Opens talk with guber candidate, Issa Aremu
Oyedepo, Fagbemi line up for party’s dep. gov slot
By Mumini AbdulKareem
One of the aggrieved aspirants of the Kwara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the governorship primary, Prof. AbdulRaheem Shuaib Oba is reportedly seeking the platform of the Kwara state chapter of Labour party, to actualise his governorship ambition, National Pilot learnt last night.
Towards this end, the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin has reportedly opened commenced talks with the governorship candidate of the Labour Party in the state, Comrade Issa Aremu.
A source privy to the development told our reporter that Prof Oba reached out to Aremu few days ago seeking to join the Labour Party in view of the alleged injustice meted out to him in the APC after the primary.
Oba, who lost out in a controversial manner to the candidate announced by the party, Alhaji AbdulRahman Abdulrazaq has vowed to reclaim his mandate with a view realise his lifelong ambition adding that such injustice cannot stand.
Over 2,000 supporters and members of the party loyal to Prof. Oba had protested in Ilorin on Monday over the decision to declare Abdulrazaq as the party’s candidate for the 2019 governorship election.
They accused the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammad of being behind the crisis rocking the party in the state.
Speaking on a radio programme penultimate week, Prof Oba rejected the declaration of Abdurazaq by the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) adding that he will continue to fight to reclaim the mandate freely given to him by the people of the state who voted for him.
There were online reports that Oba reportedly doled out N20million to some leaders of Labour Party in the state to be allowed to run as the party’s governorship candidate in 2019.
Several calls put across to Prof Oba by our reporter to get his reaction were not successful as he repeatedly busied his phone. Response of text message to that effect was still being awaited before this paper went to bed, last night.
But his aide, Mashood Alaka denied any alliance with Labour Party adding that his principal will remain with the APC whether the outcome of their complaint was favourable or not.
However, the Labour Party candidate, Comrade Issa Aremu and its state chairman, Comrade AbdulMumini AbdulKareem Onagun who confirmed the approach by Prof. Oba said that the party is ready to work with anybody or party in the state in conformity with its manifesto of good governance.
Onagun, vehemently denied that the APC guber aspirant had given them any money and challenged anybody with evidence to make it available to National Pilot for publication for the whole world to see reiterating that Aremu remains the party’s governorship candidate.
According to him, “You see, this is actually politics and you can’t rule out any good working alliance between individuals and political parties that have the same aspiration which is actually in conformity with our own manifesto.
“As long as we have such people around, who are ready to be submissive to our own manifesto and constitution that has to do mainly with good governance, we are ready to accommodate them no matter the number.
“Labour Party is an entity and we are on our own and as far as we are concerned Comrade Issa Obalowu Aremu remains our governorship candidate just like we have our 24 candidates for House of Assembly, six for the House of Reps and three for the senate whose names have already been submitted to INEC.
“I am aware he (Prof Oba) called our governorship candidate and they had some robust discussion and there is nothing bad in anybody calling because our candidate’s door is very free and open. It is not only about Prof Oba alone but anybody willing to come, no matter the level of education.
“As far as the 24 members of the State Working Committee (SWC) of Labour Party are concerned, there is no iota of truth that Prof Oba gave anybody any money and if anybody has any shred of proof, please let him show it to you and help publish it. But truth is that, he has not given anybody any money and I am talking as the Chairman of the Labour Party in Kwara. Comrade Aremu is not substitutable”, he added.
Also reacting in a telephone chat, Aremu said “LP is a party that wants to win election in Kwara and I am running on that mandate.
“From day one, we have said that we will work with all progressive forces that will bring about change in our dear state. An aspirant does not need to be aggrieved even those who are happy, as long as they are concerned with what is happening in the state, our party is open to collaborate and work with them including those who are not happy in the ruling PDP in the state.
“We have also said we need a bi-partisan approach to liberate our state and move it from poverty to prosperity and all the forces that are concerned about this change are welcome be it social or political forces, youth and women forces, that want us to change our status. Labour Party operates from that vision. We are the first to have our rancour free primary and the only thing binding LP together is our shared vision.
“We (me and Prof Oba) have discussed but nothing concrete like the way you put it but we have left our doors open for all the forces that want to bring about change in governance and ideas to run the state effectively and solve the myriad of problems facing it. And for me, this idea is far more important than talking about position. The party is clear that I am its flag bearer and I am the one that is pushing all these views and the party gave me the mandate based on that. My name has been submitted to INEC and I remain the non substitutable governorship candidate of the party. That is clear cut”, he added.