to prove that he is really a Muslim.

No doubt, Adelabu is stylish, intelligent, strategic and has brilliant ideas toward Oyo state development, but needs to intensify efforts on these grey areas. By 2023, it is predicted that the party’s primary would be an interesting one as political juggernauts in the state surreptitiously expressed interests.

However, only time will tell.

 

Idowu Ayodele

Political Desk,

Mega Icon Magazine 

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2023: APC to embark on fresh membership registration as Oyo Unity Forum returns

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Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has resolved to carry out a fresh registration of party members which is expected to usher in a new leadership for the party as the break-away faction of the party in Oyo State – ‘The Unity Forum’, agreed to give peace a chance by returning into the fold of the mainstream APC.

It was also resolved that the party will soon hold congresses to elect new executives in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory and; thereafter hold a convention latest by January 2021, adding that this will afford the party ample time to sufficiently resolve political issues that might arise before 2023.

The leadership of the splinter group- Unity Forum who disclosed this on Thursday at a stakeholders meeting held at Premier Hotel, Ibadan also urged their supporters and other members of the party to see themselves as one, emphasizing that the need to come together is necessary to reclaim the Agodi Government House.

The meeting had in attendance Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Professor Adeolu Akande, former Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, Senators Olufemi Lanlehin, Adesoji Akanbi, Ayo Adeseun and Alhaji Abu Gbadamosi .

Others included Chief Goke Oyetunji, Barrister Niyi Akintola, Alhaji Fatal Ibikunle, Honourables Saheed Fijabi, Bosun Oladele and Sunbo Olugbemi.

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Representatives of the forum, Senators Ayo Adeseun, Olufemi Lanlehin and former Minister of Communications, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu who were at the various reconciliation meetings in Abuja gave account of the meetings with the National Reconciliation Committee. They enjoined all members of the APC to shun any action that could derail the peace initiative in the party.

Contained in the communiqué jointly signed by the Chairman and Secretary of the Communique Drafting  Committee, Alhaji Waheed Olajide and Professor Adeolu Akande respectively, the chieftains explained that all contentious issues within the party have been examined and resolved , urging members to work for the unity of the party.

The communiqué read, “members of the APC in Oyo State were implored to resolve their differences and work for the unity of the party.

“All contentious issues that led to the crisis in the party were examined and addressed.

“The members were informed that there would soon be fresh registration of all members at a date to be announced.

“They were informed that the party will soon hold congresses to elect new executives in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

” The party will thereafter hold a convention latest by January 2021.

“The two groups that attended the meeting with the committee were directed to nominate three (3) members each that will oversee the fresh registration of all members with the executive committee of the party.

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“Another meeting of selected leaders and representatives of stakeholders in the party in Oyo State is scheduled to hold in Ibadan on Sunday September 20.2020. It will be hosted by Dr Kayode Fayemi, the Governor of Ekiti State”, the report continued.

The stakeholders deliberated over the communiqué and accepted all the proposals.

They, however mandated the representatives to the Abuja meetings to select the three members that will work with others on the fresh registration of members.

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Edo Decides: Voters Choice Will Be Respected, Says INEC

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The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, on Tuesday informed that the electoral body is committed to conducting free, fair and credible election in Edo State.

Speaking during a Peace Accord organised by the National Peace Committee in Benin, the INEC chief maintained that the commission remains neutral, assuring  that the choice of Edo voters will be respected in the election.

He said, “I wish to assure you of INEC’s commitment to credible elections. The votes will count. The people of Edo State will determine who becomes their next governor.  Their choice will be upheld.

“Let me also reassure you and the voters in Edo State of the commission’s neutrality. I call on all political parties and their candidates to abide by the letter and spirit of the peace accord”.

Yakubu further asked political candidates to allow the signed Peace Accord serve as a covenant with the people of the state.

He wants them to maintain peace before, during and after the September 19 election to avoid bloodshed.

His remarks came 24 hours after he reiterated the commission’s readiness to smoothly conduct the election.

Yakubu who spoke during a stakeholders’ meeting in Benin City, stressed that INEC will not undermine the integrity of the electoral process.

“The Commission shall not take any action to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate. Our focus is on our processes and procedures, nothing more”.

Yakubu added that the commission has recruited, trained and carefully screened all categories of ad hoc staff to be deployed to the field.

He also revealed that sensitive and non-sensitive materials for the election have been delivered in the state, noting that voter education and sensitisation are ongoing.

“We have made arrangements for the movement of personnel and materials to all polling units on election day.

“The Commission has taken every step and made every arrangement for the election holding this weekend.”

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