Osun State seems to be perching on a keg of gunpowder. On Friday, people of Osogbo, the State capital were treated to a deliberate “show of force.”
A long convoy of about 30 trucks mounted with assorted security gadgets and filled with personnel from the Nigeria Army, Police, State Security Service SSS, Civil Defence and Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC snaked round the city. Members of Amotekun, the Western Nigeria Security Network, also took strategic positions across the state.
The root of the tension is the struggle for control of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in preparation for the Governorship election later in the year. The party is billed to elect it’s standard bearer in the election today Saturday, February 19, 2022.
Gboyega Oyetola, Governor of the State is in a fierce battle to retain his office. But, he must first win the nomination of his party. Filed in battle against him are Moshood Adeoti a former Secretary to the State Government, SSG and Lasun Yusuf, a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives. The three are the main contenders among those cleared for the APC Primary
Analysts are however persuaded that the race is actually between Oyetola and his predecessor, Rauf Aregbesola, current Minister of Interior. The Minister has vowed to terminate Oyetola’s occupation of and openly endorsed Adeoti’s aspiration.
Oyetola and Aregbesola were former soulmates. They are both products of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, political family. In addition, for the eight years Aregbesola held away as Governor, Oyetola was his Chief of Staff. It was little wonder then, that Aregbesola worked for the emergence of Oyetola as his successor.
A parting of ways came for both men after Oyetola assumed office and his former boss started accusing him of mischief and deliberate efforts to run him out of town. The Governor on the other hand accused the Minister of seeking to control him. What started as cold war has since snowballed into riotous crisis dragging along with it Tinubu’s name.
In the last one week, the dog fight has increased tension in the state, with the parties trading accusations and counter accusations. During a recent campaign visit to Ikire, Aregbesola hinted at the root of the disagreement.
“Since Oyetola assumed office, he has been waging war against me as if I once harmed him. He claimed that I did not want him to emerge as governor. I told him that I heard him and that now he has been governor, what else does he want?
“I begged him for two years. I told him that people must not mock us. I told him that he is heading towards destruction. I begged him for two years. I sent people to help me beg him that he should not love me but he must not fight me, even if he wanted to fight me, he should not abuse me or destroy my legacies.
“All that I warned him not to do were 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 the one pushing himself.
Aregbesola accused the Governor of ignoring good advise and abusing him. “When Adeoti was angry with us, he did not abuse us. When we refused to do his will, he protested but he never cursed us. We have realised our mistake. That is why we gave him the ticket of our caucus.”
An aid of the Governor, Sunday Akere however disagreed with the Minister. He suggested that the Minister is the one causing problem because of his desire to retain control of the Osun government. “Our former principal only expressed a 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.
As the blame game continues, Lasun is positioning to take advantage of the House of commotion. The Osun APC electorates will today decide who blinks first.