February 20, 2024

The result of the governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state held on Saturday proved clearly that the Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola is far from being a kingmaker in Osun politics.

Governor Adegboyega Oyetola succeeded Aregbesola in 2018 but the two had frosty relationship months after his election, hence, Aregbesola objected to his successor’s second term ambition.

After the congress on Saturday, Governor Oyetola emerged candidate of the party defeating/humiliating Aregbesola’s preferred candidate, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti with 222,169 to 12,921.

As reconciliation seemed impossible between the two gladiators and the followers, Aregbesola was vehemently against the second term bid of Oyetola.

He deployed all means to ensure that the project failed, including the formation of The Osun Progressives, TOP, a group within the party campaigning vigorously against him.

The group launched bitter campaigns against the Governor’s group ahead of their congress last year and even challenged the emergence of Ileri-Oluwa members as State Working Committee.

The minister claimed: “Oyetola has betrayed my trust, I begged him for two years, pleading with him not to erase my legacies but he refused. We have also left him alone, we have reclaimed our party. We will not support him. Adeoti is Osun’s next Governor.”

Oyetola’s silence tactics

While the situation was tense, Governor Oyetola rather than reply or respond to allegations against him, embarked on a tour of local governments across the state, familiarising himself with newly elected party executive members and party loyalists seeking their support for the party’s ticket.

The Governor’s Special Adviser on Political Matters, Oluomo Sunday Akere said Aregbesola’s tactics were attempts to distract the Governor, adding that rather than for the Governor to respond to their allegations, he would concentrate on winning the heart of the masses.

Akere said: “As you can see, the Governor is deploying the state resources to service the different strata of the society and rather than being disturbed by the antics of a few aggrieved politicians, he is focused on delivering democratic dividends and winning the heart of the masses.”

The governorship primary

On the day of the governorship primary, party members thronged the 332 wards across the state and after results were collated, Oyetola defeated the Minister in his ward and local government.

Also, Oyetola defeated both Adeoti and Lasun Yusuf in their wards and local governments.

It’s  victory for our people—Oyetola

Governor Oyetola, immediately after the result was announced, urged his co-contestants in the contest to allow peace to reign and take the state to greater heights.

Oyetola said: “It is a victory for our people who trooped out in large number during our strategic tour of the State to inform them of our intention to seek a second term. It is a restatement of their confidence in our Development Agenda which we delivered in 2018 and performance sealed in 2022. It is evidence of their belief in sustainable development which we brought into governance and preached every inch of the way.

“I thank you all our party members for your constant support, and especially for speaking eloquently today with your massive votes in favour of our administration’s restoration and consolidation agenda.

“With this primary election now concluded, I invite us all to rededicate ourselves and the party to deliver an overwhelming victory at the gubernatorial polls holding on Saturday, July 16, 2022.

“Let us close ranks and eschew bitterness in whatever form. Therefore, may I use this opportunity to also ask all our aggrieved members to have a rethink and join hands with us to further strengthen our party and deliver outstanding results at the gubernatorial poll.”

The exercise was a sham— Aregbesola

Immediately the exercise was concluded, the Minister, in a statement by his media aide, Sola Fasure, described the exercise as a sham.

He said: “We have heard of the absence of result sheets and other vital documents for recording results and vital data. We note also the absence of INEC officials in most wards, casting serious doubt on the credibility of the election.

“We note with shame and much regret the consternation of local and international observers on what they regard as a travesty of an election. I will urge you to maintain your cool and calm. Be not downcast, be not agitated. Hold your head high. “We are still receiving and studying all these reports and will take a definitive position on them.

“You are urged not to take laws into your hands. Please leave the rest to the Almighty God and let us explore all peaceful and legal means for addressing the matter in order to obtain justice.”

Observer group’s reaction

Meanwhile, an observer group, Advocacy for Advancement of Peace and Harmony in Africa Initiative, ADAPHAI, described the exercise as peaceful, orderly and a model for other states as well as other political parties.

Addressing a press conference in Osogbo, the National Coordinator of the group, Mr Sulaimon Suberu, averred that the process allowed every member of the party to exercise franchise in the atmosphere of peace.

Subaru said: “All in all, the process of the APC Primary election in Osun State was free, fair and democratic, it is indeed a model for other states and other political parties.

“However, there were reports of violence in three wards; Ward 2 Ede North where some suspected hoodlums invaded the voting centres with guns to destabilise the voting during accreditation, Gidigbo Ward 2 Iwo, where the Iwo Local Government Chairman, Mr Kamonru Ishola was allegedly assaulted and Ward 6, Osogbo, Atakunmonsa East where a yet to be identified man was shot dead by political thugs but the vehicle used for the operation was driven by the security personnel.

“In all, the report of violence is less than 1percent in all the 332 wards in the state and in our rating, the process in its entirety is excellence judging from recent political party primaries conducted in Anambra and Ekiti States.”

Vanguard

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