Mr. Sola Fasure, the Media Adviser to the Minister of the Interior, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, speaks to BOLA BAMIGBOLA about the 2023 general elections and the Osun State Congress of All Progressives about the ongoing reconciliation between the faction loyal to his boss and the immediate former governor, Adegboyega Oyetola
Your The director, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, seems to be quite inactive in Senator Bola Tinubu’s presidential campaign. Why is it so?
You will notice that the members of the Federal Executive Council, including the Vice President, are not yet active. They are all following the presidential directive to focus on governance. I’m pretty sure they will be, now. The campaign is entering its most critical stage, with the election date drawing near.
Looking at the situation in Osun, how would you rate the party’s preparation for the 2023 general elections?
The party in the state is undergoing reconciliation after the internal war that made it lose the election for governor. You will definitely see a more vibrant election winning machine after the reconciliation process that has been going on has concluded.
You mentioned reconciliation, but since the group loyal to Ogbeni announced an end to all hostilities and expressed willingness to reconcile with other interests within APC, nothing serious has been heard about meetings between the two groups. How exactly is the situation?
The act is a demonstration of good will of our tendency. Reconciliation is one thing; healing is another. Both sides are still suffering from the war, and healing may take longer. One side is still smarting from the loss of the gubernatorial race. The implication of losing power is sinking in on them. Governor Ademola Adeleke may make more egregious revelations, which may result in “who knows” consequences, causing even more pain.
On the other hand, the TOP trend, don’t forget, was alienated from the party and the government. These are the people who made the election of Governor Oyetola possible. But they were harassed, arrested and prosecuted in court. Some were detained and transferred to the Ilesa Custody Center.
Some were denied tickets to the party due to their association with Ogbeni Aregbesola. The ex-governor Aregbesola himself was alienated from the party and the government. He was vilified and subjected to relentless attacks. A smear campaign was unleashed against him, including sponsored calls for him to be removed as minister. This was the person who renewed the party after the 2003 loss to the PDP.
He rebuilt it from the ground up and turned it into a winning machine, winning three governorships, three presidential elections, and back-to-back state and national legislative elections. Even serving legislators thought to be friendly to them were denied entry. As a result, the healing process can take some time.
In the end, in time, they will all be fine. What is important is the consensus reached by each side to reconcile and move forward as one family again. Let us pray that the businessmen in the conflict who profit from the dispute do not derail the process.
Some party sources recently said that Ogbeni Aregbesola planned to return to Osun to start campaigning for all but one of the APC candidates in the poll. Who is that person and why won’t the ex-governor campaign for him?
I am not aware of this. Osun is a true rumor mill. You cannot split a campaign. If you campaign for your party, you take all the candidates with you; no candidate can be alienated.
The rest of the work will be done by the voters, depending on the credibility of each candidate before them. Aregbesola is bringing all of his goodwill, credibility and campaign prowess; There is no doubt about that. But it is the people who will decide in the end.
As part of the reconciliation, the APC mainstream in Osun ordered members of the now-defunct Aregbesola-backed “Los Progresistas de Osun” to return to their various districts and begin campaigning for the party’s candidates. Have they complied with that instruction?
TOP members have never left their districts and would have fully participated in the last gubernatorial election had they not been alienated.
In fact, they were then told that their support was not necessary. It turned out that his overlooked support was very valuable and his alienation very costly. I hope the same mistake is not repeated. I want this to be clear: Aregbesola and TOP have no candidate in this election and have no other interest than the name of the party and its fortune. It is the other side that needs your support, not the other way around. Let us hope that reconciliation leads to full integration in order to face the next general elections as a united front.
He recently sounded the alarm about plans by some he called “nervous politicians” to thwart reconciliation moves within the APC fold. Who are these people and what do you see them aiming at?
In the past week, you may have noticed a series of posts on microblogging sites falsely accusing Ogbeni Aregbesola of attacking APC presidential candidate Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. You won’t find the story in any mainstream medium: print, electronic, or online.
With my little media experience as a practitioner and now as a user, some people are definitely pushing it. They are trying to pour gasoline on the smoldering fire to escalate the conflagration again, anger both sides and wreak havoc on the reconciliation process.
What is APC National Headquarters doing regarding Osun APC reconciliation?
Many people are working for reconciliation, including some Yoruba traditional rulers, APC leaders and their mutual friends. Many people are involved. Let us pray that the reconciliation will be a success.
What concrete suggestions will you make to ensure genuine reconciliation in the Osun APC?
The two parties (Oyetola and Aregbesola) must put aside their differences and work together to ensure the success of the APC in this year’s elections and in the upcoming gubernatorial elections in the state. If they continue to fight each other, the PPD will continue to win elections at their expense.
Why hasn’t Aregbesola visited Osun in a long time? Could it be because of the crisis in his party, the APC?
Aregbesola is an acting federal minister and only comes to the state on purpose. His work takes up a lot of his time. He works 24 hours at work. If you haven’t seen him, it’s because there’s no compelling reason for him to be in Osun.
Now that the elections are approaching, it is to be hoped that he will come to work for the victory of the party.