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Storm over Ajimobi rages in South-West

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South-West has remained deeply divided over the choice of Senator Abiola Ajimobi as deputy National Chairman (South) of the party, Daily Trust reports.

Uproar kept trailing the appointment which was announced on March 5 amidst discontent.

The interim injunction obtained by the Lagos APC Chairman, Hon. Tunde Balogun, on March 12 allowing Senator Ajimobi to partake in the botched National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party as deputy National Chairman (South) was later seen as a temporary relief which has not addressed the ill-feeling Ajimobi’s appointment generated in the party.

In the March 12 judgement following an ex parte application filed by the state APC chairman, the court ordered that the meeting hitherto scheduled for March 17 must not hold except Ajimobi and two other newly appointed national officers were allowed to attend.

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Following the suspension of the NEC meeting which was expected to be stormy as some forces were working for the removal of the national chairman, the party held its National Working Committee (NWC) meeting with Ajimobi and the two other newly appointed members participating.

On March 20, Oshiomhole went to the villa to present Ajimobi to President Muhammadu Buhari as the new deputy National Chairman, South.

Since the appointment of the former deputy National Chairman, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo as the Minister of Trade and Investment, the position has been vacant. With the void created by the appointment, the Ekiti State chapter of the APC has been agitating to fill the position.

Sources said the division over which among the six South West states would produce a replacement for the position of the deputy National Chairman was the reason why the vacancy dragged on for too long before it was later filled.

Other party chieftains are of the opinion that since the position was zoned to the South-West and not Ekiti, which has occupied it from inception of the APC, it would be fair to allow other zones benefit from the position.

Our correspondent reports that former governor of Ekiti State, Olusegun Oni, occupied the position until Otunba Adebayo, another former governor in the state took over.

But another argument being advanced was that Oyo State was considered for the position being the only state without a governor.

“This was the idea behind ceding the position to Ekiti prior to the election of Governor Kayode Fayemi. Now that the table has turned against Oyo State after the 2019 election when the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defeated APC, it was fairly to compensate Oyo with the deputy national chairmanship position in the APC’s NWC,” said another party chieftain.

According to Oshiomhole, five out of the six states in the zone backed Ajimobi’s nomination with the exception of Ekiti.

But Daily Trust gathered that the grouse by some chieftains of the party was the manner in which the nomination was done with some stakeholders allegedly not consulted.

“It was only decided at a meeting held in Lagos House, Marina early in February with the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola  Tinubu presiding, that the position be zoned to Oyo State ostensibly to favour Ajimobi,” a party source privy to the intrigues over Ajimobi’s nomination said.

While some South West APC leaders at the instance of Tinubu agreed to support Ajimobi, an ally of Asiwaju and friend, others insisted that shutting out other aspirants would be undemocratic.

Besides, the appointment was seen as part of the 2023 game plan and the alleged ambition of Asiwaju to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari. It is believed that having a loyalist next to Oshiomhole in the party’s hierarchy is a further boost to Asiwaju should Oshiomhole be forced out prior to the 2023 electioneering.

The whole melodrama over the emergence of Ajimobi is nothing but the 2023 game plan.

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