Political activism is gathering momentum ahead of the 2022 governorship election in Osun State. There are series of meetings and political gatherings at units, wards and local government councils across the state.
This activism is not only taking place within groups but across party lines, especially among major political parties eyeing the plum seat being occupied by Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of All Progressives Congress (APC).
For the APC, the main focus and concern of such meetings and participants is on how to consolidate on the achievements of the current administration headed by Oyetola and ensure his re-election come September 2022 while the concern of the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and others is how to wrestle power from the ruling APC.
A number of registered political parties are also planning to go into alliance with either the ruling party or the opposition to have their dream come true.
Already, a faction of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) led by the former Deputy Governor of the State, Senator Iyiola Christopher Omisore has entered into alliance with the current administration since 2018 and working assiduously to ensure the re-election of Governor Oyetola while other politicians who had dumped the ruling APC in the wake of the political crisis that greeted the 2018 governorship election but now returned are still finding their feet on where to belong.
The recent visit of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, immediate past governor of the state now Minister of Interior lent credence to this unfolding political activism in the state.
Though, Aregbesola claimed in his personal twitter handle that his recent visit to the state was in fulfilment of a presidential directive to have engagements with stakeholders on the aftermath of “EndSARS protest ”and to remind the residents of the state that Coronavirus still very much around in the country and how to assist the government in tackling the menace,” but it was gathered that his visit has raised the tempo of consciousness, sensations, alertness and political activism of people of the state.
Addressing his supporters and some political functionaries who served with him while in government in the state, Aregbesola said he will be more frequent visiting the state to interact with people as “we are moving closer to 2022.”
Aregbesola emphatically stressed that he deliberately stayed away from the state to allow the new government of Oyetola to settle down and be focused, noting that “now it is time to galvanise political activities in the state and that is why I would be more frequent to interact with the people.”
The Minister of Interior who faulted the claim that there was purported strange relationship with his successor, maintained that “I have clarified the issue of rift, that I had no rift with anybody, yes, I have been away from here for quite a while simply to allow the new government to settle down and with what I have seen I will now engage with people.
“The party is strong and I will be here more frequently to strengthen it more because we need it,” he added.
Aregbesola also vowed not to leave the ruling party to just anybody adding that he had laboured to bring progressive party, then Alliance for Democracy (AD) to live since 2004 when he was Commissioner for Works in Lagos State.
In fact, one of the leaders of AD in the state told Sunday Independent that Aregbesola was the sole financial of AD since 2004 when the party lost the seat of government to opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) under Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola.
“He (Aregbesola) nurtured AD till it was transformed to Action Congress (AC), later to Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and now APC,” he added.
The source further revealed that all the political functionaries behind Oyetola allegedly fueling the “imaginary” rift between them were raised by Aregbesola.
There is no doubt the fact that the current political tempo has generated ill feelings and reactions from certain quarters especially among the stakeholders within and outside the party divide and across the state.
Several platforms have since been created and generated on social media where the new twist of politics in the state and events were tabled for discussion and comments as well as views of the general public were sought.
However, the ill feelings the current tempo generated within the ruling party is mad worse because events in the state in recent times have stirred the friction among supporters of the two political gladiators.
Investigations conducted by Sunday Independent revealed that the approach and manner of mobilisation being done by Aregbesola’s supporters and aides whenever he visits the state appears not good enough in Oyetola’s camp who had earlier reported Aregbesola to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former Lagos State Governor and National Leader of the ruling APC.
It was further learnt that Oyetola’s camp had complained that there cannot be two governors in a state with long entourage of party faithful, especially when they are being escorted by some para military agencies under Aregbesola.
There is also the claim that Aregbesola is in the habit of bringing large crowd from outside the state, especially Lagos.
But an aide to Aregbesola who does not want his name in print told Sunday Independent that the unfolding political events and programmes to sensitise and revive the consciousness of the people of the state towards 2022 gubernatorial poll ought to be done jointly by the two political leaders since they are from the same political family and in the interest of the ruling party.
The aide noted that the refusal of the current Governor to accept his predecessor in office as a leader is responsible for this imaginary friction.
According to him, “if Oyetola had accepted Ogbeni Aregbesola as a leader as being done in Lagos State, things will be well for the party and may have smooth ride back to office for second term.
“Imagine how can somebody labour to raise a party since 2004, contest the governorship seat but robbed and went through the legal tussle for some years before his mandate was restored and now you ask him to go into political oblivion”.
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A political analyst from one of the private universities in the country, Dr. Bayo Oyedemi told Sunday Independent that there is no way Oyetola can accept Aregbesola as a leader and still be comfortable.
Giving analysis on the journey so far, Oyedemi observed that the rift between the two political leaders was due to lack of trust adding that Aregbesola would control the soul of the party and may work against his interest in his re-election bid.
He maintained that there is no crime in what Oyetola has done adding that Lagos approach cannot work in Osun State.
According to him, “Aregbesola had not wanted Oyetola to succeed him but has his preferred choice of candidate initially before the intervention of some political leaders.”
Oyedemi further revealed that Aregbesola caused the treatment he was being giving by Oyetola and his aides, saying towards the tail end of his administration, Aregbesola became a defacto ruler that does not listen to advice on policies and programmes executed by his government.
He explained that some underlining issues have to be amicably resolved by the leadership of the party before Aregbesola and Oyetola can work together as one united force.
Presnetly, supporters of the two political leaders are working at cross purposes, a development which political analysts say might be dangerous for a smooth ride or return to office of Governor Oyetola come 2022.
The happenings in the ruling party had polarised it into factions with members at cross road not knowing which of the factions to join and may open up opportunities for opposition to utilise.
Series of endorsements of Oyetola for second term in office have taken over the political scene in the state, especially by Ileri Oluwa Next Level Progressives Movement.
The immediate past state chairman of the party, Prince Adegboyega Famodun while reacting to endorsement of Oyetola said it will ease the stress of Oyetola winning the primary election on the platform of the party.
According to him, “the growing endorsements of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola for continuity in office beyond 2022 is gradually easing the possible stress of party primaries.”
He said the fact that the endorsements are coming earlier before the primaries gladden his heart, adding that so many groups and structures of the party are willing to follow suit by endorsing Oyetola.
“I consider it a job done for me as one of the party leaders that the issue of primaries, as far as I am concerned, is settled for the Governor”.
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