Concerned citizens should be worried about the current battle for supremacy that is playing itself out in Osun. It is an intra-party squabble involving the supporters of the immediate past governor of the State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, otherwise christened as The Osun Progressives (TOP), and on the IleriOluwa group who are loyalists of the incumbent governor, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola.
What had started out as mere speculation of unease among the two camps, reached its climax two weeks ago when the two groups slugged it out and tested their popularity at the All Progressives Congress (APC) ward congress that held across the 332 wards of the State.
At the end of the day, the results of the congresses across the wards turned out in favour of the Oyetola camp, with many of his loyalists running away with a landslide victory, a situation that possibly left the Aregbesola camp shell-shocked. For not even a ward was won by them.
Of course, as it would be expected and being the ways of typical Nigerian politicians, the TOP group has been all over town crying foul and telling all who cared to listen that they were cheated!
With that outing, what has become glaring to keen watchers of Osun politics is the reality that, the Oyetola camp, which apparently was underestimated, has, to the chagrin of their opponents, emerged a stronger group and taken over the entire party structure of the APC in Osun. For the TOP group, it seemed like the classical case of eating the humble pie.
With the litany of allegations and counter allegations that have trailed the TOP agitations, one would have expected that the ideal thing would be to seek redress through the official channel established by the party, if they were convinced that they had a genuine case with merit.
It is therefore a thing of utter shock and surprise to read of the recent episode of violence at the Ogo Oluwa State Party Secretariat of the APC on Saturday, fomented by the aggrieved TOP members.
That incident sadly left a sour taste in the mouth and shame on the foreheads of the attack dogs of Mr Aregbesola. How exactly did attacking the gentlemen from Abuja, who were in Osun to listen to the pleas and appeal of the Ward Congress losers, supposed to help their case? What did those stone-throwers think will come from that comedy of errors?
Saturday’s display of desperation, to say the least, made a mockery of whatever credentials TOP members or indeed their sponsor, Ogbeni Aregbesola laid claim to as progressives. It is even more disheartening considering that only a little over a decade ago, Ogbeni Aregbesola enjoyed overwhelming sympathy from the people in his long and tortuous journey to reclaiming his mandate.
Ogbeni particularly should be encouraged by those who have his ears that this sudden turn of event is clearly an anticlimax train speeding to an inglorious train station.
There is simply no justification why, despite holding a high profiled appointment as federal minister, he fights tooth and nail to frustrate his predecessor, who, by all standards, has stabilized the economy of the State and is working hard to take governance many notches higher than where Aregbesola left things
Aregbesola should be told that it is safer to be contented and play the roles befitting of decent statesmen like the inspirational leader and former governor, Chief Bisi Akande. It is sheer insecurity to go about sponsoring a splinter group that would stop at nothing than to disrupt the peace Osun is known for.
If Ogbeni Aregbesola and his loyalists have issues to resolve with Oyetola, they should do so amicably, or prove their mettle through a legally constituted poll like the recent Ward congress elections.
Politics is a game of numbers, and how well you are able to persuade the opposition to join your train. Politics is not war, and in the least, should be far from a do-or-die affair. The TOP approach is therefore most repulsive and condemnable.
The current approach by TOP reminds one of the proverbial impotent man, who, rather than be constrained by his inherent inadequacy, still shamelessly moves from one town to another courting women even when he clearly knows that he lacks the libidinal capacity to do what men do behind closed doors!
What will naturally follow is public opprobrium. The Edo experience should be sufficiently instructive to TOP.
On the other hand, the restraint and measured manner in which the Oyetola camp has taken the matter deserves some commendation. One would hope this is sustained. Like a decent leader, Governor Oyetola has sued for peace, noting that Osun and its people are known for peace and urged all to avoid acts that could tarnish the State’s reputable image.
“I appeal to party members, especially those who have already filed their petitions before the Appeal Committee over the conduct of the last Ward Congress in the State to sheathe their swords and toe the line of peace and the law.
“Since the matter is already before the Appeal Committee, they should allow the process to run its full course. We are known for peace as a people. We should do all in our power to sustain that recognition in our collective interest”, the Governor said.
Just the right thing to do. Ogbeni Aregbesola should toe the same line and call his people to order. Osun deserves better.