Amosun Left In The Cold As Osoba Returns | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Amosun Left In The Cold As Osoba Returns

Posted: Apr 5, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Temidayo Akinsuyi, Lagos

It is no longer news that Akinrogun Olusegun Osoba, former governor of Ogun state has put an end to months of speculation on his political future by rejoining his folks in the All Progressives Congress (APC), a party he helped founded but left eighteen months ago owing to irreconcilable differences between him and Governor Ibikunle Amosun, the Ogun state governor. This did not come as a surprise to many who have been following the political intrigues, bickering and wrangling between Amosun and his erstwhile benefactor, which culminated in the defection of Osoba and his supporters to the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

According to Independent findings, Osoba’s return is already causing ripples in the APC in Ogun as Governor Amosun and his supporters are unhappy about the developments. It was learnt that the governor, who was the major beneficiary of Osoba’s defection to SDP was not even invited to the meeting which took place at Osoba’s residence in Lagos located at Oloto Street, Off Bourdillon, Ikoyi. Unlike Governor Akinwunmi Ambode who was represented by his deputy, none stood in for Amosun at the meeting.

Described as a ‘crucial reconciliatory meeting’ by one of the leaders, many political analysts are still wondering how the APC leaders intend to reconcile two warring members while shutting out one of the principal actors out of the peace meeting.

Present at the gathering were a former Lagos State Governor and national leader of the APC, Senator Bola Tinubu; former Osun State Governor and former acting National Chairman, APC, Chief Bisi Akande; the Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola; Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi; former Ekiti State Governor, Chief Niyi Adebayo and the Lagos State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Idiat Oluranti Adebule, attended the meeting.
Others present at the meeting were National Vice-Chairman, APC, South-west, Chief Pius Akinyelure; former Ogun State Deputy Governor, Mr. Segun Adesegun, who was later the deputy governorship candidate to Mr. Akin Odunsi of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the 2015 election, Senator Gbenga Obadara, Akintola Benson and Alhaji Bimbo Awofeso.
When asked why Amosun was conspicuously absent at the meeting, Tinubu said the absence of the Ogun State governor did not suggest any ruptured relationship between him and the Southwest APC leadership, stressing that Amosun is part of the political family.
“Nobody is left out. No one. No matter your insinuation. The governor is with us. We can excuse people. He was elected on the APC platform. He is for the APC. This is not a leaderless revolution. It is clear we are one, including the governor of Ogun State. Who told you we are fighting? That is you insinuation?”
“We want to strengthen Nigeria. We want to stay focused in redefining Nigeria. We want to reverse the decay of the past years. For 16 years, PDP destroyed this country. We can’t be emotional and in self-denial about it” he said.
However giving reasons for the governor’s absence, a leader of the party who spoke to Independent on condition of anonymity said the governor was deliberately shut out of the meeting. Also said the APC leadership in the Southwest is no longer comfortable with Governor Amosun who is perceived “as the representative of President Muhammadu Buhari in the Southwest zone”.
He claimed that Amosun was deliberately shut out of the meeting because the APC leaders have seen him for who he is actually is.
“ Contrary to what many erroneously believe, it was not Osoba that begged to return to APC. Rather, it was the APC leadership that approached him and sought his forgiveness for disregarding his earlier claims against the Ogun state governor. The truth is that Osoba had warned the leaders of the APC in South West about the character of the governor which led to his defection from APC, but they ignored him, believing that it was Osoba that is the cause of the problem in Ogun APC. Now the leaders have seen things for themselves and they decided to reunite with one of their own”.
“Forget what you see in the media. There is a silent war in the APC, especially between the North and South West over the handling of the party’s affairs by President Buhari. Of course, you don’t expect these men to engage themselves in arguments or fisticuffs whenever they meet at public functions. They have to smile but behind that façade is a raging animosity which is premised on a belief that leaders of the APC in the South West zone are being sidelined in the current arrangement.
“The truth is that Amosun who has been in the defunct All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) with President Muhammadu Buhari has continued to show loyalty to the president, despite knowing
“ Everyone knows that Governor Amosun is not in good terms with leaders of APC in the South West, especially Asiwaju Tinubu. He is no lone ranger who rarely attends any meeting with them. He is just doing eye service in the public to give an impression that all is well. During his first term, he invited Asiwaju Tinubu to commission some projects in Ogun. What has happened now that he no longer respects Asiwaju Tinubu as his leader?”
“We have four APC governors in the Southwest, why is Governor Amosun always acting differently and not working hand-in-hand with his colleagues? Is he claiming to be better than the other governors? If the party leadership in the South west decides to go right, he will decide to go left. That is not how a true progressive behaves” he said.
Lending his voice to the issue, another party chieftain who also spoke with Independent said but for Tinubu and Osoba, Amosun couldn’t have become the governor of Ogun state. He added that it is unfortunate that the governor has chosen to betray those who helped him to power.
“The genesis of the crisis could be traced to Amosun’s entry into the fold of the ACN shortly before the 2011 general elections. In fact, Amosun, who was then a card-carrying member of the then All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) on whose platform he contested the 2007 governorship election had attended the Lagos convention where AC transformed into the defunct ACN as an ‘observer’, having been invited by Osoba and Tinubu. The ACN then had many credible candidates who can become governorship candidates but many of them were persuaded to step down for Amosun. Could he have won if he had contested on the platform of the ANPP in 2011?” he asked.
Now that Osoba is back, the question on the lips of many is ‘Who becomes the party leader in Ogun state?’, a position that was relinquished by Osoba when he left for the SDP. According to our source, the APC leaders in Ogun will not only welcome Osoba, who was a member of the APC Constitution Committee during the formative stage of the party into its fold, they have also agreed to restore him to his former leadership role in the party so as not to be redundant.
“As you know, Osoba was the undisputable leader of the APC in Ogun. There was rivalry between Osoba and Amosun which culminated in Akinrogun leaving the APC. Since he left, Amosun has been priding himself as the leader of the party in the state but will soon change now that the original owner of the position is back”
“ Anyone who thinks Osoba is no longer relevant in the scheme of things both in Ogun state and Nigeria is just fooling himself. Remember, when he left APC in Ogun, he decamped alongside the deputy governor to Governor Amosun, the three senators representing the three senatorial districts and seven members of House of Representatives. He still very politically relevant and the leadership of the South West APC knows his vast experience will help greatly in repositioning the party for the greater task ahead.
However, a member of the APC in Ogun, Ibrahim Alabi said now that Osoba is back, he should concerned himself with issues at the national level and desist from things that will plunge the state and APC into another round of crisis.
“ Osoba is an elder statesman. So, I believe he will be working with the leadership of the APC at the national level to give Nigerians the change they voted for. I don’t think he will dabble into the affairs of Ogun politics any longer. He can only offer advice where necessary” he said.