There was confusion on Monday over Sunday’s meeting of the South-West All Progressives Congress leaders as invitation to the excluded the party’s key stakeholders in the zone.
In the notice of the meeting signed by a former National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, those invited to the meeting included the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; a former Ogun State Governor, Chief Segun Osoba, Gen. Alani Akinrinade (retd); the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and the Minister of Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo and another party leader, Chief Pius Akinyelure.
Other are the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu; his Ekiti State counterpart, Kayode Fayemi; Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State; the Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola; Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu of Lagos State and the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Alhaji Musiliu Smith.
A chieftain of the party, who confided in one of our correspondents, said he did not understand why the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola and his counterpart for Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, were not invited to the meeting.
Another top official of the APC, who spoke on condition of anonymity, stated, “If two former governors were at the meeting, I expected the ministers to be there. They are key stakeholders too.”
Mr Lani Baderinwa, an aide in charge of Public Communication for Chief Bisi Akande, could not be reached for comment on the matter.
Calls to his line did not go through and the reply to text message sent to him on whether the ministers were invited , was still being expected as of the time of filing this report.
Mr Sola Fasure, an aide to the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, did not respond to text message asking if the ex Osun governor was invited. He did not pick calls to his mobile line as of the time of filing this report.
Similarly, Hakeem Bello, the spokesman for the Minister for Works and Housing could not be reached.
However, one of his former aides in Lagos, who declined to be named, said the minister did not mention about the meeting.
“I cannot say if he was invited or not; he never mention a meeting in Lagos to us,” he said.
But a source the meeting who spoke to one of our correspondents, said there was no hidden agenda in exclusion of some key stakeholders.
He said, “This is just the first in a series of meetings. They were not invited to this one because the issue at hand at the moment is internal.
“This is like foundation laying, they will be invited subsequently. The fact that they were not invited to this one is not to slight anyone.”
Fayemi, Akeredolu endorse S’west APC leaders’ decisions
Meanwhile, Fayemi on Monday expressed support for the resolutions of the APC South-West leaders.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Yinka Oyebode, who said the governor was not aware of the meeting due to “mix up in the invitation sent out,” said Fayemi was in total support of the decisions at the meeting.
Oyebode said, “The absence of an invitation for the South-West APC leaders meeting prevented the governor from attending the meeting, as he was not aware.
“Governor Fayemi, as a true democrat and South-West leader who is committed to the welfare of the people, is, however, in total support of the decisions reached by the South-West leaders at the meeting which include an endorsement of the positions earlier adopted by the southern governors on the ban on open grazing and the need for true federalism, among others.
“For clarity, the invitation for the meeting which was said to have been sent via Whatsapp by Mr Tunde Rahman, an aide to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, never got to Governor Fayemi.
Also, Akeredolu said lack of “timeous communication and aside mix up,” were largely responsible for his inability to attend the meeting.”
In statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olabode Olatunde, on Monday, the governor said he had thrown his weight behind the outcome of the meeting.
The statement reads partly, “Governor Akeredolu would have loved to be present at the meeting for several reasons. However, a slight mix-up and communication gap had caused his unintended absence even as an earlier engagement had been fixed for Ibadan weeks before the meeting.
“As one of the leaders of the APC in the South-West, and more so that, he presided over the Asaba meeting of the southern governors, nothing could be more spirit-lifting than the outcome of the Lagos meeting on Sunday. He, therefore, endorses all the resolutions reached by the leaders who attended the meeting.”
The Deputy Senate leader, Prof. Ajayi Boroffice, said on Monday that he was not involved.
Akintoye warns APC leaders
The President, Ilana Omo Oodua, Prof. Banji Akintoye, has warned the APC leaders that attended the South-West Forum meeting on Sunday in Lagos, not to stand against the interests of the Yoruba.
In a statement on Monday, Akintoye said, “It is a pity that in rejecting the Yoruba nation state and clinging to Nigeria, they have taken a decision which they are certain to regret.
“My prayer is that when they come to regret it, they will have the courage to change it and thereby re-establish themselves in the swelling current of Yoruba thought, Yoruba desire, and Yoruba expectations.”