Nigeria’s Minister of Interior Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola is no doubt a grassroots politician, Islamic scholar and a self styled comrade. He was one of Bola Tinubu‘s greatest allies, right-hand man and prime enforcer.
That was until the centre could not old between the duo in recent months.
Aregbesola’s decades of support and political yeoman jobs for Bola Ahmed Tinubu earned him Works and Infrastructure Commissioner uninterruptedly for eight years (1999 to 2007) in Lagos State, an apex political leadership in the Alimosho Federal constituency of Lagos State and a two term governorship of Osun State, all on the graces, contacts and financial might of Tinubu.
After his stint as Governor, he attempted to come to Lagos State to take up Lagos West Senatorial seat. He was casually resisted by the then Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and other Lagosians who rightly counselled Tinubu that a former Governor from another State should not come and take such an important position to the detriment of indigenes and politicians domiciled in the State.
Tinubu’s spouse Senator Remi Tinubu openly counselled Aregbesola on his “Thank You” tour to Tinubu’s Lagos residence, after his gubernatorial tenure, to stay put in Osun and grow the party, in other words, he is a distraction in Lagos politics.
This action by Ambode and other well meaning inner caucus of Tinubu drew the ire of Aregbesola who vowed to stop Ambode’s second term bid.
He conscripted the late Senator Bayo Oshinowo (Pepper), Rt Hon Mudashiru Obasa, (Lagos State Speaker), Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, (Yayi), Tayo Ayinde (Governor Babajide Olushola Sanwo-Olu Chief of Staff), Cardinal James Odumbaku, (Baba Eto) from his political enclave, the Mandate Group and a host of others to convince a gullible Tinubu that Ambode was trying to supplant Asiwaju as the new numero uno in Lagos politics.
They succeeded and Tinubu decided to drop Ambode in favour of a grateful Sanwoolu.
However, in a twist and turn of events, Aregbesola began to work with the late Oshinowo aka Pepper and his other co travellers on how to supplant Tinubu as leader in Lagos politics.
Immediately Tinubu sensed this Aregbesola-led power stripping gang up, he dissolved the Mandate Group alongside other groups in Lagos All Progressives Congress (APC). He derobed Alhaji Abdullahi Ayinde Enilolobo, who, Aregbesola in the meeting, made Mandate Group new State Chairman.
Asiwaju severed all ties with garrulous Oshinowo an this must have accelerated his demise. Also, Aiswaju cut off Aregbesola who had also begun to nurse presidential ambitions. He saw through Oshinowo’s leakages of Lagos State House of Assembly vouchers to implicate Speaker Obasa and by extension himself.
Tinubu slowly but steadily has begun to squeeze out and whittle down Aregbesola’s influence in his Alimosho stronghold, by promoting HE Adejoke Orelope Adefulire, the remnants of the Justice Forum and anti Aregbesola / Enilolobo elements in the constituency.
Meanwhile, the Osun State Governor, Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola was also directed by Tinubu to decisively deal with and demystify Aregbesola by rolling back all his unpopular policies to the glee of many indigenes of the state of living spring.
Aregbesola is now fighting for his political life in Osun. He has lost control of the APC party structures in the state and all the cases he has filed in court have been thrown out with ignominy.
The APC National Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC recognised the Oyetola faction and Oyetola is set to clinch the APC ticket despite the tantrums of Aregbesola and his diminishing supporters, the Governor has the backings of all men of worth in the state, to the chagrin of Aregbesola and his co travellers .
It is indeed ironical that within just three years, the same evil that Aregbesola perpetuated against Ambode and uncountable others is being visited on him by God who does not forget, who rewards according to actions and inactions. Retributive justice can be swift and decisive as the sun begins to set on Rauf Aregbesola’s political career.
Barr Rasaq Akanni Oloko-Oba writes from Ila Orangun Osun State
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