All is not well in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun State between the two camps of current Governor Adegboyega Oyetola and Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, his predecessor in office, now Minister of Interior.
Recall the recent outbursts by aides of two political gladiators in the state.
The aides threw tantrum at themselves, an evidence of uncontrolled anger or frustration between the camps of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola and the former governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.
The two gladiators have been managing their differences due to the fact that they both lean on same godfather, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is also the National Leader of the party and a former Governor of Lagos State.
While Oyetola is a blood relation of Tinubu, Aregbesola remains his (Tinubu) political associate and a diehard loyalist. So, the duo cannot afford to engage in any blindfolded fight so as not to incur the wrath of their mentor.
But the recent outburst of a member of Oyetola’s cabinet who is also the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Jamiu Olawumi on his Facebook account and subsequent reply by Bola Ilori, who is serving in Aregbesola’s office in Abuja blew opened the hidden animosity.
According to Daily Independent who reported that “some Aregbesola’s aides had since been relegated to the back seat by Oyetola’s government thereby nursing grudges of alleged neglect, while those that shifted their loyalties to Oyetola prior to the 2018 governorship election and spearheaded his campaign programmes and organisation now take the centre stage of governance of the state.
Report gathered that “the refusal of Governor Oyetola to back the ministerial slot of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola was one of the real reasons behind the disaffection between the two leaders and their followers in the state.
Oyetola was said to have nominated Senator Christopher Iyiola Omisore as a minister because he and some of his party men in Social Democratic Party (SDP) under the platform he (Omisore) contested the governorship seat with Oyetola helped the latter to conveniently win the September 27, 2018 rerun election which produced Oyetola as governor of the state.
However, further investigations conducted by report revealed that the main cause of differences between Aregbesola and Oyetola were efforts by the two gladiators to control the soul of the ruling party, APC in Osun State.
It was gathered that Aregbesola allegedly has a firm grip over the state party structure due to the prominent roles he played in the election and selection into various political offices including members of the State House of Assembly as well as party leadership at all levels in the state.
Oyetola on assumption of office attempted to swing the pendulum in his favour but finds it very difficult except the state party chairman, Mr. Gboyega Famodun,who shifted loyalty to the current governor. Famodun hails from the same Osun Central senatorial district with Governor Oyetola.
Investigation further revealed that Famodun’s tenure of office had lapsed since October 2018 and that party congress to have fresh executives could not hold because Oyetola does not enjoy majority support of the party structure as well as appointees and elected officers on the platform of the party.
Sources claimed that while Aregbesola and his team want the party chairmanship to go to Osun West Senatorial District since Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Timothy Owoeye is from Osun East Senatorial District and Governor Oyetola hails from Osun Central Senatorial District, Oyetola is insisting on retaining Gboyega Famodun from same district with him.
The political maneuvering being planned against Oyetola’s camp is to give it the Ambode’s treatment in Lagos by ensuring that he does not have a firm control on the party structure, another development which has further widened the gap between the two gladiators.
Another factor generating crisis in Osun APC is the inability of new and old members who dumped the party during the political struggle before the 2018 governorship election in the state to join the party following its polarisation.
For instance, efforts by some party leaders to have the former Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Moshood Olalekan Adeoti and his followers back into the fold of the party have been unsuccessful because of the polarisation.
Adeoti, it would be recalled, had contested the 2018 governorship election on the platform of African Democratic Party (ADP) in the state. It was revealed that Adeoti and other returnees are in a dilemma whether to return and join Aregbesola’s camp or Oyetola’s camp.
Though, both Oyetola and Aregbesola have severally denied any misgivings between them, the trending attacks on Facebook from the key players from the two sides have proven their denial otherwise.
Speaking at the turbanning of Aregbesola as the Amirul Wazirul-Mumin of Osun State league of Imams and Alfas recently, Aregbesola sensing that the conspicuous absence of Governor Oyetola will generate further controversy defended his absence at the event stressing that he (Oyetola) had earlier informed him of his travelling to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for a lesser hajj exercise.
Twenty four hours later, Governor Oyetola through his deputy, Gboyega Benedict Alabi at Iwude Day Celebration at Ilesa also dismissed the rumour of rift between him (Oyetola) and Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, describing it as a figment of detractors’ imagination.
Alabi who represented his boss at the event said the current administration headed by Oyetola was building on Aregbesola’s achievements.
He urged people of the state to ignore such rumours and described it as a move against the progress of the state.
According to him, “It’s only the agents of distractions and the antagonists of peace that will carry unreasonable rumours to disintegrate the current administration and its predecessor. We’re consolidating on what the previous administration has done and Ogbeni Aregbesola is our leader. We are following his progressive steps.”
Corroborating the no-fight stand by the two leaders, the APC State Chairman, Gboyega Famodun, expressed worries that members of the party are using the social media platform to throw tantrums against themselves, warning that the party leadership will not hesitate to apply appropriate constitutional sanctions against any member that fails to maintain peace within the party.
Famodun in a statement issued and signed by his media consultant, Kola Olabisi, said it was appalling, strange and unethical that some party leaders and members would decide to engage in the lowering of the prestige of the party through their unguarded utterances online which has been doing unimaginable damage to the fortune of the party.
“It was a pity that some of the leaders and members of the party are bereft of when to talk and when not to talk, forgetting that meanings could be read to whatever they say as the response of their principals.
Famodun reiterated that there is no rift between the two leaders saying it remains rumour which only exist in the imagination of those spreading it.
“Enough is enough. Some difficult members of the party should engage in how to further add value to our party instead of having it disintegrated through their unguarded utterances and less than dignifying conducts, Famodun declared.
Following the worsening situation the crisis is assuming, some elders have prevailed on the pioneer National Chairman of APC and former Osun State Governor, Chief Adebisi Akande, to intervene and reconcile the two camps in the interest of growth and development of the party.
Speaking on the development, former Presidential Candidate of National Action Council, Dr. Olapade Agoro appealed to the two leaders to bury their differences in the interest of the state, stressing that the duo are doing wonderful jobs for the people of the state, wondering why they should engage in any rift.
Agoro noted that rifts between them will not do any good to the government, members of the party and entire people of the state considering the sacrifices they had put in place to move the state forward.
According to him, “there is no need for the two leaders to engage in any fight except if they have skeletons in their cupboards. There is the need for them to foster harmonious relationship which successive administrations in the state will continue to use as bench mark for performance.”