Discordant Tunes In Oyo Over IPAC Elections | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Discordant Tunes In Oyo Over IPAC Elections

Posted: Sep 27, 2015 at 12:01 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Oladele Ogunsola  Ibadan

Generally, only a very few people are aware that another election is usually held after general elections as both politicians and their supporters either engage in celebration or rescind to fate after the elections, depending on which side of the coin a party finds itself after the rigour of electioneering campaign. While victorious political party and its supporters embark on strategy to form the government, the loser party and its supporters lick their wounds and go back to the drawing board, in preparation for the general elections. But, to the core politicians, especially the political party officials, they are not done yet after the general elections as they, under the umbrella of Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) come together to conduct another election among themselves to determine who and who lead the group for a period of four years.

Amina Zakari, INEC Chairman

Amina Zakari, INEC Chairman

Just like each of the political parties has national body as well as state chapters, so also IPAC. The only lacuna in the IPAC affairs is that the major parties hardly participate in its activities and this can be understood from the perspective of having something to fall on after each election. At least, even, when a major political party fails to form government, it doesn’t mean that it has no elected officials, following which it engages in opposition while the ruling party holds sway. Most of the lesser political parties only exist on paper and in most cases without visible and traceable state offices, but, they are very active in the body-IPAC. This, it was gathered had to do with the benefit members derive through occasional workshops and seminars among others usually organized for political parties by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Those political parties that are active in the activities of the body however do not joke with it. They express the same passion they deploy to general elections and this manifested in the election of the officials of the Oyo State chapter of the body held at the Conference Room of the State Headquarters of the INEC, Parliament Road, Ibadan last weekend which turned rancorous. The election supervised by the INEC official and the representatives of the national body of IPAC witnessed a walk-out of some of the participating political parties due to alleged compromise on the part of INEC at the exercise not attended by the representative of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Indication that all was not well with the organisation of the programme, which had in attendance representatives of 21 out of the 26 political parties operating in the state manifested as early as possible with the rejection of the representative of the KOWA party on account that he was not the statutory official to represent the party. This led to protest championed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the representatives of four other parties, KOWA, Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Accord and Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) staged a walk-out. Not even the passionate plea by the National Publicity Secretary of IPAC,Ogbuenyi Dike, who came from Abuja on the directive of the Acting Chairman, Ajia Bala Zakari could persuade them participate in the exercise. Administrative Secretary of INEC, Pastor Ebenezer Fakorede also made frantic efforts, persuading the aggrieved parties, but all fell on deaf ears.

The State Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Hon. Kehinde Salawu, who spoke on behalf of the aggrieved political parties, in a preemptive manner alleged that INEC had compromised before the election, saying there could not be objectivity. He said, “it is better for INEC and IPAC to postpone the conduct of the election because the electoral body has compromised”. Ahead of the election, Salawu said there was no professional arrangement in the conduct of the poll and as such, there would be no fairness whatsoever in it.

The State Publicity Secretary of KOWA in the state, Pastor Tunde Ogungbay, who said he was the statutory representative of the party in IPAC was not at the programme because he had no invitation to that effect. He said he was not part of the whole thing because, up till the time he was speaking with our reporter on Tuesday, he was yet to be in the know of what transpired at the meeting. It was the same report from his counterpart in Accord, Dr. Nureni Adeniran who said the representative of the party in the agency was yet to brief him, stressing that he and other top notchers of the party had been mostly concerned with the party’s case at the tribunal. He was however of the view that the walk-out staged by the aggrieved party members might not be unconnected with their loyalty to the KOWA representative, who was said not to be the rightful person to represent the party. All efforts to get the reaction of the PDP spokesperson, Salawu after the election proved abortive as he did not pick of the calls put through to his mobile line.

Meanwhile, following the walk-out by the aggrieved political parties, only 16 thereafter participated in the election which saw the emergence of Micheal Akinropo (AD), Alhaji Waheed Oyewole (Hope Democratic Party),Adegboye Adelu (ACP) and Dr. Smart Owopegba as Chairman, Vice- Chairman, Secretary and Assistant Secretary respectively. The posts of Treasurer, Public Relations Officer (PRO) and Financial Secretary went to Abiodun Olayinka (CPP),Abimbola Tewogbade (PPA) and Olalekan Raji (PPN) respectively.

In his acceptance speech after the election, Akinropo called for the continuity of the existing peace in Oyo State, saying “I am ready to lead the committee to better performance”. The shortcomings of the exercise notwithstanding, Dike, who conducted the election expressed happiness with the conduct of the exercise, adding that the parties that abstained did so on their own volition. He said, “we have 26 registered parties, 21 were accredited, while 16 voted. So, we formed a quorum in conducting the election”. The IPAC National Officer however urged the members of the body to reach out to the aggrieved parties and bring them back to the fold. Administrative Secretary of INEC, Pastor Fakorede described the election as free, fair and peaceful, saying “ it is constitutional and strengthens democracy”.

He maintained that the conduct of the election would ensure good governance in the country.