The United Front (TUF), a group within the All Progressives Congress (APC) has slammed the chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Adeolu Akande; Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare, Ex Minister Adebayo Shittu, Alhaji Fatai Ibikunle and other top members of Unity Forum over their fresh plots to polarise the progressive family ahead of the October 16th, 2021 state congress of the party.
The APC group made the accusation in a strongly-worded petition addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari and Chairman, Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECP) of the APC.
The petition, which was duly signed by its Chairman, Hon. Bello Razaq; General Secretary, Hon. Wasiu Adesokan and Publicity Secretary, Hon. Farayola Wumi, revealed how the Minister of Youth and Sport, Mr. Sunday Dare directed management of the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium to decline official request by Chief Akin Oke-led Oyo APC Caretaker Committee to use the facility for the forthcoming state congress of the party.
In a letter dated 27th September 2021 and signed by the Stadium Manager, Mr. Fatai Odunlami, the plead and application of Chief Akin Oke-led Oyo APC Caretaker Committee was not granted due to other event that had been scheduled for the same date.
TUF stated that it investigated the reason behind the Youth Minister’s directive, and uncovered that Mr. Sunday Dare is conniving with the NCC Chairman, Prof. Adeolu Akande, former minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu and Senator Ayo Adeseun to organize a parallel state congress on October 16 at the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium.
According to TUF, the quartet had perfected plans to undermine the peace, unity and stability of APC in Oyo State ahead of the 2023 elections.
The petition read in parts:
“We are constrained to direct this petition to Your Excellencies (President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Mai Mala Buni) because of the urgent need for you to use your good offices to sanction divisive elements in Oyo State APC, most especially the NCC Chairman, Prof. Adeolu Akande, Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare; Chairman of National Lottery Commission, Alhaji Fatai Ibikunle; the Postmaster-General of NIPOST, Dr. Ismail Adewusi as well as Barr. Adebayo Shittu over their desperate and unrelenting moves to destabilize our great party in the state”.
“Prof. Adeolu has returned to political drawing board with his leader, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to weaken Oyo APC ahead of 2023. Recall, Prof. Adeolu, Alhaji Fatai Ibikunle, Barr. Adebayo Shittu were among the arrowheads of a breakaway splinter group “Unity Forum” that defected to African Democratic Congress (ADC), which orchestrated the defeat of APC in 2019 elections. With ADC, Prof. Adeolu, Alhaji Ibikunle, Adebayo Shittu and other top members of Unity Forum used one stone to kill two birds in 2019 elections; they mobilized funds for PDP in both presidential and governorship elections. Some evidence of Prof. Adeolu’s financial transactions are attached to this petition for verification by the Department of State Security Services (DSS) and the anti-graft agencies (the EFCC and the ICPC)”.
“Prof. Adeolu’s appointment as NCC Chairman by Your Excellency came to us as a rude shock, despite his obvious anti-party activities before, during and after 2019 elections. Similarly, Barr. Shittu was appointed in 2015 as a federal minister despite working against the party. Also rewarded with appointments for their divisive and anti-party activities are serving Chairman of National Lottery Commission, Alhaji Fatai Ibikunle, and the Postmaster-General of NIPOST, Chief Ismail Adewusi”.
“Prof. Adeolu, during his very recent meeting with the former Vice President and 2023 PDP Presidential aspirant – Alhaji Atiku, has been given a special task to weaken APC in favour PDP. No wonder, he been extravagantly using NCC resources to empower the Unity Forum in order to polarise APC in the state”.
“Furthermore, Mr. Sunday Dare who had no iota of contribution to our struggles for APC’s victories in Oyo State was also appointed as a federal minister out of the blue. The Unity Forum elements in Oyo APC have turned themselves to rebels, believing their negative actions will be handsomely rewarded at the federal level. Your Excellencies are urged to put a stop to this tradition of rewarding unrepentant enemies of the party”.
