By Sunday Oguntuyi, Osogbo
In what seems to be an attempt to formally take over the structure of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun State by Rauf Aregbesola, minister of interior, a group loyal to him within the party in the state, The Osun Progressives (TOP), has resolved to return to the main stream of the party.
This, the group said, is with a mindset of settling political differences which have lingered for over three years.
The factional group led by former Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Najeem Salaam, on Tuesday announced the dissolution of all factions and the popular caucus of the party.
Addressing a press conference in Osogbo, Salaam who led other APC members, majority of who are loyalists of Aregbesola, described the loss of the July 16 governorship election to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as painful and a mere distraction.
Salaam declared a cessation of hostilities within the APC, just as he invited other progressives in other caucuses in the party and and like minds across the state to join them in the new project of reuniting members of the party.
He assured the people of the state that the progressive party that promotes their interest, protects their values and guarantees their rights is alive and ready to champion their cause once again.
The former speaker of the State Assembly said APC is the platform for Omoluabi (virtuous) politicians and not the theatre of absurdity for all comers, regardless of character.
Salaam thanked leaders of the party for their belief salvaging “their heritage regardless of the circumstances of the prevailing misunderstandings.”
He said: “We are gathered here today, given the trajectory of our party and the electoral misfortune we suffered in the governorship election of July 16, 2022, leading to our painful loss, to espouse our resolve and the way forward.
“We are here to inform the generality of our members and admirers that the progressive party that promotes their interest, protects their values and guarantees their rights is alive and ready to champion their cause once again.
“Our party has a tradition of progressivism dating back to Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s Action Group in the First Republic.
“The progressive government of Awolowo’s AG provided free education, integrated rural development, quality healthcare delivery, enhancement of agriculture and industrialisation which boosted the living standard of the people and created a 50-year development gap between the South-West and other regions.
“This is our tradition, the tradition that brought us to power in 1999, returned us to power again in 2010 and kept us in power for three terms. Progressive governance in Osun, headed by our leader, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, gave the state its biggest development fillip in all ramifications. We are going back to our roots. The present setback is a mere distraction.
“Therefore, I, Right Honourable Najeem Folasayo Salaam, conscious of the huge responsibility of history and the support of our sincere and committed progressive leaders and members in the State of Osun, declare cessation of hostilities and invite all genuine progressive to an all-inclusive meeting for the rebuilding of our party within the next one week.
“We are therefore extending our hand of fellowship to everyone who is a progressive at heart and loves good governance in our party, in the other parties and independents who are hitherto not aligned to any party.
“This is a call for unity of purpose in our party and beyond. It is a call for burying the hatchet and work for the greater good and service to humanity through progressive governance.
“With the sole objective of ensuring ‘freedom for all and life more abundant’ for the people. Our party is the platform for Omoluabi politicians not the theatre of absurdity for all comers, regardless of character.
“I am here to announce the dissolution of factional tendencies of all shades in the party with the sole objective of harmonising all core Omoluabi progressives on a rebuilding mission that will bring us back to the leadership of our State and people.
“We are hereby dissolving The Osun Progressives (TOP) and the faction of the party associated with it to facilitate the unity of purpose that this time requires. For effective closure, we will have a truth and reconciliation forum within the party when fully restructured with a sole purpose of preventing any recurrence of the ugly past.
“With this hand of fellowship and the olive branch, it is my belief that a new vista of hope, vision, passion and action will emerge in our party.
“We are Omoluabi in politics and everything we do. Omoluabi is the Yoruba encapsulation of the total person. An Omoluabi is a person of honour and integrity. An Omoluabi is chivalrous, enlightened, spiritual, kind-hearted and public spirited. An Omoluabi is not greedy, vicious, selfish or self-serving. Omoluabi personifies the very best of virtues,” Salaam stressed.