Lagos APC dissolves groups within fold ahead of 2023

•As Aregbesola dismisses rumour of rift with Tinubu

The Lagos State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) has formally dissolved all political groups within the fold, ahead of 2023 general elections.

Both the Mandate Group and the Justice Group, the two most powerful groups, within the fold will no longer exist, following a meeting held at the Ikoyi residence of the National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu by members of Governor’s Advisory Committee (GAC), with him presiding and a communique issued thereafter.

Nigerian Tribune gathered that there had been alleged cold war between Tinubu and his associate, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, a former Osun State governor, and now Minister of Internal Affairs.

It would be recalled that Aregbesola recently re-launched the Mandate Group in the state, an exercise he was accused to have embarked upon without the knowledge of the APC national leader, with insinuations being peddled around that the minister was interested in running for president in 2023, an ambition that may pitch him against Tinubu who is also believed to be warming up.

Following the re-launch of Mandate Group, which exercise took place on May 26, 2020, a party chieftain in the state, Abdullahi Enilolobo, was picked as the new chairman, while Aregbesola emerged as the grand patron of the group.

However, the communique issued at the end of the meeting, titled: ‘APC is one Group, one Family,’ and signed by 27 party chieftains, including Tinubu, the incumbent, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, former Governors Babatunde Raji Fashola and Akinwumi Ambode, among others, resolved that all factions within the fold such as Justice Forum and Mandate Group were inimical to party unity and were hereby permanently disbanded and prohibited within the party.

Party members were, therefore, directed to henceforth no longer make use of the groups, which were considered as factions, “with regard to future party business and activities,” declaring that it would amount to “violation of this resolution” to continue to hold meetings in the name of those banned groups or to continue to promote such associations.

According to the communique, “The only permitted use of the names will be limited to historic references,” warning that any violation of this decision was subject to party discipline, including suspension and expulsion.

It reiterated that this prohibition extends solely to official party business, but quickly assured that the party leaders were in no way trying to abridge anyone’s constitutional rights to free speech or assembly.

While saddling the party chairman, Alhaji Tunde Balogun, with the duty of promulgating more detailed regulations with regard to prohibited and permissible activities for sub-party groupings, the communique declared pointedly that the party remained supreme, saying it had developed structures from the ward level to local government and state levels and recognised by the party’s constitution.

“They are adequate platforms for members to congregate and to present their views.

“The APC in Lagos is one party and one family. We must always act in this spirit if we are to attain the dream of democratic prosperity that we set out to achieve. We must do this in honour of June 12 and those who gave of themselves to make democracy our reality,” the communique concluded.

The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, on Tuesday in Abuja, the Federal Capital debunked claims of nursing presidential ambition in 2023 and also dismissed claims that he is at war with his leader and mentor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Aregbesola said He spoke in Abuja this against the background of the story peddled by an online publication, asserting that his loyalty to Asiwaju, who is also the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC) was not only total, but his commitment to whatever the leader wanted was unwavering.

The minister, who revealed that he knew where the story, which he tagged: “Rift with Asiwaju Tinubu?” was coming from and the identity of those sponsoring it, said nothing can be more impossible and nothing can be farther from the truth, maintaining that he remained committed to his mentor.

“Nothing can be more impossible! Nothing can be farther from the truth. I remain committed to my mentor,” Aregbesola said.

According to him, the Mandate Group that his detractors claimed has been banned is the most committed to the realization of Tinunu ambition, adding: “The group our detractors claim has been banned is the most committed to the realization of Asiwaju’s ambition.”

The minister continued: “They even said I have presidential ambition. False!”

He reiterated that the APC is one, and like an oak tree that keeps growing, saying his focus and goal was to execute his ministerial duties as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The minister, therefore, urged his supporters to ignore the publication in its entirety and refrain from being distracted from the goal of building a strong APC as well as a united Nigeria.

Signatories to the communique include Asiwaju Tinubu, Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwoolu; his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat; former governors Akinwunmi Ambode and Babatunde Raji Fashola.

Others are Alhaji Tajudeen Oluyole Olusi, Prince Henry Oladele Ajomale, Bushura Alebiosu, Chief Abiodun Ogunleye, Murphy Adetoro, Cardinal James Odunmbaku, Senator Tony Adefuye, S.A. Seriki, Chief Olorunfunmi Bashorun, Rabiu Oluwa, M.A. Taiwo, Mutiu Lawal Are, Dr Yomi Finnih, Muyiwa Sosanya, Tunde Samuel, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Chief Lanre Razak, Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker, Mudashiru Adisa Obasa; Alhaji Babatunde Balogun, party chairman; Wale Edun, Mrs Ranti Adebule and Kemi Nelson.

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