“We wish to remind Your Excellencies that in 2018, the Unity Forum left for ADC with two serving senators, nine (9) serving members of House of Representatives, eighteen (18) members of the Oyo State House of Assembly, former state and federal lawmakers, former 28 Local Government Chairmen and several other political appointees, but lost woefully in 2019 elections. The Unity/ADC could not produce a councilor, whereas late former Governor Abiola Ajimobi-led Oyo APC won two senators, 9 house of Reps and 5 house of Assembly members”.
“It is also noteworthy that Alhaji Fatai Ibikunle openly led members of the Unity Forum to work against APC during Ibarapa East State Constituency to replace late Speaker of the State House of Assembly. Sins of members of Unity Forum are too numerous to mention. Therefore, we cannot sit and watch the same elements to do irreparable damages to our party again ahead of the 2023 elections”.
“It’s disheartening that the Unity Forum elements are consistently and unrepentantly throwing spanners to the wheel of reconciliation and progress of our great party. They did not only thwart all the reconciliatory moves by the late former Governor Ajimobi but also threatening reconciliatory efforts of national secretariat of the party”.
“Majority of Unity Forum members who are parading themselves as progressives are not progressives indeed. For instance, Prof. Adeolu was a chieftain of PDP and still hobnobbing with PDP at state and federal levels. In the PDP-led Federal Government, Prof. Adeolu Akande was appointed deputy chief press secretary of Vice President Atiku Abubakar in 2001. In 2003, he became special assistant for research and communication strategies to President Olusegun Obasanjo. Alhaji Hamzat Adeseun was a two-term member of the federal house of Reps on the platform of PDP (2003-2007). He was also senatorial candidate of PDP in 2015 elections. Senator Adeseun was PDP governorship aspirant in 2019; he challenged Engr. Seyi Makinde’s victory in court. He joined APC less than 12 months ago after losing to Governor Makinde at the Supreme Court”.
“Also, Senator Olufemi Lanlehin was also a chieftain of PDP who served as Oyo State Director-General Obasanjo-Atiku Campaign Organisation in 2003. In 2014, he was Oyo South Senatorial Candidate of the Accord Party (AP). Chief Lanlehin was the gubernatorial candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) for the 2019 Oyo State Gubernatorial elections. He worked for the emergence of the ruling PDP. Senator Lanlehin joined APC less than 1 year ago when Governor Makinde failed to honour coalition agreement”.
“Similarly, Barrister Shittu was a chieftain of PDP who served as Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice during the tenure of former governor Rashidi Ladoja. The Saki-born politician was Governorship candidate of CPC in 2011. As a federal minister under APC, he was one of the aggrieved leaders of the Unity Forum who who bankrolled ADC. He was a party to coalition group that secured victory for PDP in 2019”.
“The APC CECP took some decisive steps to resolve the logjam in Oyo APC. One such steps was the reconciliation meeting held at the Ibadan residence of Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State on September 20, 2020. The meeting had in attendance all critical stakeholders from legacy parties. The fallout of the meeting was the formation of the collegiate leadership system tagged the Elders’ Advisory Council, headed by former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala. The Council was inaugurated by Governor Kayode Fayemi because the Unity Forum insisted on “impossible” dissolution of Chief Akin Oke-led Oyo State Executives from Ward to state levels”.
“The Elders’ Advisory Council has been at the forefront of uniting the progressive family in Oyo State. The council’s latest move in appointing 9-man Zoning, Planning and Strategic Committee ahead of the state congress is a welcome development, therefore should be supported by all progressive-minded members. The committee is all-inclusive as the interests of all legacy parties are accommodated. Of the 9 members, 6 are from the core progressives, 2 members from PDP, LP and ADP defectors while 1 person represents ZLP defectors. The committee should be allowed to deliver on its mandate without hinderances and false alarms from the Unity Forum elements”.
TUF while demanding Governor Buni-led CECP to sanction all erring members in Oyo APC, urged President Buhari to relieve Prof. Adeolu Akande, Mr. Sunday Dare and Dr. Ismail Adewusi of their appointments.
TUF tagged itself as a non-aligned group, committed to peace, progress and discipline within the party.