Ajimobi’s caretaker list causes ripples in Assembly

Olufemi Atoyebi, Ibadan

The list of caretaker chairmen for 28 out of the 33 council areas of Oyo State sent to the state House of Assembly by Governor Abiola Ajimobi has begun to generate protests.

The Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Michael Adeyemo, on Tuesday passed Ajimobi’s list to the House Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters for proper consideration.

Adeyemo said at the plenary that the state government had requested an accelerated screening of the nominees to avoid creating a vacuum in the Local Council Development Areas in the state.

The Speaker said the job of the House was to determine if the nominees were fit to take the position.

But members of the All Progressives Congress who were loyal to the faction of a former governor of Oyo State, late Lam Adesina, have accused Ajimobi of sidelining their candidates.

On Monday two factions of the APC clashed at the Oyo State secretariat in Ibadan over the list sent to the House by Ajimobi. Members of a faction of the APC that opposed the list stormed the secretariat to register their dissatisfaction with the choices made by Ajimobi.

The members, who came in large numbers from the 10 councils in Oke-Ogun area of the state, said they were aggrieved because the governor excluded the pioneer party members from the Adesina’s camp, while the SENACO group, comprising members who defected along with Ajimobi from the All Nigerian Peoples Party to the APC were favoured.

The aggrieved members also alleged that Ajimobi’s action was to hijack the party machinery ahead of the 2019 general elections in order to dictate the pace in the succession race.

However, some party members loyal to Ajimobi also stormed the secretariat in solidarity with the governor.

The situation led to a clash between the two factions.

Our correspondent observed that sticks and canes were freely used in the fight within the secretariat complex while members of both factions were seen chasing one another.

One of the leaders of the party in Oke-Ogun, Mr. Aliu Balogun, alleged that their members who were travelling to Ibadan to express their dissatisfaction over the list were ambushed on the outskirt of Ibadan by the other faction, leading to a fight.

The party chairman in the Saki West area of Oke-Ogun, Kareem Adebayo, said all the members of the party in Oke-Ogun rejected Ajimobi’s choice of leaders for the council, alleging that the governor  did not consult any party leader before coming up with the names.

But the party’s secretary in the Akinyele council area, Claudius Oyedele, faulted the claim, saying that those who were against the appointment only wanted to remain at the helms of the party’s affairs forever.

The list of nominees read by the Speaker of the House on Tuesday included Olamijuwonlo Alao-Akala, son of a former governor of the state, Adebayo Alao-Akala.

Others included Teslim Ajimobi, Ogunrinde Williams, Abolade Akanni and Oluyinka Inaolaji.

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