December 7, 2018
_*MY RESPONSE TO MR. JOE IGBOKWE – PUBLICITY SECRETARY OF APC*_
*Attempt to Hoodwink the Public:* When I raised some issues in my resignation letter to the Chairman of APC, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, the Lagos APC Publicity Secretary, initially dismissed me as an inconsequential person who is not worthy of being glorified with a response. Within 24 hours, he reversed himself with a response that is very robust on fiction but completely empty on substance and facts. Rather than address the issues of internal democracy, abuse of power, manipulation of democratic institutions and disregard for extant rules and guidelines that I raised in my letter, he embarked on a wild goose chase of character assassination and employed every trick possible to divert his readers’ attention away from the facts.
*Mr. Joe Igboke’s Allegations; and the Facts:*
Claim that I tried to reap from the challenges of internal party democracy: This is not true at all. At the time the Action Congress (AC) was engulfed in crisis in 2006, I was an aspirant for the House of Representatives (Epe Federal Constituency) on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Subsequently, one of the gladiators in the AC crisis, Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi emerged as the Governorship candidate of the Mohammadu Buhari-led All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) and made an unsolicited offer to me to be his Running Mate, based on my capacity for grassroots mobilization. We ran our campaign until when we stepped down and aligned with the Action Congress to work for Mr. Babatunde Fashola’s victory in the 2007 elections. Subsequent post-election talks resulted in the emergence of Senator Afikuyomi as Commissioner for Tourism in Mr. Fashola’s 1st TERM government, not 2nd TERM as claimed by Mr. Igbokwe. I did not join that government after the elections but went back to my job in the private sector.
*On the attempt to paint me as an opportunist:* I joined the Action Congress in 2007 and did not get any appointment until October, 2015. For the eight and a half years as a party member, I obtained no personal benefit but continued to spend huge resources to support the party and its members in and out of my constituency.
*On the claim of anti-party activities:* This is a figment of Joe’s imagination! I started politics in PDP in 2006, joined ANPP in 2007 and AC in same 2007. Since joining the AC/ACN/APC platform, I have never joined another party until my resignation from the APC in December, 2018.
*On his claim that I left APC because my wife was denied the Chairmanship ticket:* My wife, Dr. Arin Oluwo, a University of Lagos PhD holder, contested and lost the primary ticket for Eti-Osa II House of Assembly to the incumbent-Mr. Gbolahan Yishawu in 2011 and I did not leave the party. Again in 2017 when she was the leading aspirant, the party still denied her the primary ticket for Chairmanship of Ikoyi-Obalende LCDA and I did not leave the party. She also vied for same Eti-Osa Assembly II APC Primary ticket in 2018. Dr. Oluwo has been a major pillar of financial support for the party and its teeming members, sponsors schools programmes and extends scholarships to indigent students in her constituency. So my decision to leave the APC is independent of my wife’s aspiration.
*On his claim that my wife’s COWLSO membership is to court underserved visibility* – This is another wicked lie. Dr. Oluwo’s visibility was already established before she was graciously offered, unsolicited, the Chairmanship of the National Women’s Conference Planning Committee, organized by the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO). The COWLSO responsibility is an annual event from which no financial gains accrued. In case Joe is not aware, Dr. Oluwo has two major NGOs of her own focusing on youths and women empowerment, in addition to having multiple fully-funded endowments in her name, for the awards of prizes in 10 different disciplines, in the University of Lagos, the Lagos State University and the Federal University of Technology, Akure. It is possible the decision to offer her the COWLSO position was informed by her extensive involvement in the advocacy of women and gender issues particularly in organizations like the International Women Society (IWS), Graduate Women International (GWI), Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) where she holds strategic executive positions; and her yearly attendance of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
*On his claim that I wanted to advance my political fiefdom:* I joined the Action Congress in 2007 and I know it is absolutely impossible for any Commissioner to impose an aspirant or aspire to advance his/her political fiefdom in a tightly controlled party like the APC. I have never nursed such ambition.
*On the claim that I am a mole of the PDP:* It is a bogus fabrication. I have never been a full-time “professional” politician. In the eight and a half years (2007-2015) that I was in AC/ACN/APC before my appointment as a Commissioner in 2015, I was in full time employment within which period I held executive management positions as Vice-President, Group Chief Marketing Officer, Deputy Managing Director, Executive Director and Managing Director in four major companies in Nigeria. Indeed, I must have been a very jobless fellow to do such dirty job of a mole for eleven and a half years (eight and a half years as ordinary party member and three years as a Commissioner).
*A Case of Self-Inflicted Quagmire:*
It is apparent that the quagmire in which the APC finds itself at this time is self-inflicted, being a product of its brazen arrogance, insensitivity and impunity. If the APC had been resourceful in managing its success in Lagos State, the present uncertainty of their electoral victory in the State would not have tossed from being a “sure banker” into a “too close to call” swing state. No matter how hard Mr. Igbokwe tries to hide behind his finger, he still owes Lagosians genuine answers to the issues raised in my letter.
Immediate Past Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Lagos State
Telephone: +234 803 717 0796