The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, on Thursday, said his successor, Adegboyega Oyetola, waged a war against him after becoming the governor.
The former governor of Osun State, spoke in Ikire while addressing a rally held to garner support for his anointed candidate in Saturday’s governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress, Moshood Adeoti.
Speaking in Yoruba language, Aregbesola said he pleaded with Oyetola for about two years not to fight him, adding that his successor rejected his advice, which made him to call his supporters to salvage the party.
He said, “I begged him (Oyetola) for two years; I told him that people must not mock us; I told him that he was heading for destruction. I served this state with the whole of my heart; I also positioned Oyetola so that he could succeed me in office.
“When we came to this town (Ikire) for his campaign, we were drenched in rain from the Akire’s palace to this place. He got to the office and claimed I am his enemy; those who contested against him during our party primary he pulled closer, while he fights me.
“Since Oyetola assumes office, he has waged a war against me as if I once harmed him. He claimed that I did not want him to emerge as the governor; I told him that I heard him and that now that he had been governor, what else did he want?
“I begged him for two years; I sent people to help me beg him and that he should not love me, but he must not fight me; even if he wanted to fight me, he should not abuse me and destroy my legacies.
“All that I warned him not to do was what he did. He opposed what I did; all the things I did together with him for eight years, he opposed and reversed them. He thought he can destroy me through my work; nobody was pushing him, he is pushing himself. He deliberately towed that path. He waged a war against me and refused to listen to my pleas until he got rid of me.”
Responding, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Political Affairs, Sunday Akere, said Aregbesola only expressed his personal opinion and insisted that Oyetola was not fighting his predecessor.
Akere said, “Our former principal only expressed his personal opinion, which no one was privy to. Oyetola did not fight him. He declared that Oyetola’s tenure was his third term and he wanted to be in charge.
“He also promised those close to him that 80 per cent of them would return as cabinet members, which did not happen. The ex-governor thought the eight-year tenure was for eternity. It has ended but he could not believe that reality. The root cause of the issue is what I just said.”
Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State will supervise the All Progressives Congress governorship primary in Osun State on Saturday, The PUNCH has learnt.
One of our correspondents also learnt that there were moves by some top chieftains of the party to postpone the primary in order to address the rift between Oyetola and Aregbesola.
A source in the party said, “Governor AbdulRazaq will supervise the primary on Saturday. However, there are moves by some leaders in the party to suspend the primary in order to forestall violence.”
Incidentally, AbdulRazaq has been engaged in a feud with the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, just like the case between Oyetola and Aregbesola.
Meanwhile, AbdulRazaq has promised all contestants that he will be fair to them in the conduct of the primary election.
He said he would act in strict compliance with the APC Constitution in the conduct of the election.
Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye, the Kwara governor said he and other members of the panel on the Osun primary were looking forward to conducting of a free and fair primary election in the state.
Seven political parties in Osun State, on Thursday, signed a peace pact with the police and promised to ensure that peace reigns during the period leading to the governorship election, just as the police declared zero tolerance for violence.
At a meeting held with the state police command in Osogbo were the APC, represented by its Secretary, Kamoru Alao, and the Peoples Democratic Party, represented by its secretary, Bola Ajao.
Other parties at the meeting were the Young Progressives Party, Labour Party, African Democratic Congress, Social Democratic Party and Action Democratic Party.
Addressing the party representatives, the Commissioner of Police, Wale Olokode, who was represented by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Valentine Kanayo, said the command would not tolerate rallies and processions without permission and blocking of roads during political events, as well as assault on security men and citizens, among others.
The Osun State Government, on Thursday, alleged that some persons had stockpiled the uniforms of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Nigerian Correctional Service to be distributed for use by non-state actors during Saturday’s APC governorship primary election in the state.
The government in a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Funke Egbemode, warned those behind the plot to jettison the idea.
The statement said security operatives had been put on alert and mandated to deal decisively with anyone bent on causing violence and destruction in the state.
When asked for a reaction, the spokesman for the NSCDC in the state, Olabisi Atanda, declined making comments on the allegations.
The Chairman, Elders’ Caucus in the state chapter of the APC, Mr Sola Akinwumi, described the street show by Aregbesola as a display of thuggery and hooliganism.
Akinwumi spoke while receiving Oyetola and his entourage in his house during a tour of the Irepodun Local Government Area of the state.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Ismail Omipidan, quoted Akinwumi to have said, “As a matter of fact, the erstwhile governor belittles himself and I am very sure he didn’t know the implications of what he did. He acted so low and naively as if he was the sitting governor.
“Was he telling us that there are two governors in the state? Has he forgotten that he is no longer a Governor? We have known his intention and we leave everyone to his or her conscience.”
But when contacted for reaction, the Secretary of APC faction backed by the minister, Lani Baderinwa, said the road show condemned by Akinwumi was used by Aregbesola to return the progressives back to government after the administration of Chief Bisi Akande was ousted by the PDP in 2003.
Coalition asks Buhari to sack Aregbesola, minister aide says Osun sponsoring attacks
A coalition of civil society organisations in Osun State, on Thursday, petitioned the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to sack or redeploy the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, for “abdicating his primary responsibilities for petty political fights” and for “promoting inter-agency war” and using “government paraphernalia for the prosecution of political battles.”
The coalition comprises the Osun Masterminds, Transparency and Accountability Group, Centre for Sustainable Dialogue, Centre for Democratic Ethics, Oodua Youth Parliament, Osun Young Professionals, Nigerians for Good Governance, Nigeria Youths Representatives Council and Gender Tonic Initiative.
The spokesman for the coalition and Executive Director, The Osun Masterminds, Dr Wasiu Alli, revealed this to our correspondents in Abuja.
In the petition delivered to the Presidency on Wednesday, the coalition said, “If the Federal Government under the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), fails to caution Mr Rauf Aregbesola and charge him to focus on his official responsibilities instead of going about causing civil unrest, he will end up inflaming the otherwise peaceful Osun State.
“Where he cannot be cautioned, we demand his outright sack or redeployment if he cannot act responsibly in line with the dictates of the office he presently holds.”
However, the minister’s Media Adviser, Sola Fasure, said the call for Aregbesola’s sacking was a sinister plot sponsored by the Oyetola administration.
Fasure said, “The coalition’s petition is a sinister plot by a one-man pseudo non-governmental organisation hurriedly put together and plotted by the leadership of the state government in Osun on Tuesday evening.
“Their agenda is to precipitate a crisis, cause chaos in Osun and disrupt the APC governorship primary election that they are poised to lose. They will then heap the blame on the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, and call to question his integrity and leadership capacity.”