Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Immediate past Chief of Staff to Governor Ibikunle Amosun, Tolu Odebiyi, has disclosed why he resigned his appointment from the state government and parted ways with the governor.
According to Odebiyi, he quit his position last month in order to protect his “progressive political pedigree” and maintain loyalty to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Odebiyi, who was a front line gubernatorial aspirant of APC and now party’s Ogun West senatorial candidate for the 2019 poll, added that he had to decline his former boss’s instruction to defect to the Allied People’s Movement (APM) and run for a senatorial seat on the party’s platform, to further prove he is a loyal member of APC.
The former Chief of Staff gave these revelations in an interview with some newsmen on Monday at his country home in Ibooro, Yewa North Local Government Area of the state.
He expressed confidence that the APC will overcome the post-primary crisis rocking it and win the 2019 elections in the state and declared that the APM being promoted by the incumbent governor, would fail in 2019.
“I don’t like changing parties; I always believe that party supremacy must be respected. My antecedent and political pedigree has always maintained that and this is part of the things that have been imbued in me from the very early days. You stay within your party.
“I’m aware that it’s not everything that the party does that you feel comfortable with, but once you believe in the principles of the party and its manifestos, you stay with it”. He stated.
He, however, wondered why Amosun would ask him to move to another party when he (governor) was not prepared to dump the APC.
He added, “The same reason, the loyalty that he (Amosun) feels for President Buhari, the commitment that he feels for him to remain steadfast within the party is the same loyalty and commitment that I feel towards the APC.
“It’s a party that I feel that I have a stake in and to go with him because of the wrangling that was going on is tantamount to me severing my relationship with these people (supporters). And that, to me, was a tough price for me.
“As I said, he himself was not leaving the party. He himself maintains his loyalty and friendship with President Buhari. He himself wants to ensure he succeeds, the same way I want to ensure the party succeeds.
“I felt a sense of responsibility and obligation to my followers who have supported me since 2014; they sacrificed their time, money and everything to support me. I had to step down; governorship again, they did the same thing though disappointed, they were steadfast in their support. Finally, we got the Senate ticket and now I’m being asked to drop the Senate ticket and go to another party while my leader is not going with me. To me, I don’t get it.
“I felt what kind of leader would I be for my followers if I’m now given another ticket in an unknown party and I’m expecting them to follow me. I mean, it would seem as if one is indecisive. And what is the assurance that when you get to APM, you’ll not move to another?
“I felt it was fraught with risks. Our people may be confused. I felt that it poses a great danger for us in Yewa in the sense that if we all put our eggs in one basket and we all lose out; having lost governorship, now we are going to take a risk with our Senate. I just felt why not hold on to this one that we have, let’s fight on this one, at least let’s secure this one and all the others would come.
“I believe that didn’t sink well with him (Amosun); he didn’t like that position that I put forward. He thought I was being disloyal. And to me, loyalty has its limits. When your own pride is now on the line, you have to take a stand for something. And I had to stick with what I believed in and I felt I cannot be part of something that I do not believe in. To me, it’s just being straightforward honest.”
Odebiyi submitted that he remained undeterred by the conspiracy to field a senatorial candidate against him on APM platform, insisting that the electorate in the state are discerning in their judgment.