President Muhammadu Buhari’s medical vacation may have temporarily delayed the next step in the continuing efforts by Southwest progressives to rebuild the bloc into the most cohesive entity in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
Party sources told Vanguard over the weekend that following the success of the first meeting held penultimate Thursday that it had been resolved that the rebuilding efforts would be taken to a higher level with another meeting to be hosted by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.
That meeting it was gathered, has, however, been put on hold because President Buhari has gone on leave with Prof. Osinbajo standing in for him as Acting President.
“You know it would be inappropriate for Osinbajo as Acting President to be sitting in and presiding at such a regional meeting at this time,” a source privy to the process said.
Abba Kyari, President Buhari and Adesina
The move to reinforce the cohesion of the progressives in the Southwest, Vanguard learnt, was spearheaded by former governors Olusegun Osoba and Bisi Akande towards the end of last year.
The two leaders, it was learnt, were said to have following the groundwork they did in building consensus for the meeting, passed on the responsibility of hosting and summoning the meeting to Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State; that was because of the latter’s position as governor over Ibadan, the political headquarter of the Southwest.
A source at the January 12, 2017, meeting spoke in glowing terms of the success of the meeting which he said achieved all the aims as initially conceived by Osoba and Akande, including attendance.
All political office holders invited for the meeting with the exception of the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yusuf Lasun who was out of the country were in attendance.
“Akande and Osoba had before the yuletide passed on the message to the political leaders to set aside January 12 for the meeting,” the source said in acknowledging the success of the meeting from the point of attendance.
It was also gathered that contrary to some claims, that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos State did not walk out of the meeting.
The former Lagos governor who the source praised for his candour and cool disposition throughout the meeting came with a chopper and because of approaching inclement weather could not join the post-meeting buffet.
“Yes it is not as if we didn’t speak to ourselves, we did, but it is not as some have alleged. It was a success in all rounds, and we are looking forward to the next phase of the talks when personal issues and the agenda for the region would be deliberated upon,” the source said.
One of the issues discussed at the meeting it was gathered, was the culture of handpicking party candidates, a phenomenon party members said was strange to the political culture of the region.
“We don’t do handpicking in the Southwest, what is done is to put everything in a basket, and it goes round,” the source revealed.