Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, on Monday, lambasted his erstwhile political leaders and associates.
The former governor spoke in the Ijebu Jesa area of Osun State while addressing members of the All Progressives Congress ahead of Saturday’s governorship primary election in the state.
Aregbesola, who was governor of Osun State from 2010 to 2018, declared that enough is enough for the politics of godfatherism and enthronement by treacherous leaders who equated themselves to the status of a god.
The 64-year-old minister said he trusted APC National Leader, Bola Tinubu, but the ex-governor of Lagos State repaid him with betrayal.
Aregbesola accused Tinubu; a former APC interim chairman and ex-governor of Osun State, Bisi Akande, of foisting the current governor of the state, Gboyega Oyetola, on the people, against popular will.
Aregbesola, who leads an APC faction in the state and who had been engaged in a feud with his successor, Oyetola, accused the incumbent governor of not consolidating on his eight-year achievements.
Aregbesola, therefore, called on the party members in Osun to support a former Secretary to the State Government, Moshood Adeoti, in Saturday’s governorship primary.
The aspirants warming up for the party primary include the incumbent governor, Oyetola; former Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives, Yusuff Lasun; and former Secretary to the State Government, Adeoti; who recently returned to the ruling APC in June 2020, from the Action Democratic Party.
He also said just as ex-governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, was rejected by APC members in 2019 for working against the laid down rules, Oyetola would be thrown out of office after just a term.
The minister, who declared that the present administration in the state had deviated from the true tenets of the APC, also accused those at the helms of affairs of jettisoning true democracy and the principles which the party and its heroes stand for.
Aregbesola and Tinubu had been decade-long political associates. The former was Director of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Campaign Organisation who drove the electoral victory of Bola Tinubu in 1999 and also ensured Tinubu’s return to office in 2003. Aregbesola was also Commissioner of Works and Infrastructure while Tinubu was Lagos governor.
Many keen observers had watched suspiciously the worsening relationship between Tinubu and Aregbesola. The minister was not seen visiting Tinubu in London when he was hospitalised for over three months for knee surgery and when over 100 notable politicians turned the APC leader’s London home to a Mecca of sorts in 2021. Also, Aregbesola has not been seen associating himself with the 2023 presidential ambition of Tinubu.
Aregbesola has been having a running tussle with Oyetola over what he termed poor leadership and over what appeared to be a struggle for the control of the APC organs in Osun State.
It was earlier reported that the Governor Mai Mala Buni APC caretaker committee recently inaugurated Oyetola’s man, Gboyega Famoodun, as the recognised party chairman in Osun, and disregarded Aregbesola’s faction.
Aregbesola’s faction had pursued legal option to seek recognition as the authentic APC group in the state but the High Court of Osun State sitting at Ikire, presided over by Justice Sikiru Oke, recently, struck out a suit instituted by the group, The Osun Progressives – a group within the APC, in the state.
A similar suit by Aregbesola’s group in respect of the Ward Congress/Executives was struck out by the Federal High Court also in February 2022, for lack of jurisdiction.
Addressing APC members loyal to his faction on Monday in Ijebu Jesa in Osun, the minister said no man can terrify him, accusing Oyetola of working against the party and supporters. He also insisted that Oyetola, whom he insinuated was Tinubu’s younger brother, would be thrown out of office.
Aregbesola said, “Only God can terrify us, not man. Go and tell them wherever they are, we own this party. We own this Afenifere group. We own this people-loving group started by our patriarchs — (Obafemi) Awolowo and Bola Ige. This is Elder Akande’s group before he temporarily left us. This is our party. Stop calling yourself a factional group; you are not a faction; you are the authentic APC.”
He thereafter launched a political song to drive home his point; Bye-bye to jagba-jagba, rede rede (nonsense).
Continuing, the former governor said, “We came back home to reposition our party to where it was meant to be because we followed the leading of our leader that we thought was a noble and reliable fellow. We followed him (Tinubu) dutifully with all sense of loyalty. Some people even thought that we were no longer Muslims because of how we cooperated with him. We dealt with him without treachery but we never knew he planned evil for us. We exalted him beyond his status and he turned himself to a god over us and we had sworn to ridicule anyone who compare himself to God. God has no competitor; He is enough to be God.
“We built this party on perseverance as well as sweat and blood. We lost a lot of people in this struggle but eventually, we came into government on November 27, 2010. We were in government for eight years and governed according to the measure of God’s grace, everybody in Osun enjoyed our tenure.”
Aregbesola subsequently recounted how Tinubu imposed Oyetola as his successor in Osun in 2018.
“When he (Tinubu) will hand over the present governor to me around July of 2018, he (Tinubu) declared that he (Oyetola) will succeed me and continue my good works. That was what he told me. He knows he has not done so if he is listening now and he has failed to call my successor to order,” the minister protested.
Aregbesola also noted that if Tinubu and other APC members in Lagos had rejected Ambode, claiming he derailed from the original master plan, there was nothing wrong in dethroning Oyetola in Osun because he had derailed from the master plan too.
“That was how it was in Lagos at a time; a governor derailed and the party members unseated him using the ballot boxes. As it was in Lagos yesterday, so shall it be in Osun today. What is good for the goose is also good for the gander,” he said.