There was palpable confusion on Sunday in the Ogun State chapter of the All Progressives Congress as the party prepares to host President Muhammadu Buhari.
Buhari is billed to visit the state on Monday (today) in pursuit of his re-election.
The party in Ogun State has been factionalised. A faction is led by a former governor of the state, Segun Osoba, while the other is led by the state Governor, Ibikunle Amosun.
Amosun has been allegedly sponsoring the Allied People’s Movement while he is a senatorial candidate of the APC in the coming election.
The Osoba faction, which is in control of the caretaker committee of the party in the state, has been running the affairs of the party weeks after the party primaries, which were characterised by controversies.
It was gathered on Sunday that while Osoba’s faction was planning for Buhari’s visit, Amosun was said to have mobilised various people and organisations across the state to the venue, MKO Abiola International stadium.
Osoba’s faction had issued a separate statement signed by the state Publicity Secretary of the APC Caretaker committee, Tunde Oladunjoye, announcing the visit of Buhari to the state.
The statement reads in part, “The rally, which will hold on Monday, February 11, 2019 at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abeokuta, Ogun State from 10.00 am, will see President Buhari handing over the flag of the party to its gubernatorial candidate, Prince Dapo Abiodun.
“National and South West leaders, state governors and executives of the party are billed to attend the rally.
“While enjoining our members, supporters and well wishers to come in their large numbers and arrive early for the rally, we want to remind the members of the public, especially the security agents, that this is an APC rally.”
It added, “We must ensure a peaceful and hitch-free event that will give Mr President a befitting reception and make the event memorable.”
Amosun’s faction, in its move to host Buhari, sent a statement also announcing the coming of the President to the state.
The Secretary to the State Government, Taiwo Adeoluwa, in the statement he issued, which was forwarded to many people in the state including our correspondent, announced that the President would meet with members of the state traditional council.
The statement reads, “Public service announcement: President Muhammadu Buhari ‘s scheduled visit to Ogun State for the APC presidential campaign rally and parley with the chairman, and, members of the Ogun State Council of Traditional Rulers will now hold on Monday, February 11, 2019.
“All stakeholders are enjoined to please take note and adjust their programmes accordingly.”
Meanwhile, the Osoba faction has alleged that Governor Amosun was planning to sponsor members of the Allied People’s Movement to cause violence in the state during and after the presidential rally.
The statement, signed by Oladunjoye, reads, “It has become necessary to alert the general public, especially the security agencies, that the members of the Allied People’s Movement, being sponsored by the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, are planning to disrupt and cause mayhem and bloodshed at the presidential rally slated for the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta tomorrow, Monday.
“Intelligence reports at our disposal reveal that leaders of the surrogate party have been circulating messages to their members to attend the APC presidential rally in specific uniforms and campaign materials in such a way that they will be identified and saved from attacks that will be unleashed on the APC members as soon as the flag is presented to the APC candidate, Prince Dapo Abiodun.
“The plan to embarrass the President and attack our members at the rally has actually been on for about a month and it is only being perfected now. Governor Amosun is mobilising people who have been instructed to boo the President when he hands over the flag to the APC governorship candidate, Prince Dapo Abiodun.”
The statement adds, “To prepare grounds for this machination, some hoodlums were empowered to paint some of the signage of the APM with black paints with the evil intention of ascribing the act to the APC members.
“This was the same thing Amosun did in 2003 and heaped the blame on Aremo Olusegun Osoba.
“Violent uproars will also be sponsored in some local government councils and development areas with a plan to suspend their chairmen who have been tagged as loyalists of Prince Dapo Abiodun.”
When contacted, the embattled Publicity Secretary of the party in state, whose exco was sacked by the national leadership of the APC, Wole Elegbede, said Governor Amosun remained the coordinator of President Buhari Campaign Council.
Elegbede said the governor’s position had empowered him to be in charge of the presidential rally in the state.
He said, “Governor Amosun is in charge. He has mobilised all the members from all the polling units across the state to the venue of the rally.
“He has directed that all members of the party should be at the MKO Abiola stadium to welcome the President.”
When contacted for reaction to the allegation by the other faction that the governor was planning to unleash mayhem, both the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Amosun on media, Rotimi Durojaiye, and Special Assistant to the governor on media, Imoudu Eshiomohmo, did not respond to the messages sent to their phone numbers as of the time of filing this report.