Thursday 4 January 2024

Osun Politics: Aregbesola Battles for Personal Relevance


In recent times, the political atmosphere in Osun State seemed settled with every stakeholder peacefully calming down in preparation for the third or fourth quarter of 2024 when internal politics will kickstart in the state ahead of the 2026 Governorship Election.

However, a former Governor of the state and immediate past Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, stirred the political space with a remark condemning his successor, Alhaji Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola, for betraying him which he lured to the reason the All Progressives Congress (APC) lost the governorship seat of the state to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Although Aregbesola did not talk about how he connived with the Presidency under the administration of Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo to work against their party, APC, in the state to favor PDP, all in the name of settling personal scores with Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola, candidate of the APC in the state and his brother, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who happens to be the National leader of the party before he advanced to be one the president of Nigeria in the 2023 General Election.

Interestingly, the current political upstairs in Osun State is borne out of Aregbesola’s battle for personal relevance in the politics of Osun, and probably Nigeria if he is fortunate to have his way.

Politically, it is unprofessional to render the political value of Aregbesola zeroed but it is fastly running aground. This could be verified by looking at the roles he played during the 2022 Governorship Election in Osun State and the 2023 General Election in the state.

Unfortunately, Aregbesola worked against his party, APC, during the 2022 Governorship Election to support Ademola Adeleke of the PDP who has been busy wiping out what Aregbesola could lay claim to as his legacy projects in Osun State. Unfortunately, the decision by Adeleke’s administration to wipe out Aregbesola’s legacy projects is the basic reason Aregbesola became restive to ensure he gets any of his men back to power in the state.

Among the legacy projects of Aregbesola that have been completely eradicated by Adeleke’s administration are the State’s Logo, The State’s Motto, Statue of Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s hand which has been replaced with the statue of Late Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke, a blood brother of Ademola Adeleke; Aregbesola’s Legacy design at the popular Oke-fia roundabout, which has been leveled for a proposed flyover; Aregbesola’s legacy Spring water at LAMECO junction which has been leveled for a proposed flyover project.

Not only this, the Osun Youths Empowerment Scheme (O’Yes) which could be considered an initiative of Aregbesola has been disbanded with a proposal to replace it with the Adeleke Youths Empowerment Scheme (A-Yes).
Aregbesola has seen more than a sign of wrongly supporting the eradication of his legacy projects, giving his support to Adeleke, and this influenced his recent utterances to hunger the public that he is still a member of the APC.

Recall that Aregbesola’s men who were given appointment under the administration of Ademola Adeleke are dreadfully constrained by Dupe Adeleke, a blood sister to Ademola Adeleke who would not tolerate anyone serving under the administration of her brother to pay respect to other political camp in the state.

Aregbesola’s Way of Regaining His Political Value

Having sensed the calamity brought on his political legacy by his support for Ademola Adeleke against his party, APC, Aregbesola has decided to deploy a political strategy that will either return his loyalist or member of the APC to the seat of Governor of Osun State.

It will get to a point that Aregbesola will tell the world that he doesn’t mind leading the governorship campaign of APC in the state for any governorship candidate produced by the party, even if the candidate is the former Governor Gboyega Oyetola who he fought in 2022, although he may negotiate for some key positions.

To achieve this, Aregbesola has deployed some politicians and neutral individuals to do the underground job to recruit followership for his cause, with which he will negotiate an alliance and his full reentry into the APC ahead of the 2026 governorship election in Osun.

Besides, Aregbesola is not pleased with how he fenced himself out of the administration of his erstwhile political leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who he once described as his “Next-to-God”
Noticeably, a former Governorship aspirant of the PDP in Osun State, Dotun Babayemi, is being used by Rauf Aregbesola to recruit members of the PDP who will join forces with Aregbesola in 2026 to either ensure Babayemi wins the PDP Guber ticket or they storm out of PDP for an alternative political stand.

Likewise, his men who are currently serving under Ademola Adeleke’s administration, despite their complaints, have been ordered by Aregbesola to keep calm and manage the situation till a later stage of the tenure.
A businessman and long-time ally of Aregbesola, Engr Kehinde Raji, has a fallout with Dupe Adeleke, a blood brother of Ademola Adeleke, following a conflict in the appointment of who became the Project Coordinator of Osun Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP), is also allegedly being sponsored by Aregbesola to recruit followership through strategic empowerment project.

The most interesting part of Aregbesola’s lobby to either have his man or APC candidate back to the governorship seat of Osun State is that he is ready to reconcile with anyone to achieve. However, there is an obstacle that may stop his bidding. Aregbesola has seen Oyetola as a threat and he will be very careful and fearful to support Oyetola, if he intends to recontest the governorship seat, without making demands that would put his mind at rest in case Oyetola would still fail to become a “Remote Receiver” kind of Governor who Aregbesola wanted him to be.

Will Oyetola agree with Aregbesola’s demands?

In the case Aregbesola fails to secure the bidding, he may storm out of APC to another party [a less popular one or Labour Party] with his recruited followers to present a Governorship candidate of Dotun Babayemi or Najeem Salam who is also being considered to be tabled for negotiation for APC as running mate to APC Guber candidate.

The most challenging aspect of Aregbesola’s fight for political relevance in Osun is that he has betrayed many grassroots politicians in the name of fighting Oyetola although Aregbesola still very much believes that once he presents money to the aggrieved politicians, they will bow for money if they cannot bow for him, the same principle he believed he used to win the state during the 2007 governorship election. However, he might have forgotten the influence of the Federal Might and other APC stalwarts across the Southwest geopolitical zone whom he had betrayed or offended in the past.

For instance, Aregbesola has used and dumped the former Secretary to the State Government, Moshood Adeoti, and the political relationship between him and the former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Lasun Yusuf could be considered worse than when he even opposed Lasun’s body to become Deputy Speaker of the House.

The same reason has led to the failure of some of his loyalists to be able to launch his Omoluabi Progressive Caucus at all the Local Government Areas in the state. The aggrieved leaders of the party are deliberately blocking the group from taking off.

Roundtable Report

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