APPOINTMENTS: OYO ACN-LADOJA PACT COLLAPSES
The accord between the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Accord Party (AP) for a working parliamentary relationship in Oyo State may have collapsed with Tuesday's election of the remaining principal officers of the State House of Assembly.
The result of the election, which saw the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) clinching three of the posts, including deputy chief whip, minority leader and the party's whip in the House, saw AP getting only the position of party whip in the Assembly in addition to the deputy speakership it earlier netted when the going was good with its former ally, which has 13 elected members to PDP's 12 and AP's seven in the 32-man Assembly.
The ACN swept the remaining offices of majority leader, chief whip, chairman, Parliamentary Council and the party's whip. The outcome of Tuesday's sitting confirmed speculations of a breakdown of the ACN - AP pact and a new romance with the PDP. It also signalled an apparent disapproval by the party of perceived unilateral agreement the state governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi struck with the leader of the AP, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, over the sharing of offices in the new government in the state.
Playing the beautiful bride, the AP, which was also being wooed by ACN's arch-rival, PDP, had demanded two ministerial portfolio and 20 per cent board appointments as well as headship and membership of at least four out of the yet-to-be-reconstituted 33 interim local government management committees as conditions for supporting and helping to stabilize the new government in the state, particularly through the parliament. The AP was reported to have particularly specified Ibadan North-east, Ona Ara, Egbeda and Lagelu local governments as its preferences.
Ajimobi, Daily Sun learnt, agreed to these concessions, which, according to sources, did not go down well with a section of his party, which considered the demands 'outrageous.' Before they fell apart, however, the two parties- ACN and AP had agreed to produce the speaker and deputy speaker respectively, which was firmed up at the inaugural sitting of the House on June 7. Sources said the PDP, which had been courting the AP, felt betrayed by the latter's alliance with the ruling party.
It then capitalized on the perceived cracks in the ACN-AP relationship by entering into talks with the ACN.
Tuesday's election of other parliamentary officers, which saw it compensated with three posts and left the AP in the cold, is seen as the result of the new deal hatched by the ACN establishment. The heavy security cover that attended the session on the fateful day was said to have been informed by security reports that some AP members planned to storm and disrupt the proceedings in the House. As a result, many journalists and members of the public were barred by security agents, who screened everyone going into the legislative chamber.
As it were, the fate of AP's man, Olaniyan Babatunde as deputy speaker might be hanging in the balance. An authoritative party source told Daily Sun: 'With 13 people working with 12 against seven, it's obvious his days are numbered. They can wake up any day and remove him.'
It is, however, uncertain if the governor would accept the new arrangement.