Traditional leaders of the progressives movement, the All Progressives Party (APC) in the South-West appear to have lost out to the ‘young Turks’ in the power equation, Sunday Tribune can report authoritatively.
Sources who were privileged to the detail of the strategic meeting the leaders — serving, elected and appointed members of the party — held in Ibadan, Oyo State, on Thursday confided in our correspondent that the leaders and governors of the party, who attended the meeting, also resolved to adopt a collegiate leadership system, as part of measures to return peace to the party.
The young elements in the party, it was said, challenged the idea of some leaders imposing their own will on the collective desire of the people, especially elected representatives.
In the end, the meeting, which the source said was “heated” agreed on a collegiate leadership structure that would not only accommodate all interests but would also restrict the leaders’ influence to their domains.
A collegiate leadership system means authority and responsibility in the exercise of control and influence will be shared equally among members of a group who are also called colleagues.
They also resolved to work together collectively and not allow anybody to divide and use them to feather anyone’s political nest, especially with the region being in the driver’s seat of progressive governance and ideology in the country.
Consequent upon the adoption of the new leadership formula, each leader of the party in the region has had his sphere of influence and control restricted to his state.
This is unlike the old political order where all leaders and governors deferred to former Lagos State governor and national leader of the party, Senator Bola Tinubu, for direction and leadership.
The new order, it was gathered, was championed by young elements in the party, including serving governor, ministers and others.
The young Turks were said to have contemplated boycotting the meeting if it had been scheduled to hold in Lagos State, as originally proposed, before it was moved to Ibadan, the political headquarters of the South-West region.
Three of the young elements, who vehemently pushed for restructuring of the leadership architecture, it was gathered, resolved to attend the meeting after the change of venue to foreclose the possibility of “unilateral decisions being taken” by the elders.
The trio have come across as representing the face of a generational power shift long crusaded by young leaders in the progressive fraternity in the region. They are also seen as “the president’s men” in the South-West over their position to support the decisions the party against personal considerations or ambitions.
They demonstrated this position of party supremacy during last November governorship election in Ondo State by openly supporting the party’s candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu, and inspiring him to victory.
The clamour for the collegiate system, Sunday Tribune gathered, was not unconnected with preparations for governorship elections in Ekiti, Osun states and the remaining states in 2019 general election.
APC National leader, Tinubu, is believed to have his own preferred candidates for the states, a situation that is said not to sit well with the governors, who also want to be seen as the base of power in their states.
The “president’s men,” it was learnt, are poised for a showdown with any leader who oversteps their delineated political territory (their states) to exert influence on the control of the power levers outside their states.
It was gathered that a governor, who has never hidden his loyalty for Tinubu, engaged the triumvirate in hot exchanges over their positions.
Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, host of the meeting, it was said, played the role of mediator by appealing to both camps for calm.
At the end of the meeting, the young Turks were all smiles having, according to an insider, “fought for and won political independence.”
When it was time for group photograph at the end of the meeting, Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr Kayode Fayemi, who was also at the meeting, intoned: “Afenifere,” while his colleagues and a few others chorused “Ire owo.”
APC interim national chairman and former governor of Osun, Chief Bisi Akande, who moderated the closed-door session, was saddled with raising a peace committee to midwife the smoothening of remaining rough edges.