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Osun 2026 election: Big wigs’ defection fuels APC’s confidence to return to power

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…Oyetola, Basiru, Omisore welcomes Babayemi, Oyedokun, thousands of PDP to APC fold

By Ismail Azeez, Osogbo

All the roads leading to the Secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Osun State chapter, were on Friday 17th May 2024, jampacked by thousands of the members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the State, who decided to pitch their tent with the main opposition party, APC fueling the confidence of the opposition leaders ahead of the 2026 elections.

Over six hours residents of Owo-Ede suburb of the country home of Governor Ademola Adeleke find it difficult to get to their various businesses, especially those who are plying Osogbo Gbongan road.

The former PDP gubernatorial aspirant in the 2022 Osun governorship election, Prince Dotun Babayemi and former National Deputy Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Shuaibu Oyedokun and their supporters defected to the APC.

Addressing the mammoth crowd populated by his supporters at the APC State Secretariat on Friday in Osogbo, Prince Babayemi affirmed their readiness and commitment to work relentlessly with members of the party to dislodge the incumbent Governor Ademola Adeleke in the next governorship election in the state.

He said their defection to the opposition party was based on personal and collective conviction to work in unison with the progressive minds towards  building a virile and vibrant party to oust out the incumbent government come 2026.

He said: “I have said a lot about our defection, and I won’t say much today. As you all know, good governance in Osun stopped in 2022 immediately the former Governor Adegboyega Oyetola left power. It is obvious that since then, the people of Osun have not been experiencing good governance. What we have today are political interlopers and usurpers.

“So, we are coming home today to work together with leaders and members of the APC in Osun and beyond to record more electoral successes and victories in the future elections. We will work tirelessly to take power from the PDP come 2026.

“We commend President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his great works. It is obvious that he was determined to reposition the country and take us to greater heights. We believe in his leadership, and we pray God to continue to grant him enablement to achieve all the lofty programmes designed to take the country to enviable heights,” he added.

In his short remarks, the former PDP Deputy National Chairman, Chief Shuaibu Oyedokun,  attributed his defection to the palpable inequality and lingering crisis in his former party saying his defection is based on personal conviction.

Oyedokun pledged his unalloyed commitment to further advance the cause of his new party, adding that his return is divine and a clarion call to collectively wrestle power from the ruling party in the state come 2026.

The former member of the PDP National Working Committee who narrated their ordeals in their former party faulted the 2022 Osun governorship primary that led to the emergence of Senator Ademola Adeleke admitting that the primary was outrightly skewed to favour the incumbent Governor.

Oyedokun appealed to Nigerians, home and abroad, to rally round President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in his efforts to build a nation dreamt by all and sundry.

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, lauded the defectors for their uncommon courage and bravery, which culminated into their choice of the party – the APC.

“I thank you all. I thank God that since we left the government, our party and its members remain resolute and united. It is worthy of note that we are increasing every day in number and size.

“I want to assure you that you are all accepted wholeheartedly, and with open arms, there is equal right for all. There won’t be any discrimination whatsoever, and I want to assure you that you would be wholeheartedly received at your various wards and local governments with open arms.”

“We must all work together to come back to power. We are confident in God that we will return to power. APC is the God’s chosen Party. I commend all of you for your commitment and dedication that had been leading to the peaceful running of the affairs of our great party thus far,” Oyetola stated.

The state APC Chairman, Alhaji Tajudeen Lawal, acknowledged the rare courage exhibited by the decampees describing the decision as a “round peg in a round hole.

“Your decision to defect to APC is a wise choice which was influenced by God who has been your political pathfinder as the APC is a party of the people. It is not an overstatement to state that Osun state is a traditional APC enclave and any other party that may be occupying a political space in the state is a mere tenant which will soon be shown the way out of the power.

“The more the merrier. Let’s work assiduously towards the next series of elections in the state and take back our state from those grossly lacking administrative know-how as it is being reflected in their actions and inactions on a daily basis,” he added.

In his welcome address, the Chairman, Defection Committee, Mayegun Debo Badru lauded the former Governor and Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola for setting up the defection committee which was populated by people of impeccable character.

He reaffirmed the commitment of the leadership and members of the party to kick out the PDP government out of power in the next governorship election.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun, Hon. Sunday Bisi urged the people of the State not to lose sleep over what he called the formal realignment of some political traders, whose round tripping business of feeding fat on the common patrimony of the state was decisively halted through the July 16 2022 governorship election.

Bisi said Mr. Dotun Babayemi and others have since been put in their place long before now and have ceased to be members of our party right before the 2022 governorship election.

He said, “We however understand that Osun PDP’s image stock is so huge that impressionists like Babayemi must clinge onto, deceiving themselves as decamping from the ruling party.

“We hold that self help may not be unusual with desperate politicians but self deceit is a sign of ominous trouble! Tagging people you know you have worked with to fight the PDP, right when the party was in opposition, as defectors from the same party that floored you inside out, is simply put, a terminal symptom of APC s life-limiting illness.

“Or is it not self deceit taken too far to say that one Akin Ogunbiyi who was sponsored to contest the last governorship election in the state on the banner of Accord Party is also defecting from the PDP? Someone the PDP was confident enough to refuse his reabsorption into the party after his failed Accord voyage?

