EXCLUSIVE: Buni-led APC, Sanwo-Olu, other S/West govs move to resolve Aregbesola vs Tinubu/Oyetola feud

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Barely 24-hour to the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary election in Osun State, the Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) and some southwest governors have swung into last-minute efforts to resolve the fierce rancour between the incumbent governor, Gboyega Oyetola and his predecessor, Rauf Aregbesola, NewsClickng authoritatively reports.

Those who are in the race to win the party’s ticket include Oyetola, who enjoys the support of the national leader of APC, Bola Tinubu; a former secretary to the state government, Honourable Moshood Adeoti and a former Deputy Speaker of the state House of Representatives, Honourable Yusuf Lasun.

Already, card-carrying members of the Osun State chapter of the APC are all set for the showdown scheduled for Saturday (tomorrow) to partake in a direct primary to pick the governorship candidate of the party for the July poll – but it’s an open secret that all is not well in the party.

Recall hell was recently let loose in the state after the Minister of Interior, Aregbesola, who is strongly advocating for the candidature of Moshood Adeoti, rained invectives on his political godfather (Bola Tinubu), and threatened to expunge Oyetola from office the same manner the second term bid of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode was thwarted in 2019 by Tinubu’s political machinery in Lagos APC.

Speaking to NewsClickng, multiple sources, however, confirmed that high-powered stakeholders in APC have been holding a series of meetings to broker peace and reconcile the differing interests in the state.

Presently, the party is divided into two factions, the Ileri Oluwa camp, which is the camp loyal to Governor Oyetola under the chairmanship of Prince Gboyega Famoodu and the supporters of Aregbesola under the aegis of The Osun Progressives (TOP), with Alhaji Rasak Salinsile as its chairman. The candidate of the TOP is the immediate past Sectary to the State Government, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti.

A source in the Oyetola camp who pleaded anonymity disclosed to NewsClickgng that the APC national headquarters(Buni) has sent a team to the state to supervise the primary – Governor of Kwara State, AbdulRasaq Abdurahman was said to have been appointed to lead the team.

“The Buni-led APC has sent a delegation to the state to supervise the primary and ensure it runs smoothly; Governor of Kwara State, AbdulRasaq Abdurahman is among those appointed to lead the team. As regards the internal bickerings, the leadership of the party is on top of the situation.” He said

Similarly, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu (said to be representing Tinubu and other South-West governors) reportedly had a private meeting with Aregbesola where he proposed that Adeoti (Aregesola’s candidate) be compensated with a senatorial seat among other offers.

However, one of Aregbesola’s close aides who spoke to this medium maintained that the crisis is still unsolved while acknowledging the aforesaid peace moves made by APC power brokers.

“Ignore all the fake peace moves they are making; there is no reconciliation between us and the Oyetola camp. We know he (Oyetola) controls the party and he has skewed the process to win the ticket, but all these will later be settled in court. Notwithstanding, if Oyetola wins the party ticket, that is just the end of APC in Osun, because we all know he is not a candidate that can sell the party in the state” He noted.

Reacting to the alleged arrangement that Adeoti may be compensated, our source said, “Why should he settle for a senate ticket when he can be governor. I’m not aware of such arrangement, what is on the ground is beyond that.”

Prior to the primary, immediately after he obtained nomination form at N20 million and the expression of interest form for N2.5million, Oyetola whose strength is based on control of the party structure in the state and support from Tinubu had boasted that his performance in office thus far was enough to ensure his electoral victory at the APC primary and the governorship poll on July 16.

“Let me say this, my performance in office in all areas of endeavour, as I speak today, is enough for me to win the party’s primary and the state’s governorship election. By every standard, we have done so well within the last three and half years, and I have been able to justify the confidence reposed in me by the people. I have been very much involved in the party; I’m not a novice when it comes to the issue of party administration,” he said.

“I have been going around to ask for the support of members of the party in all the local government areas of the state, so I am prepared,” Oyetola said.

However, Adeoti from Aregesola’s camp who is relying on massive grassroot support was quoted after his screening as saying that Oyetola was installed by Tinubu in 2018 and that he (Adeoti) defected from the APC in 2018 to contest on the ticket of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) because the primary of the APC was abruptly derailed. 

“We had prepared between 75-80 percent for the primary before it was scuttled at the eleventh hour. Ekiti State primary was conducted based on indirect but, when it came to Osun, they changed it to direct on the instruction of the emperor who happens to be the leader of the party,” Adeoti said.

This time, the ex-SSG promised to remain in the APC even if Oyetola succeeds in picking a second-term ticket.