By Olusesan Laoye
When the incumbent governor of Osun State Mr. Gboyega Oyetola perfected his plan to govern Osun State, which is one of the states that is volatile politically, he never knew that things would be, as he has now found them.
Although he may have been engaged in Lagos politics from where his cousin Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu brought him to Osun to work with his trusted confidant, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, as the Chief of Staff, apparently to under study him, before taking over the mantle of leadership, he was new to Osun politics and may have discovered too late that things are done differently here.
At the on set of their journey in Osun State, Oyetola was one of the Lagos boys, brought to Osun to occupy strategic positions which the locals had been promised. Though, left to Aregbesola, Oyetola was not his choice for the position of the Chief of Staff. The man tapped initially is a lawyer known as Akano who mapped out the strategies and movements and contacts on how Aregbesola got into the hearts of the people, before he eventually won the election.
As a matter of fact, both Aregbesola and Oyetola did not know the nitty- gritty of Osun politics, it was this lawyer, recommended by the former Osun State Governor, Chief Bisi Akande that made their navigation in Osun politics easy. Impressed by his performance, Akande and others agreed that this lawyer would be Aregbesola’s Chief of Staff but Tinubu’s interest for his cousin, Oyetola, changed the whole plan.
That was the beginning of the sidelining of Aregbesola’ men by Tinubu in favour of Oyetola, which people thought just happened when Oyetola got to office. Again, that was the beginning of the animosities between Aregbesola and Oyetola.
As the Chief of staff, it was alleged that Oyetola at a stage, was too powerful for Aregbesola to control, fearing not to offend his former boss who paved the way for him to rule Osun State. But it became known that as time went by, he got himself out of the hook and he too, became autocratic, which Oyetola did not like.
What reportedly escalated this unending Imbroglio between the duo, was during the election that brought Oyetola into governance, when like in the chief of staff’s case, Aregbesola had another person in mind for the governorship, but he was still over ruled by Tinubu.
This, it was said, did not go down well with Oyetola and it also heightened his sharp reaction in dismantling the structures put in place by Aregbesola, immediately he got to office. It was argued that the animosities which had built up, informed Oyetola’s jettisoning all known loyalists of Aregbesola, relegated them to the background, as he did everything to assert his authority as the governor of the state.
Oyetola also dismantled and weakened the State executive of the APC in place while Aregbesola was there, and was in control. This eventually, led to the leadership crisis between him and Aregbesola and finally bursted the patched relationship.
At the early stage of Oyetola’s government, both were pretending that all was well, until bubble burst and the whole crisis came out in the open.
Both Chiefs Bisi Akande and Bola Tinubu at different times, tried to settle them, but all to no avail. What however irritated and infuriated Aregbesola more, according to our source, is the intimacy and cordial relationship now existing between Oyetola and the former Deputy Governor of the State, and erstwhile Chairman of the Senate committee on appropriation, Senator Iyiola Omisore, who contested the governorship for the third times, in the last governorship election, under the Social Democratic Party, (SDP).
The issue of Omisore and Oyetola was said to have angered Aregbesola who felt he was deceived by his former COS, who had told them that he did not have anything to do with Omisore. They later got to know that he and Omisore had gone into an agreement, during the re-run of 2018, governorship election.
It was further argued that their agreement centered on dismantling, Aregbesola’s structure and programmes.
A source close to Aregbesola’s camp told Businesshallmark that when the interior Minister got to know about Omisore and Oyetola, he got furious and swore never to trust or have anything to do with the duo.
True to his secrete agreement with Omisore, Oyetola dismantled the controversial education arrangements of Aregbesola, particularly the common uniform for schools in the State, merger of schools and other programmes which were in the manifesto of Omisore”s SDP.
Aregbesola without hiding his feelings declared during the registration exercise of members, when Omisore formally joined the APC, that he and his groups would have nothing to do with those who murdered the former Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Bola Ige, which was glaring that he was apparently referring to Omisore, who had been cleared of the crime by the Appeal Court.
As things were, it appears that with the formation of the Progressive Top, which comprises all the aggrieved loyalists of Aregbesola, the battle line has now been drawn between Aregbesola and his former COS. The battle is now tense as the Progressives Top during both the wards, local and State congresses had it’s own parallel excos.
The Top is determined that Oyetola would not get the ticket of the party and if he eventually did, there were strong situations that the group with its wide tentacles and structure across the state, will not work for him, but rather work for someone else.
What made the matter in APC worse In the past few weeks, is the teaming up of the former Secretary to the Government, SSG, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti, the former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Hon. Lasun Yusuf, and the the Ex Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Hon Najeem Salami with the Progressives Top of Aregbesola.
The three politicians no doubt, have shown that they are not ready to welcome Oyetola for a second term but would prefer some one from the Top, to emerge as the flag the bearer of the APC.
With the present situation on ground, and since the elders of the party could not work out amicable settlement, some members of the party within the State and outside it, have been making frantic steps to settle the matter, so as not to give the opportunity for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to take over the state.
Part of their arrangement was their visit and appeal to the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Pastor Enoch Adeboye, who is also an indigene of Osun State, to wade into the matter.
They believed that the intervention of Adeboye, would go a long way to settle the rifts, as both principals in the crisis would not want to ignore or disobey Pastor Adeboye who is highly respected.
Although some of the Pastor’s aides have warned that their GO should not be drawn into political crisis, it was not clear whether he has actually intervened or not. But the situation is still the same.
Also the the National reconciliatory committee of the APC chaired by the former governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Abdulahi Adamu, going round the State to reconcile aggrieved members on the fallout of the last congresses, which bred parallel executives in the affected States, was in Osun state at the weekend, to wade into the matter as well.