Lowo Obisesan, a lawyer and Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was Commissioner for Environment during the first term of former Governor Abiola Ajimobi. In this interview with RAJI ADEBAYO, he speaks on the ongoing peace move among the various factions in the party in the state and other political issues. Excerpts:
Recently there was a meeting between you, former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala, Senator Teslim Folarin, and few others; can you tell us the details?
You will recollect that during the period of our late leader, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, there was a crisis and it is very clear why we had that crisis. It was difficult to differentiate between people who are in government and the party structure. That eventually brought a lot of crisis into the party. We can say it is a basic internal problem that compelled many progressive leaders like myself; former Governor Alao-Akala and other notable leaders to leave the party. But after the loss of the governorship election by our party, some of us decided that the person we were having those grudges against were former leaders of the party. There were many of these former leaders who were running it before we came back to the party.
Do you mean like Chief Akin Oke?
Yes, but many other leaders like that, including the former governor. The way they were running the affairs of the party compelled many of us progressives to leave. After the loss of the election as I said, some of us who believed in nothing but progressivism decided to return to the party, of course, on the invitation by leaders of the party like Senator Bola Tinubu, Pa Ayo Afolabi, and others like that. For example, they came to meet many of those who had left the party and asked us to return. So, when we got back to the party, we felt we needed to come together to bring it back to regain its lost glory. And to that extent, many other leaders like Chief Alao-Akala, Teslim Folarin, Senator Fatai Buhari, Bumvic, and even my brother, the prince from Oyo, Akeem Adeyemi as well as many others…
What is the place of the former minister, Adebayo Shittu?
He is with us. Every one of us is just coming together to make sure that the party regains its lost glory. But I must be honest with you; God has His own way of making things work. Before the demise of the late former governor, Ajimobi, he was the one that asked ‘of what benefit would it be to us if we were not together?’ So, we decided that time that the executive committee of the party under the leadership of Chief Oke, we should constitute a committee. To that effect, the committee was set up, headed by the most senior in the APC, former Governor Alao-Akala. He had spent five years as the governor of the state. So, to that effect, we were moving around. And there is another forum, the APC Reformer Group which consists of nearly all the members of the former Unity Forum and some other members who were aggrieved but are stronger politically. So, we have been going around the state for reconciliation.
Do you have the former lawmaker, Akinade Fijabi in the group?
No, he is not involved. When it comes to political consideration, they are not there. We have been going from one zone to another to make an appeal to all those who have grievances and we have succeeded in bringing back a lot of them. To that effect, I think we are really waxing stronger now.
In politics, nothing happens too early, are we talking of galvanizing the APC towards the next governorship election now?
If really one is conversant with the current situation in Oyo State and the people we have been mentioning, one should know that we are preparing to take over Oyo State through the next election.
I don’t see anyone of those three names we first mentioned, including you, who is not qualified to be governor, who among you is likely to get others’ support for the ticket?
If you say that, we might just be preempting the Almighty Allah. But it is a fact that Oyo State is not appointing or bringing in anyone as the governor who is not a politician.
Can you explain that?
This coming election, I want to tell you that the position of the APC is that whoever is coming to be the governor is going to be a politician.
Are you saying the current governor is not a politician?
To say the fact, we know that he is a technocrat, but tell me, what experience has he garnered before becoming governor?
Is that not what have been clamoring for; to have persons who have made their marks in private businesses in public offices?
It’s their own view; that is not what people are saying. The truth is that when you put businessmen in government, the majority of them think about how to borrow money and at the end of it, make money from it, trying to make sure that they offset the loan and then, make money.
Politics has to do with a high sense of governance; somebody that knows exactly what the people need and what concept to use to achieve that. If you say technocrats, they are people who have their distinct areas of specialization. They could be people who have a sense of business. Business does not go with politics. If you are a politician, you know that if you don’t do certain things for the people, you would not be able to win the next election.
But he has an array of advisers and other aides who can give these deliverables on his behalf. Is that not so?
In politics, we have many shades of professionals. Maybe he is an engineer in his own professional calling. We have lawyers, engineers, accountants, and so on. Some of these aides they bring in are their friends. Many of them don’t really know what they want to do in government.
About Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, his efforts in bringing the APC together in Oyo State, is it not about his presidential ambition in 2023?
He is a good leader. He is still very worried. He (Tinubu) said what pained him most was that the APC lost Oyo State. We have been making sure that the crises which brought about the defeat in Oyo state are resolved. He and other leaders invited us to Osogbo, even before the demise of the late former governor. He asked us to come back; aside from that, in our coming back, he played a very significant role. He has been playing those leadership roles. If you watch recent reports, he has been meeting with a lot of leaders in Oyo State, galvanizing the APC towards 2023.
Chief Alao-Akala came from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), went to another party before landing in the APC. How much confidence and trust do you have in him?
I have a lot of confidence in him. Many of us are making mistakes, saying he left PDP and came to the APC. None of us that is aged in politics can say he had not been to another party. The first election he won was in the All Peoples Party (APP). And at a time, some people were making the mistake that the late Papa Lamidi Adedibu was not a progressive. It is erroneous, a fallacy. He was the first youth leader of the Action Group (AG).