Members of the South-West Committee of the All Progressives Congress met on Thursday on how to make a former Governor of Ogun State, Olusegun Osoba, the embattled Deputy Governor, Segun Adesegun, and others have a rethink on their defection to the Social Democratic Party.
The APC National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, who made this known in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents, said the committee headed by former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, has an ex-Minister of Information, Tony Momoh, as one of its members.
Mohammed neither gave the names of other members of the truce panel nor stated where the meeting took place.
He said, “We believe that the grievances are not irreconcilable and we are redoubling our efforts to bring them back. What we share in common with them is much more than the areas of disagreement.
“There’s nothing absolutely fundamental that cannot be reconciled. The party’s South-West committee on reconciliation is in a strategic meeting right now as I speak with you to ensure that the family remains one.
“We will concentrate efforts on bringing the major players into accord. The committee has the mandate to get to the root cause of the disagreement and achieve total reconciliation.”
It was gathered from a reliable member of the APC that the truce committee would meet soon with Osoba, Adesegun and others who joined the SDP, a party led by a former Presidential candidate of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party.
The other APC members that defected are Senators Adegbenga Kaka, Ghenga Obadara and Akin Odunsi, who represent Ogun East, Ogun Central and Ogun West respectively.
The defected members of the House of Representatives are Kunle Adeyemi, Babatunde Olabode, Olumide Osoba, Abiodun Abudu and Bukunola Buraimo.
Earlier on Thursday, Mohammed, in a terse statement expressed the hope that the defectors would reconsider their decision and beat a quick retreat.
He also pointed out that the defection would not affect the overall chances of the party in the forthcoming polls in Ogun State.
Mohammed added that the party was shocked by the defection because it came at a time efforts were ongoing to reconcile all its aggrieved members in the state.
He said, ‘’Yes, the defection of some our members will create some challenges for our party, but we will go back to the drawing board to restrategise and redouble our efforts to retain the state in 2015.
‘’Every member of our party is important to its overall success, but none is more important than the party. Against this background, no member can hold the party to ransom.’’
The APC spokesman said it was a mere fallacy for anyone to conclude that the defection of some members, irrespective of their importance, would dramatically alter the chances of the party in 2015.
He therefore urged the APC members in the state not to lose any sleep over the latest development.
A member of the House of Representatives, Kehinde Odeneye, who was reported to have also defected, said he was still in the APC.
Odeneye said, “Contrary to reports that I have defected to the SDP, I am still a bona fide and committed member of the APC and have not at any time defected or expressed the intention of defecting to any other political party.”
Odeneye said he was approached by those who defected to the SDP but he declined on the basis of principles.
“When they were about to defect, they approached me but I refused because I don’t believe in jumping from one party to another.”
The state publicity secretary of the APC, Sola Lawal, has however said the party cannot take any action yet against Adesegun since he has not formally defected to the SDP.
“I cannot tell you the sanction yet; let us wait until he finally defects,’’ Lawal said in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents.
He said, “We are not aware of the move the deputy governor is making, either to defect to another party or not. At the party level, there is no document to show that he has left the APC. Even Chief Osoba has not disclosed where he’s going.”
A member of the assembly, Remmy Hassan, told our correspondent in the state that it would be difficult for the 26 -member House of Assembly to impeach Adesegun.
The House is factionalised into 13 members loyal to Governor Ibikunle Amosun and the other 13 making up the opposition.
Hassan,who is the Leader of the opposition lawmakers, said they were patiently waiting for any attempt to impeach the deputy governor.
He said, “It will be practically difficult to impeach the deputy governor because there is no constitutional breach. However, everybody is awake even while asleep.
“We have 13 members each on both sides. But the other 13 loyal to the governor are at a disadvantage, because the Speaker, Suraj Adekunbi, who is on their side cannot not vote. He only presides.”
Efforts to speak with Adekunbi proved abortive as his telephone line was unreachable.
In Abuja, Chief Olu Falae described the defection of Osoba and others to the SDP as a welcome development.
He said, “I welcome all Nigerians to join this party from councillors to President because this party, although may not control the Federal Government, it is a party with a clear people- oriented ideology.
“It is a party which philosophy is zero tolerance for corruption. It makes the people the central object of its endeavour. Any party that is not doing all these is not a party.
“I hope all Nigerians will join this party so that the country could be a different nation. The country needs to be changed. Change is absolutely necessary.”
The former presidential aspirant also said he had consulted with his lawyer to interpret what the law says if a politician holding a public office dumps his party for another party.
“I have consulted a lawyer who told me that the legal interpretation is that the law only requires legislators to resign if they change their political affiliation. That is what I was told, I am not a lawyer. The lawyers will advise us as a party. We are law-abiding. It is whatever the law says that we will do.”
Asked what his party would do if the APC moved to impeach Adesegun , Falae said, “that would amount to being speculative.”
He said, “The election is next year February. I don’t think it is a major issue for now. The Deputy Governor may decide to resign or decide to stay depending on what the lawyers advise him to do.”