PDP, APC: Poaching grounds for Accord?
Since August, when it received Senator Olufemi Lanlehin and others into its fold, the ranks of Accord Party continues to be swelled by politicians from the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). DARE ADEKANMBI examines some implications for 2015 election in the state.
Although it had been in existence before the 2011 general election, Accord, as a political party, only came to national reckoning in the last election when a former governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, pulled out of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with his loyalists and introduced Accord into the politics of the state, three months to the elections of 2011.
Not many gave the party any chance, given the timing of its introduction. However, the aura of Ladoja and his pre-eminence in the politics of the state won for party, four House of Representatives and seven House of Assembly seats.
The strong showing of the party attracted it to prominent politicians beyond the state. In Lagos politics, Accord is adjudged one of the top five parties. The party’s outing in the Ekiti and Osun elections notwithstanding, pundits note the fact that the party participated in the elections as having indicated that its sun had radiated beyond the Oyo horizon in less than four years and that Accord had become one of the most popular parties in South-West politics.
Indications that Accord is not only preparing hard for the 2015 elections in Oyo but also emerging the party to beat started manifesting when the party received Senator Olufemi Lanlehin, who was elected a Senator on the ticket of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in 2011, at a well-attended reception held at the historic Mapo Hall. The mammoth crowd at the event stretched from Oja’ba to Beere, spilling over to Orita Merin Area and adjoining streets of the capital city. Traders at Oja’ba, Beere and Orita Merin Areas had to close shops to listen to a man they hold in high esteem, Senator Ladoja.
Others welcomed into the party along with Senator Lanlehin were Chief Yemi Aderibigbe; Honourable Demola Ojo, who was the chairman, Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Oyo State chapter, during the immediate past administration of Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala; one of the sons of the late Alhaji Abdulazez Arisekola-Alao, Semiu; Honourable Timothy Ogunkunle, who was relieved of his post as caretaker chairman, Atisbo Local Government; among others.
Before the Mapo rally, Accord’s train had moved to Oyo town, where several new members were received into the party. The crowd at the Oyo event was so large observers said the party’s senatorial candidate for Oyo Central District in the 2011 election, Chief BisiIlaka, who hails from Oyo town, stands a better chance if fielded in 2015. The harvest of members continued for Accord when the Accord leadership took Iseyin, the town with the largest votes in Oke Ogun Area, by the storm to receive Senator Gbenga Babalola and others into its fold. Babalola was the PDP Senator that represented Oyo North Senatorial District between 2007 and 2011.
Ladoja led Accord to Ogbomosho, Igangan in Ibarapa North Local Government Area of the state and Okeho to receive some of the prominent political leaders in the areas into his party. At each of the towns, a humungous crowd trooped out to welcome the national leader of the party and others. The train is moving to Saki and other areas in Oke Ogun to demonstrate its dominance in the politics of the state as the most cohesive party.
Just as Accord continues to make inroads in Oyo, its exploits are already being noticed in Ogun, where the political group of a former governor of the Gateway State, Chief Olusegun Osoba, has opened a discussion with Senator Ladoja on how to bring the party to prominence in Ogun. The decision, Nigerian Tribune was reliably informed, was reached by the Osoba group, following red signals from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that some forces were working hard to frustrate the application for the registration of proposed Action Group of Nigeria (AGN) by the Osoba group.
Speaking with newsmen on the recent developments in the party, Ladoja said his victory in 2015 is certain should the duo of incumbent Governor Abiola Ajimobi and former governor Alao-Akala emerge the standard bearers of their parties. He said the people of the state have experienced the administrative sagacity of his administration and are now able to compare with the past and present. He added that, with the increased support base which his Accord now enjoys across the 33 local government areas of the state the die was cast ahead the 2015 poll. We pride ourselves as the intellectual capital of the country. When we came in, one our cardinal programmes was education and there was marked improvement to the extent that we came second in the State Universal Education Board (SUBEB) nationwide. If successive governments had been building on our foundation, today, we would have moved forward. We will correct this problem when we get to office in 2015 by God’s grace,”Ladoja said.
Nigerian Tribune was informed that the leadership of the APC and PDP are locking horns in battle to win over Ladoja to their camps with the governorship ticket of the parties as an offering. The parties, it was gathered, renewed their scouting for Ladoja following the palpable cloudy atmosphere for them in the 2015 elections in the state. Ladoja, while reacting to the latest moves to have him dump his party, said: “We are sure that the people of Oyo State like us. Our party is open to those who may want to have a working relationship with us. The PDP, APC are talking to us. But, our party is our party. We will remain in Accord.”
“My cousin, Ajimobi, and my brother Alao-Akala, are welcome to even join Accord. The only difference is that we have different strategies to solving the same problem. If it happens that Ajimobi and Alao-Akala are contesting as my opponent, it will make our work easier in 2015,” he said.
Senator Lanlehin, who also spoke on the same theme, welcomed the move, describing it as an eloquent testimony to the big stature of Ladoja as the leader of Oyo masses. According to Lanlehin, “Until elections are held and results announced, we will continue to have such developments because politics is very dynamic. But, we cannot deviate from our core, fundamental interest and goal. The fundamental goal of Ladoja is service to the people of Oyo State through the instrumentality of the governor’s office. And I as the Senator for Oyo South, I have been delivering service to the people of my district. So, within these two contexts, there can be agreement and negotiation.
“And don’t forget the fact that Accord has not got a presidential candidate. To that extent, until the presidential election is held, the two parties, of course, will continue court Ladoja’s support for their presidential candidates. The no-go area is the governorship, Senatorial, Representatives and all other positions are also non-negotiable. As politicians, we don’t fight anybody and we can talk but we won’t deviate from the core goal, which is already a paved path.”
As at the moment, Accord has two senatorial materials in Lanlehin and Ilaka for Oyo South and Central districts respectively. The party has also got about five whose eyes are on the Oyo North ticket. About 30 aspirants obtained expressions of interest forms for various offices within two days that the party began to sell the forms, a development some observers linked with the internal cohesion of the party and a tonic capsule for victory in the coming elections.