Speaking in parables could sometimes be part of the tools of politics. When a politician seeks to throw missiles, he does it with tact, precision and calculated accuracy.
Last Friday, February 19, 2021, Minister of Interior and former Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, did not just revalidate his membership of the All Progressive Congress. He came all the way from Abuja for the exercise at his Ifofin Ward, Ilesa West Local Government Area of Osun armed with some missiles.
In what has set the political tongues wagging in Osun and beyond since Friday February 19, Aregbesola told his audience about issues bordering on the registration of new members and revalidation of the existing one.
Before now, impeached former Deputy Governor of the state, Iyiola Omisore, had ‘ported’ to the APC from his Social Democratic Party (SDP) which already had some alliance with the ruling party before now.
Those who had followed the political trajectory of Osun especially since 2018 recall that Omisore became a factor and a deciding one for that matter in the election that brought in incumbent Governor Gboyega Oyetola.
In an election that Oyetola failed to secure a decisive victory at the first ballot against the Peoples Democratic Party’s Senator Ademola Adeleke, Omisore, a clear political foe of the APC had suddenly emerged as a major decider in the win that APC desperately needed.
His party, the SDP, had come third in the election and in the areas where rerun polls were slated to hold, APC’s fate fell on the laps of the controversial politician.
Recall that stakeholders within the APC had approached Omisore for support ahead of the rerun which was then ordered by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Negotiations were brokered by Governor of Ekiti, Kayode Fayemi and other political juggernauts.
That support, which he gave, had paved the way for Omisore to have some say in the affairs of the Oyetola government. With, at least, two cabinet positions ceded to him, the Ife-born politician feels good in the company of Oyetola, who feels equally nice in the company of a new found love. He has become a recurring face at APC-led government functions and in way, a power broker in the political realignment of Osun.
So, when last week Omisore formally dropped the SDP for APC in the ongoing registration/revalidation exercise, it was no surprise to many.
But then, within the APC family in Osun, not a few welcome Omisore’s formal declaration for the APC with some mixed feelings. There is a reason for this.
It took Aregbesola’s statements of Friday February 19 for party members to be sure that indeed, Omisore’s coming isn’t totally a welcome idea of the party.
The APC kicked off its exercise at the Ila Orangun residence of the former interim National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande. Akande and Omisore have not been the best of friends since Omisore was removed from office as Deputy Government in an impeachment saga. The salvo Akande also fired that day was already a major pointer that all is not well within the ruling party. But he was silent over the romance of Omisore, Oyetola and the APC. Aregbesola gave fillips to that insinuation.
Not many of his loyalists who were gathered even prepared for the salvo fired by Aregbesola when he said “Though the constitution allows everyone to register as a member of any political party, even if they are suspects, murderers, character assassinators etc, but those who constitute majority of the party membership must represent the core values of the party.”
Of course, the innuendo could not have been missed by those who know the story. Omisore, who just pitched his tent with the APC has hanging around his neck till date, the unresolved murder case of the late Minister of Justice Chief James Ajibola Ige.
Ige, a prominent Ijesa man, was murdered in his Ibadan residence on December 23, 2001. His assassination was linked to the deadly political manouvres of the time in which the South-West of Nigeria was seen as a fertile ground that must be captured by the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party.
Omisore, with some others, were accused of being the masterminds of that high profile killing.
Despite the fact that the Oyo State Government which fell under a PDP government later, entered a nolli prosecui which gave Omisore and the other accused persons some breather over the allegations, many have continued to hold on to the belief that Omisore is not innocent.
Those who had followed the politics of Osun would recall that in Aregbesola’s eight years in office as the Governor, Omisore stood as a major critic and an opponent in both his attempt to return to the Senate and the bid to become the governor of the state.
The Minister’s outburst of Friday February 19, was therefore a continuation of the Aregbesola’s battle to permanently sink Omisore’s political ship and prevent him from using the APC as vehicle for a relaunch.
How the political stakeholders in the state (and beyond) take this latest development is what promises to determine the fate of Omisore and that of the APC going forward.