Osun State, known for its peaceful atmosphere, has been engulfed in a battle of supremacy between the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). SEFIU AYANBIMPE analyses how the high wire politics in the state has taken a new dimension as PDP allege that the governor has rejected buses meant for the people of his state.
The opposition PDP in Osun State has accused Mr Rauf Aregbesola, of rejecting some buses allocated to the state by the federal government as part of its palliative measures on the controversial fuel subsidy removal.
LEADERSHIP observed that since President Goodluck Jonathan promised to supply two buses to each 774 of the local governments across the nation as part of its palliative measures of the controversial removal of fuel Subsidy in the land early this year.
The people of the state were expecting the buses to be plying the roads after the coalition of labour and civil societies suspended their indefinite nationwide strike action and protests against the removal of the fuel subsidy.
The people of the state have resigned to faith when the gesture and promise of the federal government did not follow through on the sixty (60) buses meant for the state.
But PDP brought the memory alive last week through a statement issued and signed by its Director of Publicity, Prince Diran Odeyemi, alleging that Aregbesola was playing politics with the lives of the citizens of the state by antagonising the federal government at all times.
Odeyemi said, “Part of the Governor Aregbesola’s contempt for the federal government, he has again rejected buses allocated to Osun State as a palliative on fuel subsidy removal. The governor rejected the buses on the excuse that the state cannot maintain them. Aregbesola’s disdain for the federal government and in particular President Goodluck Jonathan is uncalled for, and I advise the governor to have a rethink in the interest of the people of the state”.
He therefore called on all well-meaning Nigerians to caution Aregbesola against causing confusion in Osun State and Nigeria in general. “After all, there are ACN governors in Oyo, Ogun, Ekiti, and Lagos States and none of them have been accused of such allegations”.
PDP further said: “It will interest Nigerians that Governor Aregbesola has again threatened to demolish Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in Osogbo, another Federal institution while other agencies belonging to the Federal Government have been given quit notices from the offices they occupied at Old Governor’s office.”
Reacting, the State chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) faulted the allegation raised by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state that it rejected allocation of subsidy buses from the Federal Government.
Speaking through its Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy, Barrister Kunle Oyatomi explained that the federal government is yet to allocate buses to the state to cushion the effect of the oil subsidy removal by the PDP-led federal government.
While describing the allegation as another lie being peddled by the PDP against the state government, Oyatomi called on the National Secretariat of the PDP to call to order “the shameless liars who run the party in Osun State”.
According to Oyatomi, “to put the record straight, in February this year, the Minister of State for Finance told the States’ Commissioner of Finance in the country that the Federal Government will need National Assembly approval before he could distribute the said buses to the States. Since then, Osun State has heard nothing from the Federal Government. So, why did not the PDP ask their Abuja authorities when they sent buses to Osogbo and who did they send it to?
The ACN described the PDP in the state as an embarrassment, not only to Osun state but to their national headquarters in Abuja.
Earlier, the National Vice Chairman (Southwest) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Segun Oni has warned the Osun State Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola over his planned demolition of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) building in Oshogbo, Osun State capital.
Oni, who reiterated the allegation that Aregbesola was championing secession, said; “The governor’s actions in the recent past and open contempt for the federal government, including President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo are enough evidence that he (Aregbesola) is up to something sinister against the corporate existence of Nigeria.”
He said, “Our attention has been drawn to the plan by the Osun State government to demolish the NTA, Oshogbo under the guise of turning the present location of the television station to a ‘Tourists Attraction.
“Also, we are aware that all Federal Agencies have been given quit notice from offices allocated to them at the Old Governor’s office when Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola was governor of the State, under the excuse that he (Aregbesola) needs the place for market stalls.
“This, to us is an indication that Governor Aregbesola’s hatred for the Federal Government and unity of Nigeria is graduating to an alarming state and if the governor is not checked now, he will one day ask that a federal institution like the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife be moved from its present location because he wants to plant flowers or build a shrine there.
“Today, he (Aregbesola) goes everywhere with a Flag of his imaginary republic and like I said before, the time has come for him to be bold enough to tell Nigerians if he wants to excise Osun State from Nigeria,” Oni said.
The PDP Chieftain recalls that “Again, on the October 27, 2011 at Osogbo, Governor Aregbesola once again threw decorum to the wind and displayed want of good judgment and reason to attack and disparage the person of the Vice President of Nigeria, Arch. Namadi Sambo at the opening of Federal High Court Complex. In flagrant disregard for protocol and disrespect for the Vice President, he (Aregbesola) snubbed the Vice President”.
He maintained that two instances are enough to show that Governor Aregbesola has a sinister agenda against Nigeria and its corporate existence as a nation, and it is better to be called to order, the better for Nigeria and its people.
Meanwhile, the opposition political parties in Osun state under the aegis of the Alliance of Collaborating Political Parties (ACPP) rose in defense of the State Governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola on his current travails occasioned by the alleged islamisation of the state and secession plot contained in a security report released recently by the Department of state Security (DSS), describing the allegations as attempts by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to ridicule the government of Aregbesola and cause unnecessary tension in the state.
The co-coordinator of the group, Dr Gbenga Afeni, said at a press Conference addressed in Osogbo yesterday that the security reports released by the Department of State Security (DSS) were not favourable to Governor Aregbesola and only served as a calculated attempt by the security agency to destabilize Aregbesola’s government.
He alleged that the security reports against Aregbesola are a part of the game plan of the PDP to ensure that President Goodluck Jonathan is re-elected in 2015, saying “Osun is a prime state on the offensive list of the PDP and President Jonathan because he suffered a great defeat in the state during the last presidential election.”
According to him, the said security report dated 19th March, 2012 addressed to the Chief of Army Staff; Lt Gen. O.A Ihejirika and signed by the Director General of the DSS, Mr Ekpeyong Ita contained bias and uninvestigated matters, adding that the Governor has not committed any criminal or civil offence going by the contents of the report.
A security report which indicted Aregbesola was widely reported in the state which alleged that Governor Aregbesola was planning to Islamize the state and secede from Nigeria following his actions since he assumed office in November 2010.
Afeni who is the state chairman of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) spoke on behalf of chairmen of ten other political parties in the state and condemned the security report, even as he pledged the unalloyed support of members of the ACPP for the government of Aregbesola.
He said “it is very pathetic that security agencies have allowed themselves to be used by politicians against intelligence gathering, relying on facts and figures to combating crime. Every allegation against Aregbesola is fabricated and unfounded.
Instead of focusing attention on known Boko Haram that has claimed hundreds of lives in the north, security agencies are now being used to harass a focused and working Governor”.
“We hereby declare that there is no religious crisis in any part of our state, and we want the security agencies to investigate this fact in all parts of Osun state. What unites us in Osun state is greater than what divides us. Whether we are Muslims, Christians or traditionalists, Osun belongs to us and we have the responsibility to protect our virtuous heritage,” he stated.
He, however, warned the PDP and all security agencies in the country to desist from harassing Aregbesola and his government in the interest of peace and tranquility in the state, saying further harassment on Aregbesola could lead to acrimony.