Temidayo Akinsuyi, Lagos
Following interventions by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and other leaders of the party, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Interior, and his loyalists have canceled plans to celebrate 10 years of progressive governance in Osun State scheduled for Friday.
The event was set to clash with the second anniversary of Governor Gboyega Oyetola, Aregbesola’s successor and has also pitched their supporters against one another and has also polarised the APC in the state.
The APC caucus of the National Assembly members in a statement issued by Mr. Remi Ibitola, Senior Adviser on Media to Senator Basiru Ajibola representing Osun Central federal constituency in the National Assembly, said they decided to cancel the lecture following interventions at the national level.
The APC caucus which stated that the lecture was organised by them and not Aregbesola as believed in some quarters, said, “Although the legislators viewed their contribution from a broader perspective, hoping to make it an epoch-making occasion to boost the morale of their members and the progressives family in the state, the effort was misinterpreted and misconstrued to be an affront to the governor.”
It stressed also that, “The legislators have earlier agreed to the topic of the lecture as ‘Ten Years of Uninterrupted Progressive Government in Osun’ and it was a form of social awareness and sensitisation of the good people of Osun to know and appreciate the concepts and benefits of the state’s administration under our progressive party.
“But unknown to the lawmakers, their innocent contribution was not well received in some circles where the legislators’ efforts were seen as disruptive to the activities marking the two years of the governor in office.
“This has generated a lot of undercurrents of misgivings which contributed in sponsorship of stories in the newspapers, alleging that the legislators may be planning to cause civil unrest.
“The first sign that mischief-makers may have polluted the genuine motive of the lecture which was conceived and considered to have the capability to further the unity of the party in the state and mobilise the party was the emergence of an unsigned statement emanating from some members of the House of Representatives, who appeared under intense pressure put up a rather terse statement that they are committed to 2nd anniversary of Governor Oyetola as if the public lecture was not the event planned by the caucus as its contribution to the 2nd anniversary programme of the governor, as it was done for the first year with a football tournament.
“The decision to have the public lecture was taken on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 by the caucus in a meeting held in the Office of Senator Oriolowo at the Senate Wing of the National Assembly about 4p.m.
“The meeting decided that it was necessary to sustain the gains of an earlier solidarity visit to the governor by following up with the public lecture.
“At the meeting, Senator Oriolowo and Hon. L. B. Ayeni were nominated to liaise with key stakeholders like Chief Bisi Akande, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Governor Gboyega Oyetola, and Prince Gboyega Famodun. Hon Taiwo Oluga was expected to tidy up the use of one of the two facilities nominated at the meeting, namely, the Centre for Black Culture or the WOCDIF building.
“Therefore, the lecture was a decision of the legislators and not organised by Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola as falsely reported by some sections of the media, traditional and social.
“To err on the side of peace and to defer to different interventions by party leaders at the national level, particularly, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the legislators have decided to step down the lecture so as to make room for party cohesion.”
Also on Wednesday, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, a former governor of Osun, called for calm in the state following the tension generated by reports about the parallel events.
Prince Oyinlola, in a statement, said he noted Aregbesola’s explanation that he was coming to the state to engage with the people on the EndSARS crisis as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari but advised that the interior minister could do that on another day.
“It is necessary that I put my own experience on record. I took over from Chief Bisi Akande in May 2003 and, I can say that throughout my almost eight years in government, and despite our political differences, Akande never gave me any problem.
“It is common knowledge that Mr. Aregbesola took over from me, and, despite the circumstances of his coming to that office, I did not do anything to undermine his authority throughout his eight years in government.
“That is the spirit with which I appeal that the Interior Minister (Aregbesola) avoid doing anything that will suggest a plan to make the state ungovernable for Mr. Oyetola.
“As a former governor of that state, I plead that we give peace a chance. The state has witnessed enough unnecessary crises in recent weeks coupled with the coronavirus pandemic which has upended people’s economy and general well-being. Our people are suffering; they deserve a respite from all forms of crises as they struggle to make ends meet.
“All of us former governors, as leaders of our people, we all have a stake in making Osun State to work for the good of our people who have had to deal with one hardship or the other.
“We will be seen as doing that when we avoid making the job of the incumbent governor difficult for him. May God help our state and its people in this difficult time,” Prince Oyinlola said.
He also counseled Governor Oyetola to, at all times, let the welfare and wellbeing of the people remain his priority as he crosses over to the second half of his term.
Investigations revealed that trouble started between the two political gladiators who are from the same political camp when Governor Oyetola reversed some of Aregbesola’s unpopular policies like his education policy that was roundly rejected by the people of the state.
It was also learnt that Governor Oyetola rejected the decision taken by the former governor, five days to the end of his administration by launching what he called Osun Development Plan 2019- 2028, a 10-year development plan.
The resistance by the governor, according to an informed source, was because “Oyetola has his own development plans and his own template for the people of the state.”
The plan of Aregbesola to celebrate the 10th anniversary simultaneously with that of the marking of the present administration’s second year in office without the knowledge of the incumbent Governor Oyetola has raised the temperature of politics and security in the state