The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State of Osun might not have festered till date if fairness, unity and collective purpose wasn‘t jettisoned by the current administration in the State, investigations have revealed.
Due to controversies surrounding the emergence and eventual assumption of office of Governor Oyetola, efforts were not spared to unite members of the APC political family in Osun.
Findings revealed that rather than the Governor and his loyalists strengthening and rejuvenating the party for the consolidation of progressive legacies in the state, it began an unprecedented politics of segregation and exclusivity against members of the party that brought him to power in 2018.
A source who is close to the two camps told journalists that party members who wanted to ensure that the crisis did not degenerate, at its earlier stage, formed The Osun Progressives (TOP), a caucus of the party in a bid to right the wrongs of the factional party chairman, Gboyega Famodun and by extension, the Governor‘s camp.
A top party chieftain in the state who prayed not to be named because of the height of the crisis said Governor Oyetola‘s strong position not to associate with anyone who believed in his predecessor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola‘s administration was the first in the series of strokes he used to further divide the party.
The party leader explained further: „Since the creation of Osun in August 27, 1991, Osun has been democratically governed with Osun West Senatorial District taking the first shot but ruling for just less than 24 months; Osun East Senatorial District ruling for eight years; Osun Central Senatorial District where Governor Oyetola hails from would have ruled for 15 and half years by the end of his tenure. With three Governors: Chief Bisi Akande, four years; Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, seven and half years; and Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola who would have spent four years at the end of his first term by 2022 being from the same Ifelodun/Boripe/Odo-Otin Federal Constituency as Oyinlola.
„In 2018, the agitation for the Osun West Senatorial District to produce the next Governor was fierce and huge. It was so fierce that all party leaders, starting from the elders, Agba Osun caucus of APC, majority of the State Executive Council, and virtually all organs of the party were hell bent on „WEST LOKAN AGENDA.
“In spite of this clamour, the then Chief of Staff, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, was produced as the APC candidate for the State Gubernatorial Election.
“That decision alone fragmented the party such that a section of the party decamped to the ADP, costing APC at least 49,000 votes in the 2018 election. Eventually, the election was declared Inconclusive and a Rerun was ordered, with Alhaji Oyetola eventually winning with a slim margin.
“Although, many factors were responsible for the declaration of the election being Inconclusive, among which was the decamping of aggrieved section of APC members to the ADP – costing APC over 49,000 votes, the unpopularity of the APC candidate as well as the general clamour for OSUN WEST DISTRICT to field the next Governor were the driving factors for APC‘s unusually slim victory in the 2018 guber elections“.
Speaking further, and digging deeper into the unpopularity of the candidate, the source posited, “If we compare the results of Alhaji Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola in his home local governments and that of his closest rival, the PDP candidate in his home local governments, we will discover the huge difference of 21,525 votes in favour of the PDP candidate. This is significant, considering the fact that, PDP could only lead APC after the first ballot by only 353 votes.
“Instead of considering the above factors as the main factors responsible for the declaration of the election Inconclusive, Governor Oyetola, from the inception of his administration embarked on a campaign of calumny and politics of division within the party. Under the Oyetola administration, whoever is perceived to be associated with or harbour any interest in the legacy of immediate past administration or commitment to his predecessor is alienated from the party and government regardless of their contribution to the success of the party.“
Another albatross, the APC chieftain remarked hanging on the neck of Oyetola and his IleriOluwa camp, was the reversal of the major policies of the Aregbesola administration spitefully. They noted that since the start of his administration, the Governor had publicly shown his disdain for the Minister which Ogbeni was aware of but kept mum in the spirit of party cohesion and political maturity.
“For example, when the Muslim Community in Osun was planning to honour Ogbeni with the title of WAZIRI’L MUMINEEN of the State of Osun, the Governor and his team bluntly showed disdain for the event. Despite the fact that Governor Oyetola was the one that picked the date for the programme, he directed that major functionaries of his government should not attend the programme, while also travelling out of the country himself. The only Local Government Chairman who took active role in the programme, Hon Akeem Olaoye, then Chairman of Osogbo South LCDA was suspended from office for six months. Till today, the unbridled castigation of APC Party stalwarts by members of Oyetola’s administration is the order the day.“
He said while all these were going on, some concerned members of the party approached the Governor to have a rethink about his actions and inactions against APC stalwarts including the former Governor, but the Governor did not yield.
