By OLUSESAN LAOYE
Despite the euphoria by some of the All Progressives Congress leaders, over the emergence of Senator Iyiola Omisore as the National Secretary of the party, the implications of his position, has created far reaching effects on the party and members in the South West and Osun State in particular.
Right now, there is great disquiet and consequences that are likely to erupt, as not only those in Ogbeni Aregbesola’s camp of the Progressives, who had at the beginning opposed to Omisore’s joining the party and even his nomination as the secretary have seen the danger in Omisore’s secretaryship.
Even those with Governor Gboyega Oyetola are now crying fowl over his emergence, as they realised that with Omisore as the National secretary, their influence would dwindle in Osun state despite the fact that they are loyal to Governor Oyetola.
They now realised that with Omisore at the national, holding the second most powerful party position, he would be relevant at the top, South West and automatically becomes the leader of the party in Osun state with his influence weighing so much on decisions about the party.
They now believe that Omisore would be hard to control as his normal style, he would plant his men at the helms of affairs in Osun, since it will become imperative that Governor Oyetoĺa would want to relie on him, for his second term, in view of the fact that his influence counts in Ife where he would likely have bulk vote.
Also it was the efforts of Omisore that secured the governorship for him during the rerun of the election in 2018.
From the investigations conducted by BusinessHallmark and sampling of opinions of some of the members of the party, who belong to Oyetola’s camp, it was clear that they were not satisfied with Omisore secretaryship which makes him their leader.
They felt that both the governors and the National leaders especially governor Oyetola only thought about his own ambition and interests without weighing the implications on members who have been very loyal to him.
They felt that the position offered Omisore should have been for one of them, who are core progressives and not Omisore who joined the party barely a year ago, after using more than a decade in fighting to destroy the legacies and what the progressives stood for, since the era of late Chiefs Obafemi Awolowo and Bola Ige.
Some of those who spoke with Business Hallmark on condition of anonymity disclosed that they felt humiliated with Omisore’s position and that Oyetola supported the move based on three factors. The first one, being his quest for a second term, the second to kick Omisore out of the Osun East Senatorial race, which he preferred his friend, confidant and the Director General of his Ileri Oluwa campaign organisation, Ajibola Famurewa to occupy.
Before the idea of Omisore contesting the Secretaryship, he had an eye to go back to the Senate where he had represented Osun East Senatorial District which comprises Ife/ Ijesa, for two terms.
Oyetola who vehemently canvassed for Omisore knew that once he was out of the way, the chances of Famurewa would be brightened because there is no way Omisore would be in contention for that post in the same party, and that Famurewa would have his way. The third reason was the fact that the Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s camp needs a strong politician in the South West to be at the National level where decisions are taken at the party secretariat.
Though initially the candidature of Omisore was rejected by the leadership of the party in the South West, they eventually gave it a serious thought in view of the fact that through the consensus arrangement, President Buhari intended to dominate the key positions in the party with his men from Congress for Progressives Change(CPC).
That was why the name of Ife Oyedele from Ondo came up for the position. South west leaders having realised the game of Buhari had to make a fast change to swap the position to give Ondo State where Kekemeke, the former chairman of the party in Ondo, comes from, the position of National Vice Chairman to cut CPC to size.
This was however, done through the persuasion of the governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who motivated Omisore in teaming up with the APC, during the rerun of the governorship election in 2018. It was alleged that Aregbesola and the likes of Chief Bisi Akande who were Bola Ige’s diehard loyalist would not have any negotiation with Omisore because of what they perceived of him.
It was Fayemi that negotiated and convinced Tinubu to accept Omisore’s condition before he delivered the two wards out of the four wards crucial to the rerun. As one of the leaders in the party said, the battle at the National level of the party has been won with Omisore’s emergence but the battle has returned to base, here in Osun State, where intrigues and power play, over supremacy and control of the party, would now be fought squarely.
Omisore who had thanked God and President Buhari for his emergence promised to do his best to unite the party as its secretary. Also the Govermor of Osun State Gboyega Oyetola said, Omisore would put his wealth of experience to bear, in the administration of the National Working Committee of the party.
He further said that Omisore has the capacity to deliver and contribute to the growth of the party, saying that the support through consensus given to Omisore by South west leaders of APC, remained indivisible. The accolades to Omisore according to some members of the party in Osun State meant nothing to them because they realised that his coming to APC would further ignite war in the party.
It was discovered that people like Chief Bisi Akande and those in Aregbesola’s camp are still not happy with Omisore’s position, despite the notion that it would boost the chances of both Tinubu and Oyetola. It was said that Omisore known for his alleged intolerance and not being coherent, though a master schemer, and his divide and rule tactics, the APC in the entire South West should be on the look out for him.
It was argued that Chief Akande has had frosty relationship with Omisore since the Alliance for Democracy days, when he Omisore was his Deputy and he planned Akande’s impeachment which failed.
Also the death of Chief Bola Ige further diminished their relationships, a situation, which made Chief Akande in his recently launched controversial book “My Participation” to have written that Omisore allegedly led thugs to attack, embarrassed and removed Chief Ige’s cap in Ife at the Ooni’s Palace. He also wrote in the book that Omisore was impeached as Deputy governor under him in 2002 “for financial impropriety.” Akande in the book described Omisore as “a silent malignant cancer, who later turned a wolf in sheep’s clothing with alleged fundamental deals, in the effort to impeach him.”
Members of the Aregbesola’s group and some, in Oyetola’s camp who could not stand Omisore described him as an outcast and a shameful act by APC leadership to have handed the party in Osun State to Omisore because of selfish interests and political ambitions. A former Minister of Police Affairs and friend of Omisore, Alhaji Abdul Jelili Oyewole Adesiyan had said Omisore in APC is to revamp Nigeria and warned Aregbesola to stop disparaging him.
In his reaction Aregbesola’s former Media Adviser Mr. Sola Fasure said that someone like Omisore is not to be endowed with the leadership of the party dominated by the progressives.
He said Omisore was in 2002, arrested for alleged Ige’s murder, though freed, in 2016 arrested by the EFCC for receiving N1.3 billion from the office of the National Security Adviser, saying that it is in Nigeria that people like that could emerge leaders.
He argued that “because Oyetola and others intended to whittle down the influence of Aregbesola in Osun State and make Aregbesola irrelevant in Osun East Senatorial District from where both of them come.
Meanwhile the Publicity Secretary of the Progressive Top faction loyal to Aregbesola, Mr. Abiodun Agboola has said that despite all the intrigues and scheming of Oyetola to deal with them and their principal Aregbesola, the group is determined to stay on in APC.
According to him, “we are going to remain in APC pending the final determination of the suits on the conduct of the ward Congress and declaration of Oyetola as the gubernatorial candidate in the primary election of the party.”