A power contest among the major blocs is threatening to tear apart the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in Oyo state.
Locked in the tussle are the Coalition of Nigerian Movement (CNM) led by a former Secretary to the State Government and associate of former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief Layiwola Olakojo, the Unity Forum, made up of former aggrieved All Progressive Congress (APC) members and a smattering of the original ADC members in the state.
The party was hitherto unknown in Oyo until the CNM, which has former President lusegun Obasanjo as patron revived it. It received a stronger shot in the arm when the aggrieved members of the All Progressives Congress under the auspices of the Unity Forum defected and moved there en mass.
But the new members and the old factions are at daggers drawn over the formula for sharing party offices. At issue specifically is the Unity Forum’s insistence that the state executives be chosen through elective congress to ensure internal democracy and party discipline, as against consensual arrangement said to have been agreed upon earlier by all the parties.
Credible party sources said the former APC members with a very large following were uncomfortable with the sharing formula initially proposed whereby the offices would be shared equally among the three factions.
They reasoned that the sharing arrangement would short change them, as they believed they had higher numerical strength than those they met in the party.
Following peace talks brokered by Chief Obasanjo in Abeokuta, it was reportedly agreed that the posts be shared between CNM and the original ADC members on one hand and the Unity Forum on the other, based on the latter’s perceived numerical strength and electoral value, some of its members having been tested and having won elections.
Fresh dispute, however, erupted after the parties returned from Abeokuta and the CNM insisted the offices would be shared on a 50-50 basis between the two camps.
This did not go down well with the ex-APC members, who then called for elective congress to fill the state executive council.
Consequently, August 6 and 11 have been fixed by the national secretariat of the ADC for congress to hold at the ward and the state levels in the state.
But the CNM has kicked against the move, accusing the Unity Forum of allegedly trying to hijack and control the party machinery from the ‘owners’.
A prominent leader of the group said last night: “Some members of the group are trying to take over the party by subterfuge, they’re organising a congress without our knowledge and contrary to what was generally agreed. We find that unacceptable. They can’t side-line the owners of the house!”
But a chieftain of the unity forum defended the group’s position, saying it was in line with the party’s rules and guidelines.
According to him, while his faction was ready to embrace the resolution reached at Abeokuta in deference to the culture of respecting elders, it rejected attempt by the state leadership to interpret it to suit its own selfish interest, stressing: “where culture conflicts with the legal position, the legal takes precedence.”
He added: “Given our antecedents fighting lack of internal democracy for which we left APC, we’re bound to stand up for fair play and justice.”
A peace meeting held in Ibadan on Saturday to resolve the brewing crisis ended in stalemate.
However, Space FM learnt that some national officials of the party are meeting with the feuding groups including elected lawmakers of the Unity Forum, to end the impasse.
Meanwhile, there are speculations that former governor of the state, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, with his supporters from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may be on his way to the ADC.
The politician who is also entangled in a leadership tussle with a faction of the PDP led by oil magnate, Seyi Makinde, is said to be plotting his defection to the ADC in protest of the PDP national leadership’s alleged favouritism of the rival faction.
But his speculated cross-over bid is said to be causing disquiet among stakeholders in the ADC, amid fears that it would worsen the power struggle in the party.