The APC leader noted, „The issues were brought to the attention of Baba Bisi Akande, the former Governor of Osun, for resolutions, though this effort did not produce a decisive resolution. Thereafter, in December 2020, Asiwaju intervened at a meeting held at the Ila Orangun residence of Baba Bisi Akande, with Baba Akande, Governor Oyetola and Ogbeni in attendance where resolutions were agreed. However, the resolutions taken at that meeting were jettisoned and the leaders have not since then raised a finger.
“When there was no solution in sight, genuine party leaders who love the party and majority of people who suffered before we could restore the progressive party back to power in Osun 12 years ago, came together to form The Osun Progressives (TOP), in order to reorganise the party for future elections.
“Immediately The Osun Progressives (TOP) was formed, the Government started castigating leaders of the group and its members. Though this attack has continued unabated, however on a daily basis, members of TOP have kept increasing.
“Immediately the timetable for Ward Congress was released by the National Secretariat of the APC, the leadership of TOP announced to the whole world that they were ready for the Congress but the Governor’s group, said they were not ready for a Congress rather they settled for Consensus. While TOP went for real Congress, the Governor’s group went for a dubious ‘CONSENSUS’.
“The Governor used his position as a member of the Caretaker Extraordinary and Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the APC with the support of Senator Iyiola Omisore, to influence the Chairman of the Osun Convention Planning Committee, Hon. Elegbeleye to declare the Governor’s group consensus list as duly elected ward Executives; TOP then petitioned the National Secretariat in the form of an Appeal and eventually the Appeal Committee came, they were equally compromised by the Governor, using his influence as a member of CECPC. But one significant thing about the Appeal was during its sitting, known thugs from the Governor’s group came to disrupt the proceedings.
“However, seven leaders of TOP were arraigned before the Magistrate Court instead of arresting and prosecuting thugs. The case was eventually dismissed.
As the crisis continued, especially in relation to the party Congress, numerous party leaders have intervened without any clear resolution in sight.
In his reaction, the Special Adviser to governor Oyetola on Political Affairs, Oluomo Sunday Akere said „TOP members are only trying to be mischievous, they started the crisis.
“Before Governor Adegboyega Oyetola formed his cabinet, there was no caucus or crisis anywhere, because they hoped to make the cabinet. However, it is not every member of the party that would make it to the cabinet. There are many other position that could go round. Immediately cabinet was formed, many of them begin to attack government and its policies on social media.
“Also, they accused the Governor of reversing some of the policies of the previous administration to spite his predecessor, but Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola had during his last public interaction programme told the whole world that he cannot be perfect whatever need to be adjusted would be done by his successor.
„When the committee that recommended the review of education policy was formed, the Chairman, Professor Olu Aina, he met with former Governor Aregbesola and briefed him of their objectives to which Aregbesola have his blessings. And as we are all aware that some of the education policy formed a major problem for stakeholders in the education sector and they all demanded for a review which the Governor gracefully agreed to after professionals in the sector sat over the issues.
Initially, the group was campaigning against the party Chairman, Prince Gboyega Famodun, only for them to begin to spread that Governor Oyetola would be given Ambode treatment, infact, they coin the term, „Ambode Osun“, so, who will sit back and allow some individuals take party structures from him, Ogbeni was Governor here for eight years, he did not accommodate a second opinion from anyone in the party, including Elders caucus.
„Many of them that were party exco before the congress, jettisoned their responsibility, abandoned the secretariat and when congress committee arrived the state, they were nowhere to be found, yet, they claimed they were not carried along.
Akere who was the chairman, Osun APC Congress Planning Committee said further: „Meetings were held at the party Secretariat, they did not come, congress were held, they stayed away.
They also claimed to want reconciliation, yet, they instituted cases against the party, they refused to withdraw the cases, yet, they wanted the Governor, who was nominated into the National Convention Committee to resign, which is an impossible.
The fact is that many of them have been hobnobbing with opposition party in the state and we are aware that money have exchanged hands, so, if they are truly interested in reconciliation and an end to the crisis, they should not run from a roundtable discussion.
„They know that the resolution reached at Ila at Chief Adebisi Akande country home was ignored by TOP leader and sponsor, Ogbeni Aregbesola, every agreement reached at the meeting, where Ogbeni acted as the Secretary was jeopardised by him and his followers.
„For us, the Governor is not against reconciliation, he has said that many times and we also tried to reach out to some of them. But I am certain that those who are genuinely progressive would approach the roundtable at the appropriate time while those that have made up their mind would join the party they are hobnobbing with.