By Olusesan Laoye
With less than a year to the next governorship election in Osun State, ‘the power tussle between Governor Gboyega Oyetola and his immediate predecessor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who is now the Minister of Interior Affairs is escalating by the day and from the recent situations at hand, there may not be an end in sight till the coming governorship election, next year, 2022.
The crisis has even led to the emergence of a new group in the All progressives Congress (APC) called the Progressive TOP, backed by Aregbesola, who has not hidden his support for the group and has accepted to be the leader. The formation of this new group is causing a lot of tension in Osun APC as members who were mostly Aregbesola’s loyalists are being referred to as dissidents, by those loyal to Oyetola.
This situation has shown clearly that Oyetola and Aregbesola are no more on the same page in the party. It is glaring too, that the two groups would work at variance during the primaries to pick the candidate that would represent the party in the coming governorship election.
While those in Aregbesola’s group according sources have resolved to present a different aspiranst for the election, the group loyal to Oyetola headed by the Caretaker Chairman of the party Gboyega Famodun, with some leaders in the local governments of the State, recently endorsed Oyetola for a second term.
It was however clear that Famodu’s camp with his present position would want to ensure that Oyetola bags the ticket of the party for a second term.
The Aregbesola’s Progressive TOP according to an inside source is determined to scuttle that, as they now have a very strong outlet in all the 30 local governments of the State to prevent that, even if Famodun is determined to use his influence as the chairman.
As a matter of fact, BusinessHallmark was reliably informed that the ProgressiveTOP is relying on the strong political structure which Aregbesola had built before and during his eight years as the governor of the State.
To many in Osun State, it is baffling that both Aregbesola añd Oyetola who worked together for eight years could fall out so soon. Oyetola was Aregbesola’s Chief of Staff and people believed that they must have worked together within that period with great understanding of each other.
Less than a year after Oyetoĺa got to office, the frosty relationship between them began to rear its head when it was alleged that Oyetola rebuffed his former boss who wanted to pocket him in the running of the affairs of the State.
It was insinuated that Oyetola rejected the lists of political appointees, which Aregbesola allegedly handed over to him and went ahead to pick his own team, allegation, which Aregbesola debunked.
Although there were several issues which have caused their disagreement, the major ones according to several reports centered on the marginalisation of loyalist of Aregbesola in Oyetoĺa’s government, as none of them was offered a position, either in his cabinet or in any of the boards and parastatals, reversals of most of the policies of Aregbesola’s key polices, in education, changing of the name of the State from the State of Osun to its former name Osun State.
These were evidence that Oyetola did not support the ministerial appointment of Aregbesola but wanted Iyiola Omisore, to compensate him for helping to win the rerun of the election that gave him final victory,
Aregbesola did not even welcome the idea of Omisore coming to APC and that was why he lambasted him for dancing on the grave of Bola Ige when he Omisore joined the APC.
Aregbesola referring to his successor, pointed out that some people calling themselves progressives are teaming up with murderers, since he still believed that Omisore was behind the killing of Bola Ige, despite the fact that the Court exonerated him.
Despite the fact that both Aregbesola and Oyetola in public pretend that they are still together, the latest developments indicate that they are arch enemies, as they are only tying to manage and control themselves for the mere fact that both are product of the same political family and mentor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Oyetola is Tinibu’s first cousin while Aregbesola has been the arrow head of Tinubu’s political machinery in Lagos and his commissioner for works while, he, Tinubu was in office as the Lagos State governor for eight years.
Since the past two years, the supporters of the duo have been throwing jabs at one another and engaging in serious combat at any slightest opportunity and provocations, when they meet at party functions and it got to a stage that both decided not to be at the same party functions at the same time.
Also what made the imbroglio more pronounced in the last three weeks was the destructions of the bill boards, banners and posters for the 64th birthday ceremony of Aregbesola, by people suspected to be Oyetola’s loyalists
This made Aregbesola to change the Avenue to his home base Ilesa to avoid a bloody confrontation between his supporters and that of Oyetola.
It has even been observed that Aregbesola has been fixing his political outing outside Osogbo the State capital, as a source said he was doing that to avoid bloodshed which has been happening in the past whenever the two groups meet.
The new group, the Progressive TOP, has clearly shown a distinct line of demarcation between Aregbesola and Oyetola,
The leader of the group Adelowo Adebiyi who was the chairman Osun State Task Force on Mining and Forestry and former Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the State said, the attitude of the caretaker committee chairman alleged to be loyal to Oyetola, was the main issue and the way he has been running the affairs of the party. He said that Famodun has been running the APC in Osun as his personal property.
“We formed the group to sanitise the party and to ensure that APC does not suffer a loss in the coming governorship election in 2022 and subsequent ones in 2023 and we want the leaders of the party to call Famodun to order.”
Adebiyi posited that the group meant well for the APC and “What we are doing is to put things right and correct what other existing groups like the Agba Osun closed their eyes to – to uplift the the party”
He further said that Famodun has failed to call meetings for the past two years where views and ideas could be shared and he has done a lot of damage with this, which has fragmented members of the party.
“Right now in the party, there is no internal cohesion, which means that the party would need more than ordinary efforts to win the governorship election in 2022”
He pointed out “this was the model in the Alliance for Democracy (AD) before the party lost to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and we need to avoid this kind of tragedy and affliction, so that it would not go into extinction in the state, like the AD.”
The minister of Interior Aregbesola while lending his support for the Osun Progressive TOP said that he endorsed it because the group was mapping out and redirecting the party towards success in 2022.
Aregbesola argued” the group is moving towards promotion of internal democracy, effective and efficient party management, re-mobilisation, reconciliation and networking the party for development and as such the group is worthy of support.”
Aregbesola pointed out that the objectives of the group are timely, noble and selfless for the survival of APC. “It is worth the support of genuine Progressive politicians, count me in; I will support your efforts.
But the chairman Famodun blasted the group and labeled it a dissident one, saying that the running of a party is not vested in pressure group.
“What the group ought to have done is to channel all their complaints and suggestions to the appropriate authorities if it is true that members actually meant well for the party”. He said the rebellious attitudes of the members of the group would not be tolerated as he and others have mapped out plans to move the party forward.
While reacting to the issue the Commissioner of political Affairs and Inter-governmental Relations, Mr. Taiwo Akeju said that as far as they were concerned, there was no rift the governor and the Minister. He said all the reversals made by Governor Oyetola was not meant to discredit or destroy Aregbesola’s legacies
“The policy reversals have nothing to do with vendetta. The agitation to reverse some of these policies was from the people and Governor Oyetola being a listening person acceded to their request” Akeju said.