Chief Lowo Obisesan is the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress reconciliatory committee in Oyo State, otherwise known as the APC Reformer. The former commissioner for environment spoke to reporters in Lagos recently about his efforts to reconcile all the aggrieved members, his relationship with his former boss, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, and other issues. RAYMOND MORDI reports
How far have you gone with the task of reconciling aggrieved APC members in Oyo State?
We started on a good note. What annoyed our people was the way former Governor Abiola Ajimobi destroyed the party’s structure towards the end of his tenure.
You will agree with me that Oyo State is for progressives and that has been the case from time immemorial. With the way the former governor conducted his tenure, many people were discouraged from associating with our party and that was what led to the victory of the PDP in the last general elections in Oyo State.
Now, immediately our people discovered that he has lost the election, they were happy that someone working towards the retrogression of the party has been dethroned.
Today, they are all happy to come back to the party and that is the reason the reconciliation is progressing. We don’t have a problem winning the minds of progressives back to the party.
All those who were aggrieved have returned and we are making progress. The little problem we are having now is with executive that the former governor put in place. Our people believe that the process that led to the emergence of the executive was fraudulent.
Ajimobi handpicked them without the contribution of other party leaders across the 33 local governments. That is the only problem we are facing, but we thank God that we have spoken with our leaders in the Southwest and they understood.
We spoke with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu who is our leader. He is a father and the leader of leaders. Apart from him, we have also gone to see Baba Bisi Akande, former governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and they are all working round the clock to see that a proper executive is put in place in Oyo State.
How did you emerge as the leader of the committee?
Initially, I was invited to attend a meeting as a member of the reformer committee when it was set up.
At the meeting with our leaders, they discovered that I have the leadership quality, and they appointed me as the chairman of the committee.
What makes the reconciliation in Oyo different from that of other states?
The case of Oyo State is peculiar because it is the only state our former governor created artificial problems. If you notice, progressives have never lost in Oyo State before now.
But, with the steps we are taking now to bring everyone on board, particularly the likes of former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala, Senator Ayo Adeseun, Senator Teslim Folarin, Alhaji Fatai Ibikunle and Prof. Adeolu Akande, we believe the reconciliation will be successful.
How far have you succeeded in getting across to all the factions?
As we speak, there is no progressive leader in the state that hasn’t got a representative in the committee. All the zones are also well represented in the committee.
We believe that the best way to achieve our goal is to give every leader fair treatment, so as to ensure that we work in line with the notion of our leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
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Many are already eyeing APC ticket in 2023. How would you prevent a rancorous process?
Well, anybody might have personal interest or ambition in 2023, but we have told them to forget about 2023 for now. With the way things are going, our leaders have recognised their mistakes.
Nobody can say he wants to become a governor at all cost. It is not wrong for anybody to have ambition, but it is not good to be desperate if you really mean well for the party.
Nobody can act as a leader, except he has the backing of the people. We have told everyone to pocket his/her ambition and work towards the progress of our party for now.
When the time comes, God will guide us to choose the person who will be the next governor.
People faulted your leadership because you once left the party?
I am a progressive to the core. I have been a progressive all my life. Let me say this, when you are in a party with wicked people and you don’t want to soil your name, the best thing is to step out.
Secondly, we all contributed to the victory of the person that was making life difficult for us. He was behaving like a school principal, forgetting that politics is not like that.
Most of the programmes he initiated were not embarked upon in the interest of the people, and that was why I decided to join another progressive party, the Labour Party.
Immediately we discovered that he has lost his senatorial election, we decided to come back to the party to savage it.
What is your relationship with Ajimobi?
We have not really been talking terms in recent time. This was the man I believe I did all I could to make sure he won election during his first term as a governor, but he turned his back on me later.
We were having a serious problem when he became the governor in 2011 because the PDP wanted to chase us out, as a result of the fuel scarcity.
I was the one that proffered solution to the crises. After that, he called and said he could hardly forget me. He appointed me as a commissioner but almost sent me to jail.
That was why everybody is praying to be like leaders like Tinubu, because of his generosity. He appoints people to offices without knowing their parents.
The mistake we shouldn’t make again is that anytime we want to elect someone as governor, such a person must be a politician. We shouldn’t elect a technocrat again.
Such person should not also be a greedy and selfish person. That was the mistake we made in the past that led us to the calamity we are into right now.