APC ward congress members held hostage by Osun Governor, forms seized

Party members say they have been 'kidnapped' in a hotel.

Osun state Governor, Gboyega Oyetola. [Twitter/@GboyegaOyetola]

There is palpable fear among members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun, with Governor Gboyega Oyetola allegedly holding officials from the national secretariat of the party, who arrived the state last Saturday, hostage.

APC officials from Abuja are in Osun for the ward congress billed for Saturday, July 31, 2021.

At the time of filing this report, the officials have not been allowed access to Osun APC members, one of the officials on the ground in Osun tells Pulse on condition of anonymity.

The party officials have been put on round-the-clock surveillance and in limbo in a hotel in the state, another source in Osun discloses.

Some chieftains of the APC in Osun allege that the governor is working with Sen. Iyiola Omisore and a faction of the APC in the state, Ileri Oluwa Political Group, to hijack materials meant for the congress.

The governor's communication team was not immediately available for a response to this story.

“Party at the national level sent its officials led by one Abdullahi since last week Saturday to begin sales of forms and preparation for the congress, but since they arrived, they are nowhere to be found.

“Upon further enquiries, sources at the State Government House in Oke Fia revealed to us that the team was initially quartered in the government house on the instruction of the governor, to prevent them from selling the forms at the party secretariat.

“As we speak, the officials are still incommunicado. Many of our members have paid the amount required according to the guidelines and are ready with their tellers.

"However, we are yet to receive our forms or get modalities on when the forms will be given to us and how the congress will be conducted on Saturday,” one aggrieved APC member in Osun fumes.

Reacting to the development, Secretary of The Osun Progressives (TOP) and former Commissioner for Information and Strategy in the State, Adelani Baderinwa, says that the disposition of a faction of the state leadership towards the congress will only deepen the crisis within the party.

“As we speak to you, candidates for the election holding in two days’ time are yet to get the forms from the Abuja team. We haven’t seen them. They haven’t addressed the stakeholders.

“We call on the leadership of the party to intervene in this situation and call the governor and the state chairman to allow the forms to be sold by the people the national secretariat has given the power to sell them,” Baderinwa says.

Secretary of the APC in Osun, Rasak Salinsile, accuses the state party chairman of personalising the affairs of the party.

He also alleges that he has not been carried along by the party in recent times.

“The constitution of the party states that there are three ways through which you can elect candidates: The first one is consensus, the second is direct primary and the third one is indirect primary-–delegate system.

“By my understanding, consensus means agreement. If that is correct, stakeholders have to be invited to discuss it and take a common position.

"But in this instance, in spite of the fact that I am the State Secretary of Osun APC, nobody ever informed me or discussed with me on anything consensus.

“I was telling the Chairman of the party, Prince Gboyega Famodun, that this is not how to go about it and that they have gone the wrong way on this issue.

"If we are going for consensus, we have a list of stakeholders of APC in Osun, they should have called those stakeholders to sit down and deliberate on whatever we want to do.

“In each federal constituency, they selected some people who are substantially members of the governor's group, Ileri Oluwa, to the extent that myself as the State Secretary of the party was not carried along and anybody that is not a member of Ileri Oluwa was not consulted or invited. Where is the consensus here? I told him it can never fly," Salinsile says.

Reacting to claims by members of the party, the Director of Publicity of the APC in Osun, Kunle Oyatomi, who is loyal to the party chairman and the governor, says members of the Osun Progressives are out to frustrate the party’s effort to deploy the consensus option.

"The allegation that the caretaker Chairman, Prince Gboyega Famodun and the governor of the state manipulated the membership register is unfounded, baseless and a deliberate attempt to tarnish the image of a performing governor.

"Members of the TOP are monsters who could go the extra mile in achieving their ulterior motives.

"This could be discerned from the way and manner they have painted the leadership of the party,” Famodun says.

Oyetola, 66, succeeded Rauf Aregbesola as Osun Governor in 2018.

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