The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun State took to another dimension yesterday when protests by party members marred the presidential campaign rally as they booed the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, former Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Raufu Aregbesola, and Director General of the APC Presidential Campaign, Rotimi Amaechi.
In the same vein, former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for the first time in the APC Presidential campaign, declined to make a speech at the event as he exited the venue through the backdoor as President Muhammadu Buhari made his speech.
President Buhari, just as he did at the presidential rally of the APC in Owerri , Imo State, asked members of the party in the state to vote for any candidate of their choice apart from the presidential election.
Trouble started early in the rally shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari made a triumphant entry into the 35,000 capacity Moshood Abiola Stadium in company with the Vice President Yemi Oshinbajo, Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State and other chieftains of the APC.
The Director General of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Rotimi Amaechi in his opening remarks noted that the rally was an APC campaign, a note that was received with a resounding shout of “no”, ”no” from the stands.
The protests got louder when the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole came on board and disclosed that his mission was to introduce President Muhammadu Buhari and the gubernatorial candidate of the party.
The disclosure sent the stands into uproar and sachets of water were hauled in the direction of the party chairman where other party chieftains were seated.
Governor Amosun had to step in to appeal to the party members to be calm and not “disgrace” him before President Muhammadu Buhari.
His repeated appeals fell on deaf ears and went into crescendo as the insistence of Comrade Oshiomhole to present the party flag to Prince Dapo Abiodun, further infuriated the party members.
This led to uncontrollable heckling from the stands, forcing security men to erect a barricade around the President and other party chieftains. When it was time for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to speak, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, former Governor of Osun State, stepped in and his pronouncement that there were unfaithful party members at the gathering fuelled further shouts of rejection from the stands and he had to be cut short to take his seat.
President Muhammadu Buhari, apparently noting the crisis at the rally, thanked party members for turning up in their numbers to receive him. He admonished them to vote for him in the February 16 presidential election.
However, on the much awaited presentation of the gubernatorial candidate of the party, the president advised members of the party “to vote for any candidate of their choice”. When Comrade Oshiomhole and some party members took Prince Dapo Abiodun to the president for him to present, the president instead announced, ”for the other elections, let the people of Ogun State decide”.