Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, has advised those he said are ganging up against his leadership to retrace their steps, reminding them that he has never lost any political battle since he joined politics.
The governor said this during the inauguration of newly elected Chairmen of 33 local governments and 35 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) at the House of Chiefs, Secretariat, Ibadan, on Monday.
Ajimobi said he remained focused and unperturbed by the activities of those he said had formed themselves into opposition within the fold of the All Progressives Congress, which he said was not a new development in politics.
The governor advised the new chairmen to run an all inclusive administration and to accommodate those that contested against them, including their political adversaries.
He said that the hallmark of good leader is to forgive and forget those who might have wronged them in one way or the other, urging the chairmen therefore to imbibe the same spirit and overlook the misdeeds of their political foes.
Ajimobi said: “Successful politicians are known through their attitude of forgiving their foes, especially after each political battle. This act of forgiveness has assisted me to win all my political battles and I want to use this opportunity to advise those ganging up against my leadership to retrace their steps.
“Leaders require large heart and maturity, and these attributes have made it possible for me to win over the calibre of former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala, a former Deputy Governor and Ambassador, Alhaji Taofeek Arapaja, Senator Teslim Folarin and others from the opposition parties.
“If I can achieve this with leading opposition figures, then there should be no reason why we should not make those campaigning against us to allow reason to prevail and come back to the fold, and anytime they do so, we will surely welcome and forgive them.
“Politics is full of disagreements, misunderstanding and mischief. We must be humble in victory and carry those who fight against us along in governance after every political battle. It is in the best interest of our people. Try to forgive.
“Go and check the holy books. The Bible and Quran are replete with rabble-rousers, trouble makers and mischief makers, but they both teach us to forgive. Note that there is no political battle we have not won and at every point, we forgive our adversaries. It is helping us today.
“It is good that we have many people running with us. If you run alone, you will come first and last in the race. But now, we have run with others and won, while they lost.”
He challenged the chairmen to see their victory as the beginning of greater responsibilities to serve the people at the grassroots, in accordance with the APC’s manifesto which, he said, focused on welfare and well-being of the people.
Meanwhile, the governor has traced the struggle for relevance by some APC members to the excellent performance of his administration which, he said, had made it impossible for any other party to flourish in the state.
Ajimobi said this while receiving APC leaders and elders across the state who said their visit was to congratulate him on the successful conduct of the local government elections and APC ward and local government congresses
The leaders, who passed a vote of confidence in the governor, said they did not recognize any splinter group aside the APC as one indivisible party under the leadership of Chief Akin Oke.
Speaking during the visit, Pa Solomon Akindele from Oyo zone said that the governor’s experience in the last few days was an eye opener for him to separate his true friends from pretenders and opportunists.
Akindele said that past political leaders like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Bola Ige and Alhaji Lam Adesina also experienced betrayals from their close allies and those who they brought into limelight through appointments and grooming.
He said: “I will urge you not to be disturbed by the antics of these ingrates because God has always fought your battles. Those that backstabbed the late Lam Adesina are the ones parading themselves now as Lamists.
“We went under the tutelage of Great Lam and we can confidently say that nobody can be more Lamist than us. We have come to appeal to you to overlook their transgressions. Call them back and forgive them.
“Your administration has done so well in infrastructure that will stand the test of time. All the road construction projects that you embarked upon are of good quality. This is among other reasons why people came out en masse to vote for you for a second term.”
Other leaders such as Alhaji Kamarudeen Ajisafe from Ibadan less city, Alhaji Femi Yusuf from Ogbomoso, Alhaji Muftau Adisa from Ibadan, Alhaji Olaide Abas and Chief Samuel Adekola from Oke-Ogun, extolled the governor for what they called his unprecedented achievements in the last seven years.
Among the visitors were Chief Lasisi Ayankojo, Oyo; Prince Kunle Sanda, Ibadan less city; Chief Samuel Laoye, Ibadan less city; Pa Sunday Adewale, Ogbomoso; Alhaji Bashiru Ajibade, Ibadan; Pa Lekan Adeyemo, Ibadan less city; and Dr. Adepeju Esan, Ibadan.
In his response, the governor thanked the leaders and elders for their insight and thoughtfulness, saying that he remained focused and undeterred in his determination to ensure cohesion within the APC and enhance the socio-economic development of the state.
Ajimobi said: “Unfortunately, those who we have helped before are the ones who have turned themselves into our enemies. I am using this opportunity to call on those aggrieved to come back home and accept defeat in good faith.
“Many of those fighting are doing so because of their interest to retain the tickets for the various elective political offices they are holding today. Some of them occupied certain offices for several years but we became their enemies because we told them to yield the space for others who are equally qualified for such positions.”