“The same Ogunbiyi whose electoral worth was put to test with Accord and scored paltry 4 thousand votes or thereabouts including those of his polling agents?

“Or the octogenarian Shuaibu Oyedokun who has been a liability to himself, living on samaritan gestures of the PDP over the years based on his age? A man who had no record of performance at his electoral unit, let alone his community? That is not a character to be missed by a strong political institution like the PDP.

“Osun people are assured that the PDP train of victory recorded in recent elections in Osun State, is indivisibly intact. The people’s Governor, Asiwaju Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Adeleke is also unperturbed by the distractive antics of the never do wells, whose mission to end Osun State economically has since been defeated.

“All developmental plans put in place by his Excellency, the Executive Governor would continue to form the fulcrum of the PDP administration and will be executed religiously for the wellbeing of all and sundry,” he added.

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Politics

Edo Assembly recalls suspended lawmaker, Iyamu

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Edo House of Assembly on Monday announced the recall of one of the three suspended lawmakers, Mr Bright Iyamu.

Iyamu (PDP-Orhionmwon South) was suspended on May 6, alongside two others over alleged plot to impeach the speaker and other principal officers of the assembly.

The two lawmakers, who are still on suspension, are Donald Okogbe (PDP-Akoko-Edo II) and Adeh Isibor (APC-Esan North-East I).

Announcing the lifting of the suspension during plenary in Benin, the Speaker, Blessing Agbebaku, said that the house had found Iyamu to be remorseful.

Shortly after Iyamu’s recall, other lawmakers took turns to appeal to the speaker to consider lifting the suspension of the two remaining lawmakers.

The speaker, in his reaction, however, said that Isibor had taken the matter to court.

One of the lawmakers, Nicholas Asonsere (PDP-Ikpoba-Okha), thereafter, passed a vote of confidence in the speaker and an unalloyed support of the assembly to him.

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Former Rivers LG chairmen defy police order, stage protests

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The former chairmen of 21 out of the 23 local government areas in Rivers State staged a protest on Monday at their various council areas.

The former council bosses loyal to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, protested in their local councils despite an advisory against protests issued by the state Police Command.

In Buguma, the council headquarters of the Asari-Toru LGA, former Chairman Onengiyeofori George, alongside his supporters, marched through the streets of the town as they gyrated to songs in Wike’s solidarity.

They waved placards with inscriptions asking the police to continue occupying the council headquarters. Some of the inscriptions read, “Sim Fubara Can’t Continue to Act As He Likes” and “There’s No Vacancy in Asari-Toru Council”.

According to Channels Television, at Asari-Toru LGA, the protest almost turned violent when some men believed to be operatives of Asari Dokubo’s private military company, known as Amama soldiers, attempted to attack the protesters.

The Amama soldiers were swiftly restrained by policemen who were very alert. The demonstrators later presented a protest letter to the police.

Also, in Abonnema, the Akuku-Toru LGA council headquarters, some persons staged a protest, backing the continued closure of council premises by the police.

Recall that the police took over the 23 LGA council secretariats of the oil-rich South-South last Tuesday following the crisis that erupted over the three-year tenure expiration of the former LGA chairmen. Three deaths were recorded in the wake of the crisis.

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Rivers political crisis: You’re not the Reps caucus leader — Abiante tells Deekor

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Barth Ndubuwah, Port Harcourt

The political crisis rocking Rivers State has taken a new dimension, as Federal lawmakers of the State in the Lower House of the National Assembly have taken sides and started exchanging words as to who is the caucus leader and otherwise.

This stems from utterances attributed to member representing Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, Hon Dumnamene Deekor over his attack on Hon Ikenga Ugochinyere, over the Rivers State political crisis.

In a statement issued by the member representing Andoni, Opobo-Nkoro Federal Constituency and Caucus Leader in the House of Representatives, Hon Awaji-Inombek Abiante  in Port Harcourt, he stated clearly that Deekor as a two term lawmaker is not qualified to assume the leadership of the Caucus of the Green Chamber when other senior members are there.

He said Deekor is not competent to challenge the Coordinator of the G-60 lawmakers and Imo State legislator for his comment on Rivers State political crisis of democracy in general.

“For the records, Deekor was properly elected in 2019 having lost his seat in 2015 at the Court of Appeal, which barred him from being a member of the 8th Assembly.

“He was recently re-elected in 2023 to serve his second term in the House. This alone disqualifies him to jostle for the leadership of the Rivers State Caucus.

“We call on the general public to discountance Dum Deekor’s statement as vituperations of a gord being,” Abiante said.

He told Deekor to note that the House of Representatives is not a village council meeting where anybody can assume any position and contribute to issues, noting that Hon Ugochinyere has the right as a responsible Nigerian to air his views on any national issue, including that of Rivers State.

“The National Assembly is not guided by Village Council’s rules and as such everyone reserves the right to make contributions in line with his innate conviction. Hon. Ugochinyere has in the estimation of right thinking Nigerians proven himself in the act of quality representation,” Hon. Abiante reiterated.

He therefore advised Deekor to hold his ‘self-serving stands’ to himself as he has never been elected as the Caucus Leader in Rivers State.

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