ALO ABIOLA, writes on the uproar that trailed the recent visit of Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola to his Ekiti State counterpart, Ayo Fayose.
After Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose made an unexpected visit to his colleague and Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, in Osogbo, the state capital in January, there were claims and counter claims arising from that visit.
Some were of the view that Fayose, who was elected governor on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had gone to seek the assistance of his colleague from the All Progressives Congress (APC) on some issues with some agencies of the federal government. Others believed that he was making moves to dump his party for APC.
Fayose who was quick to dispel the insinuations about the much publicised visit, clarified that the visit was primarily because of his belief in the unity of Yoruba race and states which comes first before the seat of the governor and to find solutions to the economic problems we are facing.
It would also be recalled that the wife of the Osun State governor, Alhaja Sherifat Aregbesola had hosted a forum on eradication of female genital mutilation in Osogbo last year November with Ekiti State first lady, Mrs Feyisetan Fayose in attendance.
A similar forum which was hosted by Mrs Fayose earlier this year in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital and graced by Mrs Aregbesola and some other first ladies from Southwest hinted a close affinity between the two governors.
Aregbesola, who then declined giving details of the kind of relationship the two of them have, was quoted as saying that regardless of the differences in political party, Fayose’s visit demonstrated maturity.
He also spoke on why the country must look for alternative to oil and translate the unity of culture to strong economic bonds to take the people out of mystery of poverty to the level of economic independence.
Fayose who was reported to have said that he was not in Osogbo to ask Aregbesola to help him beg as being speculated in some quarters then vowed never to decamp to another political party and will continue to push his views forward added “that the strength of democracy is in opposition to put our leaders on their toes.”
It was his response to Aregbesola’s banter to him that PDP has exhausted it’s stay in Nigeria and can no longer be revived, urging him look at his own political party that will give hope to our people.
He added that the Yoruba race is greater than any political office hence his belief in the development of the race.
However, in what looked like a reverse visit on October 1, the Aregbesola came to EKiti State on the invitation of Fayose to deliver a lecture, entitled: “The imperative of unity.” being part of activities marking the 20th anniversary of Ekiti State creation and Nigeria’s 56 Independent anniversary celebrations.
Fayose explained that he chose Aregbesola, a colleague from another political party, as guest lecturer at the public forum because there was a dire need for the nation to remove the veil of politics and work together as a team to rescue the nation from current economic woes: “ I took this decision that you should come instead of my colleague from my party because if we don’t take away the veil of politics and wear the armour of Nigeria, we would be wasting our time. I’ve personally visited you before and I’m glad you are also here.
Aregbesola who listed aggressive agriculture, concerted efforts to end oil pipeline vandalism and regional integration towards meaningful development as possible solution to the country economic challenges said, “We should revive agriculture, especially food production. Agriculture gives us raw materials for industries and aids in no small measure in economic development. I want to urge all Nigerians on a concerted effort to end the on-going vandalism of oil pipelines as the militants’ activities have been reducing the nation’s daily productivity level to between 700,000 to 1 million per barrel.”
The governor of Osun who praised Ekiti people and also urged them to continue to support their governor for the development of the country said “It is high time the Yoruba nation and indeed the South-West unite in terms of integrating our development strategies in education, commerce, economy, agriculture and tourism among others. There is no reason why we should not unite for the best. The truth is that no Yoruba state, with the exception of Lagos State, can survive alone without collaborating with sister states. Therefore, we have to come together, pull together our abundant human and material resources.”
Speaking in the same vein, Fayose said Nigeria requires practical steps to surmount her present challenges.
“All countries that I know, including the little Ghana, are all importing things that are important to their people. At this present time, we are nose-diving and not progressing because there have not been cogent steps taken by the Federal Government to effect a positive change.
“In all countries of the world, when a new government comes into place, they bring together all views, opinions and parties irrespective of their political party, to sit down and direct the affairs of the nation because the government is coming afresh and need a lot of things to learn and gather before they can fully take control and build on the existing achievement.”
But the romance between the two governors is not sitting well with political forces in certain quarters. If anything it has caused ripples in the state.
Expressing worry over Aregbesola’s visit to Ekiti state, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state described the visit as a slight on the party and contempt for its leadership in the state.
It regretted that Aregbesola at the event described Fayose as Omoluabi and a hardworking governor who had turned around the fortunes of Ekiti State in terms of infrastructure.
The party stressed that the visit showed the contempt of Osun State governor against them particularly after Fayose had caused severe pains in the lives of APC members, some of whom had been languishing in jail for about two years for offences they did not commit.
Olatunbosun said, “Aregbesola’s visit to Fayose, praising him as ‘omoluabi’ and for the achievements by APC-led government is not alone embarrassing but also awful in the face of sustained attacks on APC members, some of whom are still languishing in jail for about two years over trumped-up charges by Fayose.
“It is shocking that Aregbesola as a governor and one of the leading lights in the APC in the South West and indeed the nation would be visiting Ekiti State without putting the leaders into confidence, more so on a visit to a man who once wished the President dead and had done unbelievable things both in Nigeria and abroad to bring Buhari’s government down.
“Worse still, Aregbesola was praising the man who will stop at nothing to bring APC-led Federal Government down after several years of failed attempts by the progressives to win the presidency of Nigeria.”
Olatunbosun also frowned on alleged misappropriation of APC’s authority with the Osun governor promising realignments of forces with Fayose “sooner than later”, saying such “unbridled” trading off of the APC in Ekiti State to Fayose would never stand in the face of the governor’s molestation of the APC members over the years.
Interestingly, the PDP in Ekiti state has defended Aregbesola describing, APC’s attack on the Osun state governor as sadist mentality.
The party noted that, though APC has never hidden the fact that it doesn’t want anything good for Ekiti State but it should have applied caution by not exposing itself as party of sadists who will not even rejoice at the progress made by the State in the last 20years of its creation.
According to a statement by the PDP State publicity secretary , Mr Jackson Adebayo, the party said APC has once again displayed its hatred for the people of the State as well as expressing sadness at the rapid transformation of the State by the present government criticising Aregbesola who only came to the state to celebrate with the government and people on the 20 years of steady development of Ekiti State and the landmark achievements of Governor Ayo Fayose,
PDP said it was very unfortunate that the APC that claimed to be peopled by progressives would not see any reason to rejoice with the people of Ekiti State but went ahead to attack a governor elected on its platform just because he came to celebrate with the Ekiti people and extol Governor Fayose’s giant stride since mounted the state’s mantle of leadership about years ago.
Adebayo maintained that APC can not deny the commendation by the governor of Osun State on Fayose, hence they went for the head of Aregbesola instead of celebrating Ekiti State at 20 with some level of dignify progressive mind.
PDP stressed that what jolted the opposition party in Ekiti most was the assertion by Aregbesola that Ekiti State has been transformed by governor Fayose, that when he flew in he could see that the state has been tremendously transformed from what he saw when he came during the past administration.
According to the party, APC is better expected to come out and join Aregbesola in commending Fayose administration for doing what the former governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, a member of APC has failed to do, while praising the governor of Osun State for the courage and benevolence he displayed by gracing Ekiti at 20 and shelling away the sentiment of politics.