The All Progressives Congress and Zenith Labour Party in Oyo State have commenced merger talks aimed at ousting the ruling Peoples Democratic Party Government of Seyi Makinde in 2023.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that major stakeholders from both parties met at Premier Hotel in Ibadan on Friday.
The APC group was led by Chief Akin Oke, the State Caretaker Committee Chairman, while Alhaji Sharafadeen Alli, the 2019 ZLP governorship candidate in the state, led his party’s team to the merger talk.
A coalition of ZLP, PDP, SDP, ADC and a faction of AD produced Makinde as governor of the state in 2019.
Wale Ohu, Spokesperson of the APC group, said both parties were at the meeting to deliberate on possible merger and future elections.
Ohu said the meeting was to consult on how both parties could work together to ensure a better Oyo State.
He said: “We discussed how to move this party forward, to move the state forward and the signals were very impressive.
“The ZLP, symbolised by Ladoja group, and the APC, led by our own party chairman, Chief Akin Oke, are here for deliberation and consultation.
“That is why we are here.
“It was a nice one.
“We are looking at the possibility of working together as politicians that we have been in Oyo State.
“The faces are not new, we know ourselves.
“We look at the possibility of making Oyo State better if we can now work together.
“That is the paramount thing in our mind and that is the essence of the sitting.
“I think we are progressing.
“The meeting was a very nice one as old hands met, threw banters and we had consultations.”
Ohu said the meeting was about the APC as a party, which had former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala as a member and ZLP with former Governor Rasheed Ladoja as a member.
Adeolu Adeleke, Spokesperson of ZLP, confirmed the meeting, saying they were yet to take a precise decision.
Adeleke said they would in a couple of days meet with the PDP too, adding that they would belong to either the APC or PDP.
He said: “This is a period of consultations.
“We are not members of PDP.
“We have met with APC at the state level.
“In a couple of days, we are going to meet with PDP also.
“The final decision will be taken on a particular party we will work with.
“So, we are just meeting ourselves.
“So, this will not be the last meeting, I can rightly say.
“One thing I can tell you on a good note is that at least for now, from human angle, and human perspective, it is either we belong to the PDP or APC at the end.”
Adeleke declined comment on whether the meeting was approved by a former Governor of the state, Senator Rashidi Ladoja.
He, however, affirmed that he would not engage in any meeting without the former governor’s consent.
“One thing that I can tell you authoritatively is that I can never engage myself in such a meeting without the consent of Senator Rashidi Ladoja,” he said.
On the APC team were Senator Teslim Folarin (APC-Oyo Central), Segun Odebunmi (APC-Surulere/Ogo-Oluwa Federal Constituency), Akeem Adeyemi (APC-Oyo Federal Constituency) and Asimiyu Alarape.
Also on the APC delegation were Mojeed Olaiya; the State APC Caretaker Secretary, Chief Lowo Obisesan; Dr. Olusola Ayandele; Yinka Taiwo; and Olawale Sadare, amongst others.
Other stakeholders on the ZLP delegation were Bimbo Adepoju, Waheed Akanbi, Alhaji Serifat Tanimowo, Monisola Tegbe, Idowu Olaniyan, Kazeem Raji and Koyejo Oyetunde.