There is anxiety in Ogun State All Progressives Congress (APC), following feelers that Ladipupo Adebutu, the Chairman House Committee on Rural Development, may be perfecting plans to dump the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and defect to APC, reports Assistant Editor, Dare Odufowokan
THERE is palpable tension and anxiety within the Ogun State chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress following indications that the member representing Remo Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Honourable Ladipupo Adebutu, may be planning to dump the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and pitch his tent with the ruling party ahead of the 2019 General Elections.
Adebutu, a staunch member of the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the PDP, is the son of billionaire Adebutu Kessington and an ally of former Governor Otunba Gbenga Daniel. The younger Adebutu had before now, left no one in doubt of his readiness to contest for the governorship position of the state in 2019.
Reliable sources within the ruling APC, within and outside the state, revealed to The Nation that the Iperu-Remo born politician, may have resolved to move over to the ruling party in order to achieve his 2019 political ambition following the unending crisis that has crippled his current party, the PDP.
The Nation gathered that Adebutu, who before now is an unrelenting critic of the current APC administration in the state, led by Governor Ibikunle Amosun, may have started the process of his defecting to the ruling party by reaching out to some prominent APC leaders within and outside the state to facilitate a soft landing for himself and his associates.
The lawmaker, who is the Chairman of the House Committee on Rural Development, according to a close aide of his who craved anonymity, has been bothered about the dwindling political fortunes of the PDP in Ogun State, occasioned by the intra party crisis that has seen the troubled party divided into factions after the 2015 General Elections in the state.
The PDP in Ogun State today is divided into about three factions with each of the factions loyal to a political leader of their choice. While the most prominent faction remains the Omo-Ilu group, led by the member representing Ogun East in the senate, Senator Buruji Kashamu, another leading faction is that being controlled by Otunba Gbenga Daniel and Hon. Adebutu.
“The trouble within the PDP in Ogun State is enough for any serious politician to consider a shift to another party. It is wrong for anybody to accuse Hon. Adebutu of jumping from one party to another. As a politician who is desirous of contesting and winning elections, it is not out of place for him to be considering his political future very seriously.
“I can tell you that as a political group, we in LADO Organisation have had reasons to worry about the current state of the PDP. We have also had reasons to ponder on possible options for the purpose of achieving our political aspirations. This is not just about Ladi Adebutu, it is about the entire political family,” an aide of the lawmaker told The Nation.
It was also gathered that the lawmaker, through his prominent father and other dignitaries, may have commenced discussion with the governor over his plan to join the ruling party. A source very close to the leadership of the party in the state said recently that there were talks about Adebutu and some other chieftains of his faction of the PDP defecting to the APC.
“It is being discussed both within the ruling APC and the opposition PDP. We are hearing of their intention to join us. This has been on for a while now and although some of them have been denying it, some others have been openly fraternizing with our party in recent times. I even heard that Adebutu’s father met and discuss the possibility of his son joining the ruling party with Governor Amosun,” our source added.
It is also part of the talks going around that the lawmaker may also be considering trading his governorship ambition which he has worked really hard on within the opposition PDP, for a senatorial ticket, if he eventually defects into the ruling APC. Sources claim this new line of thinking is part of the deal being brokered with Governor Amosun by emissaries on Adebutu’s behalf.
“Knowing fully well that it may not be easy for him to defect into the APC and promptly grab the governorship ticket ahead of the 2019 election, Lado is willing to concede his guber ambition for a senatorial ticket if given a chance in the ruling party. Another reason for his willing to take the senatorial ticket may be his desire to square up against Kashamu in the contest for who represents Ogun East in the National Assembly,” another source added.
But if Adebutu and his associates are thinking the alleged move to APC will be welcome by all chieftains and members of the ruling party, then they are mistaken as many persons and groups within the ruling party are prepared to resist the defection of the lawmaker. The Nation gathered that ever since news of the planned defection hit the streets again during the week, not a few chieftains and members of the party have spoken up against it.
Last Thursday, a group of youths who came from three local government areas in Remo Federal Constituency, converged on the APC secretariat in Sagamu as early as 9.00am in the morning, to register what they described as their opposition to any form of co-operation between the ruling party and the camp of Hon. Adebutu.
The protesters, who claimed to have informed the leadership of the party in the zone of their intention to visits the secretariat in writing long before the day, chanted songs and lampooned those they claimed are working for the alleged defection of the lawmaker into the APC. According to them, only enemies of the ruling party in Remo zone will wish that Adebutu and his people should join the party.
