By Adebayo Adedeji
…..Let There Be Peace In Osun, APC
When brothers fight to death, a stranger inherits their property, says an African Proverb.
Is there anyone in the Osun All Progressives Congress (APC) feigning ignorance of or still in doubt of the frosty relationship between the two gladiators of Rauf Aregbesola, immediate past governor of the state and his successor, Gboyega Oyetola? Nobody should, because there are signs to suggest that love is lost between the two hitherto political allies.
On many occasions, prominent foot soldiers of these two politicians have engaged in open exchange of execrable words and unfraternal expletives.
Sometimes ago, a leading member of the Governor Oyetola cabinet was reported to have, in a veiled attack, taken to the cleaners the person of Aregbesola on the latters palliative distribution to the citizens of the state.
The said cabinet member was quoted to have said: In Osun, palliatives to the party members must pass through the Chief priest himself, Gboyega Famodun or be taken to the dogs.
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The reference to Aregbesola’s palliatives as items meant for the propitiation of the gods by an ally of Oyetola may in fact indicate that there is a fragile peace in the party. This particular statement coming from the Oyetola camp, expectedly, elicited negative outburst from the supporters of the former governor; and the war of lousy words raged on for days before sanity was brought to bear.
Indeed of recent, we have been regaled with stories of how the country’s minister of interior, Aregbesola, decided to remain aloof in the COVID-19 relief committee set up by Governor Oyetola. Aregbesola, rumours had it, that rather than donating to the cause of the committee, elected to do a one-man show of palliative distribution to the people of the state.
While eminent citizens of the state like Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Alhaji Tunde Badmus, Yusuf Lasun, etc donated handsomely to the relief committee and participated actively in the committee’s deliberations, Aregbesola, the story reveals, didn’t make any remarkable contribution. This disposition, it was learnt, infuriated the incumbent governor and his lieutenants and made Aregbesola a target of further onslaught.
There are many indications to unhealthy relationship between the incumbent and his predecessor, but for factor of space and need for brevity, one may not be able to delve into every detail.
Undoubtedly, this animosity has so caused unimaginable damage to the existence and foundation of the progressive movement in the state, to the extent that one is tempted to conclude that the situation may accelerate the process of collapsibility of the party to the advantage of the belligerent opposition party, which has been lurking in the dark to launch a debilitating sortie on the ruling party.
For the foregoing reason, the two leaders are graciously advised to give peace a chance, because in the period of peace, we achieve more. They should cease fire or give room for their adversaries to lash on their frailties and inherit the gains of their sweat.
Governor Oyeyola, urgently and importantly, should devise a better and benign means of managing his predecessor and political benefactor in order not to eternally impair their lofty relationship of close to three decades. Unarguably he has been given the mandate to steer the affairs of the state for four years; but he should equally remember the effort of his predecessor in his emergence.
For the purpose of education, it is worth reiterating the fact that Governor Oyetola was not the initial choice of the generality of the APC members; but Aregbesola, against all odds, provided a solid structure for him to lean on and thrive.
He sold him to every nook and cranny of the state and made the hitherto naysayers of his candidacy embrace the “IleriOluwa” movement.
It takes only someone who believes in your capacity, judgment and loyalty to sacrifice his political future for you in the face of rampaging and uncontrollably incursion of the opposition party in 2018.
Aregbesola curried enemies because he chose to anoint Oyetola as his successor.
A good turn, as the saying goes, deserves another. Governor Oyetola, irrespective of any grudges and reservations he might have against his friend, should accommodate members of Aregbesola support groups and do well not to despise their ideas.
They were there for him in the trenches, even at the expense of their personal needs and comfort. And he may still need them for his reelection in the next twenty months. A reasonable number of these dedicated supporters should be captured in the political arrangement and reward system put in place by the Iragbiji-born insurance magnate.
No one disputes the fact that he is at liberty to direct the position he wants his government to follow; however, Governor Oyetola should not give any impression that he is out to spite his predecessor. Doing so would even dwarf his reasonably visible achievements in the last twenty months. Citizens of the state who Governor Oyetolas newly-built roads, many renovated medical centres…are meant for would rather dwell on the wrangling than his profound stride in office. Bad news sells faster than good news.
The party’s growth, nay the growth of Osun, can only be sustained when there is collective action and sincerity of purpose, not only among the rank and file, but also among its leadership which the duo of Governor Oyetola and Ogbeni Aregbesola represent.
I implore Governor Oyetola, once again, not to nurse a bitter recrimination towards his predecessor because what bitter recrimination does is reopening old wounds.
“Let all bitterness, wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking,” the Bible says in Ephesians 4:31,”be put away from you…; and be ye kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God…hath forgiven you.”
On the part of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, of course, it would be in his best interest if he immediately assumes his appropriate position as Statesman. This will make his name more endearing and enduring than lousy and unsolicited fiddling in the affairs of government in the state. He should emulate his contemporaneous governor in Borno State, Kassim Shettima, who has given his successor some break and needed space to govern the state.
The mutual respect with which former governor Shettima and the incumbent Professor Babagana Zulum have held each other is engendering peaceful atmosphere in the state. Partly for the reason of peaceful political milieu that exists, we are daily entertained with reports of the giant and commendable strides of the government in Borno.
Former governor Aregbesola must know he is not only a leader of the party in the state, but also a revolution driver in whom many people draw inspiration. Hence, he should not monitor or dictate how history will document his trajectory. Because his doing so has proclivity to get his niche blurred and marred. He should allow history chronicle him sans delusion.
The sixteen-year war of territorial consolidation in Yorubaland in the 19th Century, which first began with an avoidable war against Apomu by Alaafin Awole who ascended the throne in 1789,should be a source from which every war monger and crisis stoker draw profound lessons.
The war which a historian like Dapo Thomas has described as a foolish war, fought by two foolish groups, with foolish objectives and with foolish outcome, later led to the annexation of Yorubaland beginning with the seizure of Lagos in 1851 and subsequently its declaration as a Crown Colony of Britain in 1861 after the Ahoyaya War.
Rifts or wars anathematize progress and development. They cause huge loss of wealth, as it was the case in the Yorubaland pre-colonial period when attention was shifted from agriculture, crafts and local industries to the production of war tools, man stealing and human merchandise.
Peace, peace, absolute and genuine peace is what is needed in APC now…Let every participant give it a chance, please.
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