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Oyo 2019: Tinubu Denies Banning Ajimobi from APC Rallies

National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has refuted an online report that he ordered Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State not to take any further part in the party’s campaign activities ahead of Saturday’s governorship election.

Tinubu also denied claims he had sidelined the governor and taken over control of the party structure in the state following Ajimobi’s defeat in last Saturday’s national assembly elections in which he was the Oyo South Senatorial District candidate.

The party also lost the presidential election in the state to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party by a narrow margin.

A statement in Lagos today by Tinubu’s media aide, Tunde Rahman, described the report as “a vindictive attempt to sow discord because the writer is angered by the APC’s success in the presidential election”.

Clarifying Tinubu’s recent interventions in the affairs of Oyo APC, the statement noted that “Asiwaju is not trying to supplant or hide the governor. Instead, Asiwaju is lending his support to the governor’s and APC’s efforts in the state. They are partners not rivals.”

Read the full statement below:

Re: Tinubu Bans Ajimobi – The Tree of Falsehood Grows.

SaharaReporters seems unable to mend its ways. Instead of trying to publish what is fair and accurate, it rather grows its tales from seedlings of untruth and calumny. This online newspaper no longer bothers to offer the pretense of seeking the truth. For SaharaReporters, whatever is sensational must be true and whatever is true must be sensational. The real truth is that SaharaReporters no longer cares if its reportage is right. SaharaReporters just cares that it is widely read. It dare not allow veracity to hamper its business model. This is a disservice to ethical journalism which honors truthful, accurate reporting.

The report titled “Tinubu Bans Ajimobi from Appearing at APC Governorship Rallies” is another of SaharaReporters’ excursions into falsehood. The report claims that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu somehow has banned Governor Abiola Ajimobi from attending APC campaigns for Saturday’s governorship election in Oyo State.

This report goes beyond a lie. It is a vindictive attempt to sow discord because the writer is angered by the APC’s success in the presidential election. Thus, the writer has cast truth aside in his angry desire to inflict some kind of electoral wound on the APC. However, the writer should refrain from this path of falsehood. It would be better for the writer to come to grips with reality and to accept the fact of the APC presidential victory and the likelihood of APC victories in most governorship elections, including that of Oyo.

The mischief that SaharaReporters cites is not between Tinubu and Ajimobi. It is solely in the mind of SaharaReporters. By its unsubstantiated report, the medium seeks to set brother against brother. Asiwaju and Governor Ajimobi have been political brothers and allies for a long time. Their friendship existed long before SaharaReporters came to the scene and will endure long after this self-diminishing online site is no more.

Moreover, Governor Ajimobi has been an excellent governor and a faithful member of the APC. He has brought progress to the state and in serving two consecutive terms, Ajimobi made history in Oyo. He is instrumental to anything the APC can achieve in Oyo. The truth is that Asiwaju is not trying to supplant or hide the governor. Instead, Asiwaju is lending his support to the governor’s and APC’s efforts in the state. They are partners not rivals.

As such, he has held strategic meetings with some notable groups and important individuals. The heart of the discussions was the need for all to come together to achieve victory for APC in the March 9 governorship poll. At no time did the issue of banning anybody, talk less of Governor Ajimobi, enter into the discussions. We want and need Governor Ajimobi to be a visible figure at the forefront of this campaign during these final decisive days. He will prove pivotal to our hope for victory in the state.

SaharaReporters betrayed its abject bias with this report. It makes absolutely no sense to even try to stop a sitting governor from campaigning in that governor’s state. Such a move would only create enmity and hinder, not help a campaign. For SaharaReporters to claim this is to claim that Asiwaju is a political novice. Asiwaju has never barred anyone from participating in a campaign. Why would he now start with Ajimobi in Ajimobi’s own state?

In addition to not having such a negative inclination, Asiwaju wields no such power and has no desire to have such power. Ajimobi is a sitting governor who can travel his state as he pleases. Who can dare stop him? We want him in and at the rallies.

Asiwaju’s intervention in Oyo was to engender genuine reconciliation. To exclude this good and able governor would have aborted this mission before it started.

Asiwaju views Governor Ajimobi as highly disciplined and a committed and respected party leader, unlike some others who have no respect for party supremacy. The relationship between them remains solid and loyal. And one hundred false reports by one hundred SaharaReporters cannot change that reality.

Tinubu Media Office,
Tunde Rahman,
March 4, 2019.

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