Monday 9 January 2023

Aregbesola's Aide Again Emphasises on Reconciliation between Osun APC Factions in an interview by Bola Bamigbola


Mr. Sola Fasure, the Media Adviser to the Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, speaks with BOLA BAMIGBOLA on 2023 general elections and the Osun State All Progressives Congress ongoing reconciliation between the faction loyal to his boss and the immediate former governor, Adegboyega Oyetola

Your principal, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, appears to be rather inactive in the presidential campaign of Senator Bola Tinubu. Why is that so?

You will notice that members of the Federal Executive Council, including the Vice President, are not active yet. They are all following the presidential directive to concentrate on governance. I am very sure that they will be, now. The campaign is entering its most critical stage, with an election date approaching.

Looking at the situation in Osun, how will you rate the party’s preparation for the 2023 general elections?

The party in the state is going through reconciliation after the internecine war that made it lose the governorship election. You will definitely see a more vibrant election-winning machine after the reconciliation process that has been going on has been concluded.

You mentioned reconciliation, but since the group loyal to Ogbeni announced an end to all hostilities and expressed willingness to reconcile with other interests within APC, nothing serious has been heard about meetings between the two groups. What exactly is the situation like?

The act is a demonstration of goodwill from our tendency. Reconciliation is one thing; healing is another. Both sides are still hurting from the war, and healing might take longer. One side is still hurting from the loss of the governorship election. The implication of losing power is dawning on them. Governor Ademola Adeleke may make more heinous disclosures, which may result in “who knows” consequences, causing even more pain.

On the other hand, the TOP tendency, don’t forget, was alienated from the party and the government. These are the people that made Governor Oyetola’s election possible. But they were hounded, arrested, and arraigned before the court. Some were arrested and taken to the Ilesa Custodial Centre.

Some were denied party tickets because of their association with Ogbeni Aregbesola. Ex-governor Aregbesola himself was alienated from the party and the government. He was vilified and subjected to relentless attacks. A campaign of calumny was unleashed against him, including sponsored calls to have him removed as minister. This was the person who revamped the party after the 2003 loss to the PDP.

He rebuilt it from scratch and turned it into a winning machine, winning three governorships, three presidential elections, and state and national legislative elections in a row. Even serving legislators who were thought to be friendly to them were denied tickets. As a result, the healing process may take some time.


In the end, with time, everyone will be just fine. What is important is the consensus reached by each side to reconcile and move on as one family again. Let’s just pray that conflict entrepreneurs who profit from the squabble will not derail the process.

Some party sources recently said Ogbeni Aregbesola planned to return to Osun to start campaigning for all APC candidates in the poll except one. Who is that one person, and why will the ex-governor not be campaigning for him?

I am not aware of this. Osun is a veritable rumour mill. You cannot split a campaign. If you campaign for your party, you bring every candidate along; you cannot alienate any candidate.

The rest of the job will be done by the voters, based on each candidate’s credibility before them. Aregbesola is bringing his entire goodwill, credibility, and campaign prowess; there is no doubt about that. But it is the people who will decide in the end.

As part of reconciliation, the mainstream APC in Osun directed members of the now-defunct “The Osun Progressives,” backed by Aregbesola, to return to their various wards and begin campaigning for candidates of the party. Have they complied with that instruction?

The members of TOP have never left their wards and would have fully participated in the last governorship election if they were not alienated.

In fact, they were told then that their support was not needed. It turned out that their overlooked support was very valuable and their alienation very costly. I hope the same mistake will not be repeated. I want us to get this clearly: Aregbesola and TOP have no candidate in this election and have no interest other than the name of the party and its fortunes. It’s the other side that needs their support, not the other way around. Let us hope that reconciliation leads to full integration so that we can face the upcoming general elections as a united front.

You recently raised alarm over plans by some people you called “jittery politicians” to frustrate reconciliation moves within the APC fold. Who are these people, and what do you see them aiming at?

Last week, you may have noticed a rash of publications on microblogging sites falsely accusing Ogbeni Aregbesola of attacking APC presidential candidate Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. You won’t find the story in any mainstream medium—print, electronic, or online.

With my little experience in the media as a practitioner and now a user, some people are definitely pushing it. They are trying to pour gasoline into the smouldering fire to increase the conflagration again, incense the two sides against each other, and wreak havoc on the reconciliation process.

What is the APC National Headquarters doing about the Osun APC reconciliation?

Many people are working towards the reconciliation, including some Yoruba traditional rulers, APC leaders, and their mutual friends. Many people are involved. Let’s just pray that the reconciliation is successful.

What concrete suggestions will you give to ensure genuine reconciliation in the Osun APC?

The two sides (Oyetola and Aregbesola) should put their differences aside and work together to ensure the success of the APC in this year’s election and the next governorship election in the state. If they continue to fight each other, the PDP will continue to win elections at their expense.

Why has Aregbesola not visited Osun in a very long time? Is this because of the crisis in his party, the APC?

Aregbesola is a serving federal minister and only comes to the state on purpose. His work takes a lot of his time. He works 24 hours on the job. If you have not seen him, it’s because there is no compelling reason for him to be in Osun.

Now that the election is around, hopefully he will come to work for the party’s victory.

Culled from The Punch Online

No comments:

Post a Comment