Why Fashola, Aregbesola Were Not Invited For APC S/West Leaders Meeting

There was confusion following the absence of Babatunde Raji Fashola and Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola from Sunday’s meeting of the South-West All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders.

In the notice of the meeting signed by a former National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, those invited to the meeting included the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; a former Ogun State Governor, Chief Segun Osoba, Gen. Alani Akinrinade (retd); the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and the Minister of Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo and another party leader, Chief Pius Akinyelure.

Other are the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu; his Ekiti State counterpart, Kayode Fayemi; Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State; the Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola; Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State and the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Alhaji Musiliu Smith.

However key stakeholders in the zone like Akeredolu and Fayemi did not show up at the meeting which backed the ban on open grazing.

The duo, on Monday, attributed their no show to a mix-up in communication, while backing the resolution of the APC leaders at the meeting held in Lagos.

But the Minister of Works and Housing, Fashola and his counterpart for Interior, Aregbesola, who were not at the crucial meeting have not officially given reasons for their absence.

A chieftain of the party, who confided in The Punch, said duo were not invited to the meeting.

Another top official of the APC, who spoke on condition of anonymity, stated, “If two former governors were at the meeting, I expected the ministers to be there. They are key stakeholders too.”

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Lani Baderinwa, an aide in charge of Public Communication for Chief Akande, could not be reached for comment on the matter.

Calls to his line did not go through and the reply to a text message sent to him on whether the ministers were invited, was still being expected as of the time of filing this report.

Also, Sola Fasure, an aide to the Minister of Interior, Aregbesola, did not respond to a text message asking if the ex Osun governor was invited. He did not pick calls to his mobile line as of the time of filing this report.

Similarly, Hakeem Bello, the spokesman for the Minister for Works and Housing could not be reached.

However, one of his former aides in Lagos, who declined to be named, said the minister did not mention about the meeting.

“I cannot say if he was invited or not; he never mention a meeting in Lagos to us,” he said.

But a source the meeting who spoke to The Punch, said there was no hidden agenda in the exclusion of some key stakeholders.

He said, “This is just the first in a series of meetings. They were not invited to this one because the issue at hand at the moment is internal.

“This is like foundation laying, they will be invited subsequently. The fact that they were not invited to this one is not to slight anyone.”

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