The simmering feud between Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State and his predecessor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the Minister of Interior, may escalate this week and plunge the state into crisis.
Credible sources said despite belonging to the same political family, the relationship between Oyetola and Aregbesola has “seriously collapsed and several efforts made to reconcile both men within and outside the state have failed to achieve the desired result”.
Speaking with our correspondent on Sunday, the source, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who is among those brokering peace between the duo, said while Oyetola, who was sworn in on November 27, 2018 has rolled out plans to mark his second anniversary, Aregbesola, on the other hand has also rolled out plans to celebrate 10 years of progressive governance in Osun State.
According to him, even though the 10 years covers the eight-year tenure of Aregbesola as governor and Oyetola’s two years in office, the state government is not in the know as only the minister and his loyalists are the ones putting the plans together.
“The truth is, the situation is getting out of hand between the governor and the minister. We have been trying to manage it but the truth is that the attitude of some of these key players hasn’t been helpful.
“The Osun State government will clock two years in office this week. The state government has lined up some activities which includes commissioning of projects. However, we received reports that the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Aregbesola is also coming to Osun this week to celebrate what they called ‘10 Years of Progressive Governance in Osun’ without consulting with the governor.
“We felt since they are both members of the same political party and family, if you are celebrating 10 years of APC coming to power in Osun, it is the responsibility of the state government to do that, not an individual; or at best, there should be a synergy between the incumbent governor and his predecessor. But I can categorically tell you that the minister is doing it without recourse to the governor.
“From intelligence report we have gathered, there is no way there won’t be crisis if both events take place at the same time because the supporters in both camps are already threatening showdown. It was even alleged that some supporters of the minister masterminded the attack on the governor and his convoy last month using the #EndSARS protest as a cover. Many had alleged that the minister is remotely connected to the attack.
“We have appealed to the minister to shelve his event for some days to allow the state government celebrate the second anniversary this week but he won’t budge”.
Also speaking, a former Commissioner in Osun State, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said President Muhammadu Buhari, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and other APC leaders should call Aregbesola to order and allow peace to reign in the state. According to him, the minister has been unhappy over his failure to “entrench himself as the political godfather of the state”.
He said Aregbesola was embittered that Oyetola reversed some of his policies such as the education policy which many residents of the state considered as “anti-people”.
He also said five days to the end of his tenure as governor, Aregbesola launched Osun Development Plan 2019-2028, a 10-year development plan which he wanted to foist on Oyetola, adding that the governor as a financial expert also has his own development plans.
“We are appealing to President Buhari, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and other APC leaders to call Aregbesola to order. Coming to Osun to celebrate 10 years of progressive governance in Osun, the same week the state government is planning to celebrate two years in office is just an avenue to cause trouble in the state.
“They are planning to bring in thugs from Ede, Ibadan, Ilesa and other places to cause crisis in the state. Aregbesola is also planning to use his influence as Minister of Interior to bring in paramilitary officers such as Civil Defence, Immigration, Prisons and so on. There is no way the relative peace being enjoyed in the state will not be shattered if he is allowed to go ahead with his programme”, he said.
Efforts made to contact Ismail Omipidan, Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Governor Oyetola proved abortive as calls and text messages sent to his mobile phone were not answered as at the time of going to press.
However, when contacted, Media Adviser to Aregbesola, Mr. Sola Fasure, who confirmed that his principal is planning to celebrate 10 years of progressive governance in Osun, said that Governor Oyetola is aware and is also part of the programme.
He also said those accusing the minister of plotting to destabilise the state are mischief makers, adding that the relationship between Aregbesola and Oyetola is cordial.
“Yes, he is planning to celebrate it. This is the 10th anniversary of bringing in progressive government to Osun. That includes eight years of his own tenure and two years of the current administration. Is there anything wrong with that? Sincerely, I don’t even think we should be debating that.
“Like I said, it is 10 years of progressive administration which started with him as governor in 2010 and ended in 2018. It also includes two years of the present government. So, why would he now bring in thugs to disrupt the state?
“If he is celebrating 10 years of his tenure and that of his successor, which is an offshoot of his own tenure, why would he plan to disrupt it? It is just pure mischief to say he is planning to disrupt the state, a state for which he laboured. He spent four years to reclaim his mandate from PDP; then he spent eight years as governor, so why will he now be destabilising the state.
“I don’t think there is any crisis between the governor and the minister. His relationship with the governor is cordial. They speak regularly irrespective of what you hear in the media. They also belong to the same political family of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
“The 10th year of that administration is significant, symbolic and it is worth celebrating. I also believe that Governor Oyetola is also part of it”, he said.