The leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the South West, has dismissed the alleged rift within the rank and file of the leadership of the party in the region, insisting that the last meeting ended on a happy note as against reports of rancour being peddled by a section of the media.
This is just as they applauded the performance of governors and National Assembly members elected on the ticket of the party, as well as ministers appointed from the region.
The leaders gave the commendation through the former Interim National Chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande, after a stakeholders’ meeting held at the Oyo State Governor’s Office, Ibadan, on Thursday.
He said that the meeting assessed the performance of governors, national assembly members and those appointed into the Federal Executive Council from the region and was satisfied with their stewardship so far.
Akande said, “APC leaders in the Southwest, together with our representatives in government at the state and national levels, met to review what we decided upon in our meeting of January. We could see the efforts of our leaders in government and we are happy that we are on course.
“The summary of what we expected from them was discussed and we are happy that our governors and ministers have performed excellently well.
“We tried to review our position and we are pleased to see that as a party, we are doing all we can to have Ekiti back into the APC. We are concerned more though about the services of our government to the people more than electoral matters.”
Akande said, “You can see that we are happy together. Some of the people who never wished us well reported that we fought and dispersed in our different ways without even saying the closing prayers when we met last. It is not true.
“We held a meeting, we had a minute of the meeting and I am happy to inform you that our various governors and ministers have been doing well in implementing what we decided upon at the last meeting.
“We are for the people of the Southwest. We are for the development of our people. We are for the good of the economy. We are meeting so that our governors and other representatives can be talking to us from time to time so that we can know how much we are benefiting from the existing government.”
Earlier in his welcome address, the host governor called on his colleagues, party leaders and other public office holders under the APC to sacrifice their self interest and work more towards surmounting developmental challenges confronting the region.
As the countdown to 2019 beckons, Ajimobi said it had become imperative for the leaders to engage in some introspection to identify what could have been done differently, and if necessary, go back to the drawing board to proffer agreeable methods on the way forward.
Ajimobi said, “Let me state here that as leaders, it is incumbent on us to brainstorm and forge a unity of purpose which will be beneficial to the people who have put us into these leadership positions.
“Our past leaders, wherever they found themselves, used to exhibit such attributes as vision, determination, selflessness, courage, steadfastness and passion for the emancipation of their people.
“We must, therefore, renew our resolve to re-enact these qualities in order to bring back the lost glory of our region and reposition it for our people, in order that they may enjoy the full benefits of entrusting our party with their destinies.”
In the last three years, he said that the party had recorded tremendous achievements worthy of celebration, noting, however that there was the need for the APC to focus attention on agriculture to boost the country’s economy.
According to him, the region had comparative advantage in agriculture, given its vast arable land, highest concentration of agric research institutes, clement weather and the location of Ikere Gorge Dam, which has the capacity to irrigate the entire region, in Oke Ogun area of Oyo State.
Ajimobi said, “We must become the food basket of Nigeria through integrated farming and value addition. In this regard, the completion of Ikere Gorge Dam, which has multidimensional benefits to agriculture, water supply and electricity, is imperative.
“We must ensure speedy completion of the ongoing expansion of the Lagos-Ibadan Express way, the rail projects and other infrastructural development. Our representatives at the national assembly must be ready to support the region if and when it decides to show interest in who runs the planned concession of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport.
“On the political front, the gubernatorial elections for Ekiti and Osun are fast approaching. All hands must be on deck to ensure victory for our party.”
The meeting was attended by Governors Rauf Aregbesola (Osun State); Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo State); Akinwumi Ambode (Lagos State); Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun State); and the host, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
Also in attendance were the Senate Chief Whip, Prof. Sola Adeyeye; Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Lasun Yusuf; House Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; and National Vice Chairman (Southwest) of the APC, Chief Pius Akinyelure.
The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr, Kayode Fayemi; his Communications counterpart, Mr. Adebayo Shittu; and Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Prof, Claudius Daramola, were also part of the deliberations.
Four former governors: Chief Olagunsoye Oyinlola (Osun); Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala (Oyo); Chief Niyi Adebayo (Ekiti); and Chief Segun Osoba (Ogun) also graced the occasion.
Akande had earlier told journalists that the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and other ministers who could not make it to the meeting sent their apologies, stressing that there was unity and cohesion among all of them.