Awo/Akintola Crisis: Tinubu and Aregbesola Must Not Fight

By Yusuf Akinloye Akintunde

Just like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu bestrides the entire landscape of Yoruba politics like a colossus. His influence on the contemporary political pitch of the Yorubas is enormous. No doubt, Jagaban of Borgu Kingdom is a juggernaut in the political permutation of Nigeria.

Photo: Tinubu & Aregbesola

No doubt, a tree cannot make a forest. As God blessed Chief Awolowo with brilliant and loyal disciples, Asiwaju Tinubu is equally endowed with trusted and shrewd allies. These disciples can take bullets for their revered principal, Bola Tinubu. In the forefront of the revered Awoists, we had Alhaji Lateef Jakande, Chiefs Bola Ige, Michael Ajasin, Bisi Akande, Ganiyu Dawodu, Olabisi Onabanjo, Abraham Adesanya, Segun Osoba and a host of others.

Let me borrow the words of Dr Sam Onunaka Mbakwe, the first democratically-elected governor of Imo State; Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is strategically surrounded with men of timber and calibre. It will be an underestimation of their untiring commitment if I do not mention some of them.

Photo: Tinubu & Aregbesola

Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola is the numero uno of the Jagabanists. This team will not be complete if I don’t mention Cardinal Odumbaku, Chief Ajomole, Yemi Osinbajo, Abiola Ajimobi, Babatunde Fashola, Femi Gbajabiamila, Gboyega Oyetola, late Bayo Osinowo, Mudashiru Obasa, Kemi Nelson, Abike Dabiri and others.

Asiwaju Tinubu has gone farther than letting any brawl aggravate between him and his political heir apparent, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. There is no doubt that crisis is looming between Asiwaju Tinubu and Ogbeni Aregbesola. Anything contrary to this fact is pure fallacy and deceit. We need not deceive ourselves.

This crisis that is gradually rearing its ugly head is not unconnected to the crisis between Ogbeni Aregbesola and Governor Gboyega Oyetola of the State of Osun. Apparently, there is a furtive and stealthy war between Governor Oyetola and his predecessor. Do I need to go to the origin of the crisis? Yes, I will, but it won’t be so detailed.

At the buildup to the 2018 Osun gubernatorial election, Aregbesola’s choice, due to tenable reasons, was not Oyetola. Aregbe was routing for another aspirant as a successor. To cut this story short, Oyetola became the favoured candidate at the instance of Asiwaju. Aregbe was ordered by Asiwaju to adopt Oyetola at the expense of other aspirants.

It was just an order – Rauf, Oyetola l’a maa lo (Rauf, Oyetola is our candidate). Aregbesola, being a loyal follower of Jagaban, had no choice but to listen to the dictates of his Leader, the Jagaban of Borgu. Oyetola became the APC candidate in Osun. The campaign was jointly run without hitches. All hands were on deck to ensure victory for the party, APC.

However, there were mild skirmishes during the supplementary election. There was a desperate need for electioneering fund. Aregbesola had to rush to Lagos to approach Jagaban for fund. Approval was made from the personal purse of Asiwaju to prosecute the election. Aregbesola came with the money to Osun.

To be fair to Aregbe, since he was the principal actor in the election, he started disbursing the fund without delay. Gboyega Oyetola saw this as an act of sidelining. He had to report Aregbesola to Jagaban. Jagaban, being a listening leader, sent extra money to Oyetola, so as to prevent crisis between the two foremost gladiators in the election.

This caused rifts between Oyetola and Aregbesola; coupled with the fact that Oyetola had already had ill-feelings towards Aregbe. Oyetola does not feel indebted to Ogbeni. In his mind, he wouldn’t have been picked as the gubernatorial candidate, if not for the swift intervention of Asiwaju. Oyetola’s loyalty was for Asiwaju only.

Today, in Osun, there are two camps – Aregbesola and Oyetola Camps. The two camps are at each other’s throats. Oyetola’s loyalists keep stoking the ember of discord between Aregbesola and Oyetola. Though Aregbesola’s loyalists are in no way blameless. They are as guilty as their rivals. Governor Oyetola keeps reporting Ogbeni to Asiwaju.

There is a dangerous trend between the two camps. Reports have it that the worst way you can invoke the wrath of Governor Oyetola is by associating with Aregbe. Vice versa with Ogbeni Aregbesola. No matter how competent you are, as long as you are from the opposing camp, you will be dropped for any favour or appointment. Tensions are high in the State of Osun, right now.

Let me say this – when a lie is consistently told, it becomes a truth. Asiwaju Tinubu is gradually hesitant and doubtful of Aregbe’s loyalty. To many followers of Aregbesola, Asiwaju Tinubu is taking sides. Thus, a gap has been created between Asiwaju and Aregbe. This needless gap keeps widening by the day.

Isn’t this uncalled for? Two political families are fighting each other over what can be amicably solved. Asiwaju Tinubu should not let anyone come between him and his generalissimo, Rauf Aregbesola. He is the overall leader. He needs not take side. Also, Aregbe should not let anyone set him against his leader and mentor, Asiwaju. They have both come a long way in their political struggle and survival. This is not the right time to fight. This spells a great doom for the entire Yorubaland. A repeat of Awolowo/Akintola imbroglio is disastrous to the Yoruba race.

Also, my candid advice for Governor Gboyega Oyetola is to tread cautiously and softly. He should turn deaf ears to the vituperations of sycophants against Aregbe. Aregbesola, no matter what, is his boss and benefactor. Let him show gratitude for the favour received. God used Aregbe in his ascension to the stool of leadership in Osun. Aregbesola deserves his respect and honour.

Let them put their house in order. Aregbesola is a critical factor if he wants a second term in Osun. Many people voted and will still vote for him solely because of Aregbe. This is an impeccable fact. Let them solve this crisis before it gets out of hands. This iroko tree must not fall!

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