The immediate-past Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has opened up on why he did not support his party, All Progressives Congress, APC and former Governor Gboyega Oyetola in the 2022 governorship election in the state.
According to OSUN DEFENDER, Aregbesola, who spoke in Yoruba during an exclusive interview with Uniq FM/Freedom TV in Ilesa on Tuesday, attributed his absence at the election to the politics of bitterness and boastful exclusion within the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state as at the time, which did not allow him and his loyalists make contributions to the success of the party.
The former governor who recalled efforts made by several politicians not to allow the crisis within the Osun APC degenerate, all of which turned to deaf ears of the handlers of the party, stating that there was even a video that trended at the time when they said anyone who was not invited to their campaign and comes around would bear the consequences of whatever happens to him/her, Osun Defender reports.
Aregbesola noted that the formation of The Osun Progressives – TOP was primarily intended to mend fences and strengthen the party, but was misconstrued by those who felt threatened by the involvement of him and other committed members in the internal politics of the party.
According to him, “There is nothing like exclusivity when it comes to politics or elections. All interests matter and are important. When I wanted to run for a second term as governor in 2014, I ensured that even the bigwigs of the opposition party joined us. I rallied everybody because we knew how important it was to have a strong and formidable party going into the elections. That was why we were able to achieve success.
“But in a situation when some individuals decide to exclude some people, ostracise them and want to even throw them out of the party. That is what you would get. I have no power or control over the decision of where anyone wishes to vote or support in a political contest. Politicians or party men and women constitute only 10% of the electorate. The success of any election rests in the level of how people are able to embrace others, irrespective of their convictions or personal aggrandisement to others.
“People tend to forget so quickly that their politics of hate and exclusion started in October 2020 when some of our people wanted to celebrate the 10 years of progressive administration in Osun. That was when they started their campaign of calumny against Us, saying our presence in the state for that event will cause chaos. That narrative was everywhere in the media. They were always jittery of our presence in the state, which we were shocked to witness in the same party we strived and laboured to build.
“They never wanted us, and our existence gave them constant headache. There was even a video that trended at the time when they said anyone who was not invited to their campaign and comes around would bear the consequences of whatever happens to him/her. They did not want me. That was why I stayed away.
“In order not to create confusion as to who I was supporting or supported in the governorship election, I had to stay away. It was the same set of people who did not want us to be in the party that later attributed their loss to us. Isn’t that funny? You said we were inconsequential and still said we were the reason why you lost. Is that not double speaking?”
Aregbesola stressed further that the recently launched Omoluabi Caucus is not a faction of the party but a movement of like minds to further strengthen the fortunes of the party ahead of the 2026 governorship election in the state.
He explained that since all efforts to achieve reconciliation with the dissolution of The Osun Progressives – TOP in December 2022 were futile, leading to the loss of the party in all elections in the state in 2023, members of his tendency decided to relaunch themselves to fully work for the unity and success of the APC.
“When we dissolved TOP in December last year, we were expectant of genuine and true reconciliation that will allow our party to succeed in the general election. That was what we were expecting, but they did not reason with us. After the election, we felt the need not to abandon the party we rebuilt from scratch in 2004. We know this is our party. We are sure of where we started and what we continue to represent.
“From what we know, the people love us and our party with what we represent in terms of good governance and responsible leadership. That is why they have always identified with us. That is what we are doing with The Omoluabi Caucus. We hope our colleagues in the party will reason with us this time around, so we can forge ahead.”
The former governor of Osun expressed gratitude to the people for their love for him, stressing that he would forever be committed to ensuring the delivery of a government that is tailored to emancipating the masses.
“When they said our education policy was not too good enough, they condemned the single uniform policy and our decision to erect state of art world class school buildings in the state. They forgot that education is beyond uniforms, but what is being taught. All they did about the policy reversals were political and personal to them. Is it about our school buildings that were the toast of others or school feeding programme that encouraged people to send their children to public schools and all we did that put the state on a path of everlasting prosperity. I am convinced that posterity will be kind to us with the huge love we have continued to receive since we left office in Osun.
“The salary issue is not something we created. We were the first government, which paid 13th month salary for four years, and I was at the forefront of predicting the economic quagmire that we would face with oil theft as of February 2014. All we did was to ensure that nobody was retrenched and that the government continued to work for the people. We thank everyone who God used to propel our success and entry into public administration. I am forever grateful to them.
“Interestingly, before I left, we had started paying full salaries. We started paying full salaries in June, 2018 and also paid 6 months out of the backlogs of salary arrears before I handed over to my successor.
“What drives my joy and happiness, however, is that the people whom we strived to emancipate are always grateful for our interventions in the way we are received anywhere we go. That itself creates an everlasting joy in me and a delight that we are on the right side of history. It makes me fulfilled, and that is what I would continue to pursue till I breathe my last,” Aregbesola concluded.
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