By Aare Abiodun Oluwarotimi Reporting for Nigerian Concord Newspaper
Akure Group 2023/24, the most vibrant, powerful and influential pressure group in Akure South People’s Democratic Party yesterday, Sunday October 23, 2022, met with all the PDP candidates in the local government to strategize a winning chance for the party in the 2023 general elections.
Candidates that came to plead for the supports of Akure Group 2023/24 were Basorun Ifedayo Adedipe, Hon. Princess Kemisola Adesanya, Hon. Olajide Oguntodu Oshaprapra and Hon. Adeolu Adeniran popularly known as ADX.
Speaking at the meeting, leader of the group, Hon. Prince Tony Ala, said the event was organized to sort out all the differences between some of the candidates and aggrieved members of Akure Group 2023/24.
Prince Tony Ala said there is need for peace in the party at the local government level at the moment so that all the candidates can emerge winners at the general elections in 2023.
According to him, various meetings which he was invited to attend took place at the party’s state secretariat and houses of some Akure elders like Baba Ruben Fasoranti, and he was directed to speak with the aggrieved members of the group to swallow their anger and see the reason they must all join hands together with all the candidates to win their elections in 2023.
He pressed further that on the need to support the party’s candidates in Akure South local government to win their elections so as to make the 2024 governorship journey an easy one for Eyitayo Jegede.
He however urged all the candidates to stop listening to rumours against those they really need to help them realize their victories at the polls next year.
Also, he advised all the candidates to warn their supporters to stop attacking the aggrieved members of the party physically and on the social media.
For him, members of the group had buried their anger the day Barrister Eyitayo Jegede SAN met with them at the local government party secretariat but the anger was renewed when those handling the campaigns of the candidates began to do otherwise to the peace arrangement on ground.
Reacting to some areas in the speech of Hon. Kemisola Adesanya, the leader of Akure Group 2023/24 said that some of what she said were true while some were false, stressing that he wanted everyone to bury their anger, forget the shortcomings of all the candidates and join hands with them to ensure victory for the party.
“If we want to start digging deeply into what my sister, Kemisola has said here today, we won’t be able to achieve the peace we need here but I want to beg you all not to look at the shortcomings of our candidates but let us consider the fact that our party must win the elections at all levels” Hon. Ala pleaded.
In his own address, Barrister Ifedayo Adedipe, PDP senatorial candidate for Ondo Central commended Akure Group 2023/24 for standing by the truth always. He added that it was recently that he understood what the group is fighting for.
Adedipe in his words pleaded for unity so that Akure can be developed. He however warned Akure people from de-marketing themselves, an act he said had brought a lot of setback to the town.
On the clamour for Akure governorship in 2024, Adedipe said it is only a bastard that will say that the town isn’t the next to govern the state.
He berated some Akure indigene that had been accused of meeting with or calling some people In the Southern part of the state that it’s not the turn of Akure to produce governor in 2025.
In his words, he fully backed Eyitayo Jegede in 2020 so he could be governor of the state, adding that he will still back him to realize his dream in 2024 if the opportunity presents itself.
“On 2024, no one can cause any rift between me and Jegede because he is the one I am supporting and he is eminently qualified. No one supported him more than I did in 2020 so I wonder why some people are accusing me of not throwing my weight behind him” he said.
On the last by-election, Barrister Adedipe expressed his displeasure over the fact that some leaders went to Ondo last year December to endorse a particular aspirant while looking at other aspirants to keep wasting their resources.
Speaking earlier, House of Representatives candidate for Akure Federal Constituency, Honourable Kemi Adesanya lauded Akure Group 2023/24 for working for the development of the town.
Adesanya, a two-term member of the Ondo State House of Assembly begged the aggrieved members of the group to bury their anger, embrace peace and join hands with her so she can win her election in 2023.
According to her, the fight in the party at the local government level shouldn’t get to the level that candidates would be left alone to canvass for votes alone without support from some quarters.
On the last by-election, the former lawmaker denied the accusation that she worked against Barrister Olumuyiwa Adu who was the candidate of the party then, adding that she was not carried along in the campaigns at all.
According to her, there won’t be development in Akure if members of the party continue to fight themselves over nothing. “There is nothing we can share from zero” she noted.
On Akure governorship, Adesanya said there was no way she would work against the agenda, stressing that it was Akure that took her to the level she is politically today.
“I didn’t follow Mimiko, my benefactor to ZLP in 2020 because I could not work against the ambition of an Akure man. It’s Akure that brought me this far politically so I will never work against the agenda of the town” she said.
In their separate speeches, leaders of PDP in Akure South Wards six, Seven and eight respectively Alhaji Ganiyu Ogbera, Hon. Layo Falohun and Hon. Soji Omojagbe as well as Olori Stella Oluwatuyi, youth leader of Akure South PDP, Mr. Ajayi Olorunlogbon and a member of the Executives of Akure South PDP, Mrs Adeuti Asekere, all called for peace and urged the party to control the use of social media which they said had become a tool to attack party members by some people especially those close to the candidates.
They urged the leadership of the party to henceforth stop endorsing some particular aspirants against others, stressing that such won’t let the party have peace.
They also advised the candidates to stop their supporters who have been using the social media to attack those whose supports they are seeking for at the meeting.
Alhaji Ogbera however noted that the meeting held in Ondo last year wasn’t to endorse a particular aspirant for the by-election, adding that it was a retreat which they use to do from time to time but, the endorsement of the aspirant was an addendum.
Ogbera promised to speak with the party leadership at the state level to control the abuse of social media by party members for the benefit of the party in the coming elections.
Hon. Falohun said the party should look for a way to minimize the abuse of social media by some people that are close to the candidates.
For Hon. Omojagbe, he was particularly angry over how some thugs were invited to attack him and his men on the day of the last by-election at the residence of a particular leader of the party and carted away some money meant for logistics.
Asekere clearly urged the candidates to look for a way to pacify Barrister Adu and warned their supporters against using inflammatory statements on the social media as from now.
Ajayi Olorunlogbon urged the candidates to call a meeting in their camp and look for a way to further cement the relationship which had begun between them and the Akure Group 2023/24 today.
Olori Stella Oluwatuyi begged all the aggrieved members of the group and the party as a whole to bury their bitterness against any of the candidates and see the reason for the party to win the general elections in Akure South.
Also in attendance were Hon. Dele Faboro, Hon. Oladimeji Busuyi, Hon. Ogedengbe Sunday, Engr. Afolabi Akinbowale, Elder Omomo, Comrade Olugbenga Jegede, Alhaja Way and a host of others.
Aare Abiodun Oluwarotimi, Director of Media and Publicity for Akure Group 2023/24 writes from Akure