Reprieve came for the governorship candidate of African Democratic Congress (ADC) in Oyo State, Senator Olufemi Lanlehin, on Thursday, as aggrieved governorship aspirants, who are challenging his emergence in court, announced their discontinuance of the case and pledged to support his aspiration.
Two of the aggrieved aspirants, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja and Chief Lowo Obisesan, made the disclosure while speaking at the inauguration of Senator Olufemi Lanlehin Campaign Organisation (SOLANCO), renamed Handshake Campaign Organisation (HCO), at a well attended ceremony held at Jogor Centre, Ibadan.
Although the aggrieved aspirants who filed the case in court were 12 initially, three of them, Dr Kola Balogun, Dr Nureni Adeniran, and Mr Rauf Olaniyan, have since joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), while Akogun Sarafadeen Ali is now of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), leaving eight behind in the ADC.
Five of the eight, Senator Gbenga Babalola; Chief Lowo Obisesan; Chief Oluseye Opatoki; Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja and Honourable Wale Adegoke, attended the event where the declaration was made, explaining that the decision to withdraw the case was taken by all of them. They equally announced that though Mr Dele Adigun, Engr Remi Oseni and Dr Yunus Akintunde were absent, they were all in total support of decisions taken.
The peace deal that sealed the withdrawal of the case, NIGERIAN TRIBUNE learnt, was brokered by a former governor of Osun State and national coordinator of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola after several meetings with the aspirants.
Arapaja and Obisesan, told the mammoth gathering of excited party faithful that the decision to withdraw the case was borne out of their interest in the success of ADC at the polls as well as the gentlemanly disposition of Lanlehin, whom they said they had nothing personal against.
“There is nothing like do-or-die in our own politics. All power belongs to God. The strife is over and the battle done. In politics, we have often times used consensus arrangement to select candidates. But the problem came when one of the leaders started playing hide and seek with us.
“We were bitter about the whole thing but not to the extent of going after each other’s life. Those of us who slugged it out with our brother, Senator Lanlehin, for the governorship ticket of ADC, have therefore discontinued with the case we instituted against the emergence of Senator Lanlehin
“Only bastards will not be angry the way we did and only bastards will shun entreaties when appealed to. I can assure you that all of us jointly took the decision to withdraw the case. We have decided to support our brother, Senator Lanlehin,” Arapaja said.
Speaking earlier, a former governor of Osun State and coordinator of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), expressed the hope that ADC would form the next government in the state judging by the formidability of the party and the quality of the candidates fielded.
Oyinlola charged ADC members to work hard and win the state, saying “it is when the party forms the next government of the state that there can be gain for all members.”
He thanked the litigants for being magnanimous in withdrawing the case after “a lot of sleepless nights and meetings upon meetings,” adding that God had destined the governorship ticket for one person, even though many showed interest in it.
In attendance at the colourful event were Dr Adebisi Busari, Chief Olayiwola Olakojo, and Dr Hammed Gbadamosi, former Oyo State deputy governor, and several other party chieftains across the state.
Also present were the leadership and members of the ADC, led by the National Vice Chairman (Southwest), Dr Dele Ajadi, the state chairman, Alh (Dr) Ahmed Ayinla, and the secretary, Alh Wasiu Emiola, as well as other members of the state working committee.
The Handshake Campaign Organisation, constituted into several committees, is headed by Arch Basiru Lawal, with Hon Ladi Oluokun, Omotayo Oyetunji and Lanre Agoro, serving as deputy heads for Oyo South, Oyo Central and Oyo North, respectively.
Meanwhile, in a related development, the campaign train of Senator Olufemi Lanlehin is to hit Oyo Federal Constituency tomorrow, Friday, 18 January, 2019.
All four local governments in the zone are expected to be visited by Lanlehin and his team, according to a release by Lanre Ogundipe, Director, Media, Publicity and Protocol of the Campaign Organisation.