Speaking to The Nation at the secretariat, located on Makun road, Sagamu, the spokesperson of the group, Prince Oluwaseun Adeosin, said APC youths in the zone are up against any plan by Adebutu to either defect into the party or have any working arrangement with the party because they cherish the peace currently being enjoyed within the party in the zone.
The former state youth leader of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), who is currently the Ogun East senatorial coordinator of APC Youth Network (APCYN), explained further that they will not stand idly and watch some defectors import the culture of violence for which the PDP is known for in the zone, into the ruling party.
“I want to tell you that today, we are here to openly say that we don’t want Adebutu and his people to come into the APC. It is not for any reason other than the fact that APC in Remo zone here in Ogun State is one happy peaceful family. We are not known to fight ourselves or engage in any form of violent politicking.
“However, the same cannot be said of PDP here in our zone. The violence nature of their brand of politics is legendary and that is what we fear. That is what we are up against. We will resist any attempt by any defector to import violence into our happy family just because they are looking for a platform to achieve their political interests.
“We informed the leaders of the party that we will be here. We sent a letter to our leaders to tell them that we will tell the world that we don’t want these PDP elements among us here. Only enemies of the ruling party in Remo zone will wish that Adebutu and his people should join the party. Those working for the alleged defection of the lawmaker into the APC are working against the party,” he said.
Speaking in the same vein, a chieftain of the APC in the zone, Alhaji Bariu Adetunji Shoda, described the rumored defection plan of the lawmaker as unacceptable to party members in Remoland. The septuagenarian, who was State Organising Secretary of the defunct Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN) and now a member of the APC Elders’ Forum in his local government, cautioned against indiscriminate acceptance of PDP members into the ruling party as the 2019 General Elections approach.
“While many people will expect us to be happy over this alleged defection plot, I want to say it categorically that most of our party members are unhappy to hear that Adebutu and his people may be joining us. Like you said, this is still a rumour but it is fast gaining ground. We don’t want to take chances. That is why many people are speaking out very seriously against it.
“What we are saying is that those who worked vigorously against our party when we were still struggling to build it should not be allowed to just come in and reap where they didn’t sow. I recall the many effort leaders, like my humble self, put into getting the likes of Adebutu to join the APC back then. Our appeal was that we wanted a party where Remo people will be united.
“But they rejected us and worked against the party,” he recalled, warning that any attempt to force Adebutu on APC lawmaker in the zone will create serious crisis. “We don’t just trust these people. I am afraid that if they are allowed to come into the APC, the unity and oneness for which APC in Remoland is known will be threatened,” he added.
Efforts to reach the lawmaker for his reaction to the development proved abortive as he could not be reached on his mobile phone numbers as at press time. But it is not the first time Adebutu will be fingered in a defection plot into the ruling APC. However, his camp has consistently denied any such plan by the lawmaker.
The last time was last January when Afeez Bello, a legislative aide to Adebutu, debunked the claim, saying, “our attention has just been drawn to an online publication which purports a planned defection of Honourable Oladipupo Adebutu, Member House of Representatives, and Chairman, House Committee on Rural Development, to the All Progressive Congress (APC).
“For the avoidance of doubt and especially for the sake of our teeming supporters who might be hoodwinked into believing the said story to be true, the publication is false in all matters particular, there is no iota of truth in it and the suggestion or assumption can only exist in the wild imagination of the writer. We are not unmindful of the political undercurrents behind this false publication, and this goes on to confirm the rising profile of Hon. Adebutu in the political landscape of Ogun State and Nigeria in general.
“We need to remind our people about the obvious missing links in the said write up; it does not add up logically that Hon. Adebutu who was elected popularly on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), holding an unprecedented overwhelming mandate of the people, did not join the APC even when there was hope of a successful governance by the ruling party, and it fails logic and reasoning that he will do so now that the party has demonstrated lack of capacity to govern.
“Perhaps this wild speculation would have looked possible and plausible if the APC had shown compassion for humanity which is the hallmark of Hon. Adebutu’s brand of politics, but sadly the welfare of the people appears not to be on the core agenda of the ruling party.
“However, one thing we have been able to take away from this false report is that Hon. Oladipupo Adebutu has climbed to such high pedestal in the politics of Ogun State so much that his name must be drawn into an obvious political propaganda warfare by all aspiring politicians, and we have no option than to wish them luck as we have strong faith in the capacity of the very enlightened people of Ogun State to discern truth from falsehoods at all times”.
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