Osun On The Right Path Of Governor Adeleke’s Rebuilding Efforts

On Aregbesola’s Political Battles In Osun

Byadulawo

Jun 26, 2024

By Sola Fasure

I write in response to an article on the politics page of your esteemed newspaper of June 9, 2024, titled ‘Dissecting Aregbesola’s political battles in APC’ written by your correspondent in Osogbo, Oluwole Ige.

The author was a correspondent of the Nigerian Tribune and he has a history of adversarial reporting against Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola when he was Osun governor and Minister of Interior. His reports, when not outrightly false, is outlandish, bringing journalism into disrepute.

He once wrote with magisterial authority the falsehood that UNICEF constructed the Ita-Olokan to Orita-Olaiya road in Osogbo, the day after the State Government commissioned the road, even when UNICEF is about children’s fund and clearly not in the road construction business. Unfortunately, he has continued in this tradition and the article is just a rehash of his old self.

The basis of his story, that Ogbeni Aregbesola has been expelled from APC, is false ab initio. At no time was Ogbeni Aregbesola expelled from the APC. As one of the founders of the party, a former governor and minister, it will take the National Working Committee of the party to take such a decision.

The group whose brief he appears to have taken, the Ileri Oluwa faction of the party, led by former Governor Gboyega Oyetola, now Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, which incidentally controls the executive committee of the party in the state had announced the suspension and expulsion of some members of the party associated with Ogbeni Aregbesola, but at no time did they even claim to have expelled Aregbesola.

Yes, they recently said they could not say Aregbesola is still with them and had reported him to the National Working Committee of the party, but they did not even say they have expelled him. So it will definitely be false to say he has been expelled as the reporter did in the said write-up.

Secondly, Ige commented twice on rumours he picked up on the streets in the report as if they are true. These are that Aregbesola is floating a political party and that he intended to use the party to fight President Bola Tinubu.

These rumours are false and I learnt about it for the first time in his article. This is not the hallmark of journalism that The Guardian has meticulously built over the decades. The media is built on the foundation of truth and facts established after proper investigations have been carried out, not on rumours.

He tried to delve into the succession politics in Osun, but again, he took his brief from the same Ileri Oluwa faction who have been trying to sell the lie that Aregbesola did not support Oyetola to be governor. They have been trying to do this to justify their treachery and ingratitude by repaying Aregbesola with evil.

At the time the politics of succession in Osun came up at the tail end of Aregbesola’s tenure in late 2017 and early 2018, the consensus in the party and in the state was that Osun West Senatorial District should produce the governor, but the leader of APC and especially the leader of our tendency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, insisted that the party should pick Oyetola. This was met with strong opposition from the rank and file of the party in Osun.

Aregbesola, out of loyalty to Tinubu had to play along, a decision that split the party into two, with the aggrieved members joining another party, which almost cost APC the election in 2018. For them to be able to put Oyetola on the APC ticket, it cost the party more than a billion naira for which the candidate himself did not contribute a dime then.

Aregbesola did everything possible, including putting his political capital on the line, to make him the party’s flagbearer and win the election. It is unfortunate therefore that Ige had to echo this lie because he was sufficiently informed about the developments in Osun APC and politics in the state at the time, not to know that the allegation of Aregbesola not supporting Oyetola is false.

He also falsely claimed that Aregbesola worked against the re-election of Governor Oyetola in 2022. This is absolutely false. He took this lie again verbatim from the Ileri Oluwa camp. Truly, Aregbesola promoted and supported Alhaji Moshood Adeoti during the APC governorship primaries won by Oyetola, but he did not support the PDP in the governorship election or the following general election a year later.

They had to keep repeating this lie to justify the annihilation of anyone in Osun APC perceived to be loyal to Aregbesola.

Yes, some of the associates of Aregbesola being hunted and persecuted by the then governor resigned from APC and went to join the PDP, but it is a decision they took on their own. Freedom of association is a fundamental and inalienable right in a democratic system.

At any rate, Governor Oyetola had polarised APC and treated those who were not on his side as enemies and engaged them in a war of attrition. Some of them were arrested and prosecuted on the order of the then governor. It is not surprising therefore that they left the party and went to another party. The then-governor has himself to blame for this.

Again, he subtly misrepresented what Aregbesola said at Ilo, near Ilesa, to party supporters. He wrote that Aregbesola said ‘We exalted him beyond his status and he turned himself to a god over us and we had sworn to ridicule anyone who compared himself to God’. Though Aregbesola spoke in Yoruba, he never said he had ‘sworn to ridicule anyone…’ What he said in Yoruba was that he had prayed and asked God to pull down anyone that arrogantly places himself in the position of God over them.

Lastly, the opinion of Alhaji Liadi Tella which he featured in the story capped his adversarial intent and motivation for the article. Alhaji Tella truly came to meet the then-minister in Abuja. They spoke at length and the minister told him that he wasn’t fighting the Oyetola group but they were the ones fighting him. He agreed. So it is surprising how he now perceives the Osun APC crisis differently.

Though one would have been curious to know why Alhaji Tella didn’t deem it necessary to even ask the Oyetola administration to complete the mega school in his hometown, the only one remaining and never commissioned, from the 11 the Aregbesola administration constructed across the state. What remained was the perimeter fence and landscape.

In sum, the article is a cleverly packaged falsehoods being promoted by the treacherous Oyetola faction of the APC against Aregbesola, who has done them no evil other than to help them get to power in the state.

It is disheartening therefore that they are surreptitiously using a legacy newspaper like The Guardian to perpetrate this evil and the reporter is gladly playing along with them.  

Fasure lives in Osogbo

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