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••••Akintola’s supporters, others took wise decision to join PDP —Group
The Oyo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has threatened to expel Chief Niyi Akintola, over what it described as unguarded utterances that de-markets the party ahead of the 2023 general election.
Making reference to Akintola’s remarks while featuring on a radio programme at the weekend, the party particularly chided the legal practitioner for inherently directing his followers to vote for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the forthcoming election.
In a statement by the by APC Ward 9 Chairman, Ido local government area, Mr Ismail Babatunde, the party said Akintola’s call on his supporters to vote for opposition parties amounted to anti-party acts that are condemnable.
“Chief Akintola’s anti-party acts, in addition to his documented unholy transactions, are enough to recommend his expulsion from the party; nonetheless, we will not rush to initiate the process. Instead, we are strongly warning him to retrace his missteps.
“If Akintola does not heed this warning, we will not hesitate to recommend his expulsion from APC before he causes irreparable harm to the party and its candidates.”
However, a sociopolitical group based in Oyo State, the Oyo Kajola Group (OKG), lauded the followers of Akintola, who, according to the lawyer, have joined the PDP in Oke Ogun and Oyo zones of the state, stating that they have taken the wisest decision.
The group also hailed Akintola for his pro-development, patriotic political style and straightforwardness.
The group, in a statement by its media coordinator, Adebayo Ayandele said that it was not surprised that the senior lawyer has come under criticisms from his party members who abhor the home truth about Oyo politics.
According to the group, Akintola has shown himself as a principled professional in politics and a true progressive by engaging in constructive criticism of some programmes of the Governor Seyi Makinde-led government, while also praising the administration for those programmes and policies he finds commendable.
The group said that Akintola has distinguished himself as a politician with a difference when he openly relayed the account of his encounter with some prominent Oke Ogun leaders, who told him that the APC was engaging in a wild goose chase by contesting against Makinde in 2023.
The group declared that the decision by the supporters of Akintola to leave the APC has weakened the party the more, while the ruling PDP has been strengthened ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The group laughed at the effort by the Oyo APC to discredit Akintola over his comments on radio on Saturday, stating that the “the APC is a drowning party trying to clutch to just anything in order to stay afloat.”
It said that the Senior Advocate cannot be wished away as a strong APC chief, having been at the vanguard of the legal tussle between APC Local Government chairmen and the Makinde government, a case which helped APC to remain a bit relevant in the state.
The group urged Akintola to ignore the rants from the opposition and join hands with well-meaning residents of Oyo State to work for the re-election of Governor Makinde, who it said, has turned around the state in just three years.
According to the group, Akintola’s position about his followers joining PDP is in tandem with the extant reality in the state, as politicians and non-politicians have realised that it is in the interest of Oyo State to move forward with Governor Makinde rather than entrusting the state into the hands of individuals who will begin another experimentation in governance.
The statement read: “We listened to the interview granted by a major stakeholder of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State, Chief Niyi Akintola, SAN, in which he said that his followers in Oyo and Oke Ogun have joined the PDP.
“This information is cheering and gratifying in that more and more members of the Oyo APC have continued to see the light on a daily basis and in doing so, they have continued to abandon the drowning party to join the PDP.
“For some months now, this political haemorrhage has continued in the APC so more so that the party has now become a shadow of its former self.
“Indeed, the decision by Chief Akintola’s followers and many others to join the PDP is a wise decision and one that is in tandem with the reality in the state, where the teeming residents of Oyo State have resolved to reelect Governor Makinde based on his sterling performance in the last three years.
“This resolve came to a climax two weeks ago when all traditional rulers in Oyo State paid a visit to the Acting Governor of Oyo State, Barr. Adebayo Lawal, to declare their readiness to support Governor Makinde for another term.
“The traditional rulers’ decision did not just come out of the blues, it followed an empirical evaluation of the performance of the Governor over the last three years and we are sure that many APC members now leaving the party have all seen the reality of what outcome awaits their party in 2023.
“While welcoming Chief Akintola’s supporters and other defectors to the PDP, we encourage them to hit the ground running by winning more members into the ruling party so that together we can all deliver the votes needed for Governor Makinde to continue the good works he has been doing in Oyo State beyond 2023.”
The OKG equally charged Akintola to ignore the attacks being launched against his person by the hijackers of Oyo APC, noting that more of such vociferous attacks would come as the Oyo APC has become like a rabid dog barking at imaginary enemies when in actual fact, it is its own enemy.
“We also saw the faint attempt by a group in the APC to attack Akintola over his followers’ decision and we cannot but laugh at the puerile exercise.
“The inglorious attempt to deify Teslim Folarin and put Akintola, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and time-tested lawyer, who stood firmly behind the APC Local Government Chairmen in their case against the Governor Seyi Makinde government, is distasteful and disrespectful.
“While one would like to leave the APC to sulk, it is important for the sake of society to not allow anyone denigrate hard work and diligence because of tokenism.
“How would anyone rate an opportunistic individual like Folarin above a Senior Advocate of Nigeria who has worked so hard to keep his party together over the years? The APC group tried in vain to paint Akintola in black and wear a cassock of purity for Folarin, the hijack kingpin whose name is synonymous with lack of regard for due process.
“What are Folarin’s antecedents save that he was imposed on Oyo State during the days of Chief Adedibu’s godfatherism and ever since that first imposition till 2019, when he was again foisted on the APC with the support of former Governor Abiola Ajimobi, his cousin, whose political family he has now betrayed, Folarin has never justified the confidence reposed in him by the voters.”