Osoba’s return to APC: A story beyond speculations
Since the reconciliation of former governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba with the All Progressives Congress (APC) was brokered on Sunday; political pundits have been giving different interpretations to the development in the media.
Osoba, former Chairman of the APC Constitution Drafting Committee, left the party for the Social Democratic Party (SDP) due to alleged ‘irreconcilable differences’ between him and Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State.
Some have postulated that Osoba must have realized the possible negative implication of his estrangement with the APC to his political career and thus compelled to go and beg to regain relevance.
Others insinuated that the former governor, having also realized that the Social Democratic Party (SDP) is no longer a viable platform, particularly with the financial scandal in which it’s National Chairman, Chief Olu Falae was involved, decided to realign with the mainstream party.
Yet others argued that the foremost politician and veteran journalist must have been driven by financial consideration to seek monetary support from the likes of Bola Tinubu, the National Leader of the APC.
It was also speculated that the reconciliation was aimed at reducing the influence of Governor Amosun, whom Osoba fell out with during the 2015 election before his (Osoba) exit to the SDP and who is suspected to have parted ways with the Tinubu group in the APC.
According to those who reasoned along this line, “The reconciliation was to enable Tinubu and Osoba team up against Amosun, who may likely want to install his successor in Ogun come 2019.”
In addition to this, it was alluded that Tinubu, who by now was said to have realized his political folly in supporting Amosun against Osoba during the build-up to the last election, have come to understand that the governor was not someone to trust. He therefore has no choice than to return to Osoba, his old time political ally.
Beyond all the speculations and interpretations to the reconciliation, The Guardian investigation revealed that there is more to the development than meets the eye.
The Awujale, Alake factor
The Awujale, Alake factor
Despite the recent public altercation between the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo and the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona over traditional rulers’ ranking, the duo had to quickly put the issue behind them to rally round the South West politicians haven realized the dire implications of the continuous estrangement between Osoba and the APC to the political interest of the Yoruba race in the nearest future.
From what was gathered, the two monarchs made several overtures to Osoba and all those that mattered in the APC long before now, on the need to forget their individual political differences and reconcile in the larger interest of the South West ahead of the 2019 elections and beyond.
They were said to have made several trips to Lagos to meet Osoba and Tinubu long before the Sunday reconciliation meeting.
As a matter of fact, Osun State governor, Rauf Aregbesola, who was reported to be very passionate about the reconciliation and his counterpart in Oyo and Lagos, Abiola Ajimobi and Akinwunmi Ambode put unrelenting efforts to ensure that reconciliation was achievable, not for any other purpose but for the interest of the party and the South West.
In his address on Sunday, Aregbesola said their closed-door discussions have brought Osoba back to progressive fold in Western Nigeria.
He explained that the leadership of the progressive politics in the western part of Nigeria, which met at the residence of Osoba, resolved all the differences completely and it was a pleasure to inform the world that the leadership of progressive politics are united and ready to jointly prosecute the agenda for purposeful leadership in western part of Nigeria as they plan to do at the national level.
He said, “With good governance and purposeful leadership, West Africa and the black race will be better for it. A time was when Aremo (Osoba) switched to another party. He was with the SDP but with what we have done, Aremo is back in the progressive leadership of Yoruba race.”
What the reconciliation aims to achieve for the Yoruba
One of the principal aims and objectives of the reconciliation was to bring the South West politicians together as a block.
A topmost member of the party, who did not want his name in print explained, “If we take a critical look at Nigerian politics today from the angle of the geo-political zones, it appears the South West is more divided politically than other zones, hence the need to make a serious move to bring them together irrespective of their political party division.”
The source added that despite the fact that the South-East and the South-South lost out in the last general election, both zones remain intact politically with one ideology, “today an average Ibo man in Nigeria believes in one cause irrespective of their party and the PDP controls the region likewise the South-South. The states of Edo and Imo are by chance under the APC because of incumbency factor; while the North will forever speaks with one voice when it comes to the issue of power. It is only in the South West that we have this sharp division and the earlier we address it, the better for everybody.”
The source further said the two senior Yoruba monarchs couldn’t have delved into reconciling Osoba and the APC without necessarily weighing the implications of the continuous division to the Yoruba people stressing, “it is not all about Amosun, as some people think. There is more to it.”
Amosun’s gang-up tale?
Although Amosun was conspicuously absent during the reconciliation meeting in Lagos, Tinubu, while responding to questions on the absence of the governor said, “Nobody is left out. No one. No matter your insinuation. Amosun is with us. We can excuse people. He was elected on the APC platform. He is for the APC.”
He also dismissed the rumour of leadership revolution, saying: “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 your insinuation.”
He disclosed that the reconciliation, contrary to speculations, was aimed at strengthening Nigeria, redefining Nigeria and to reverse the decay of the past years adding, “For 16 years, PDP destroyed this country. We can’t be emotional and in self-denial about it.”
When Osoba was called to react on the speculation that the Sunday event was tantamount to a gang-up against Amosun, he simply smiled and waved it off as baseless and devoid of facts.
Another top member of the party also wondered why the reconciliation should be regarded as a gang up against a governor that is on second term saying, “Amosun is no longer going to contest in 2019, so what is the gang up all about? Even if he is nursing the ambition of installing a successor to himself, such person would use the APC platform and we are all party members. A tree cannot make a forest, that is clear.”
Did Osoba actually beg to be re-admitted?
Reacting to the argument that Osoba was the one that actually begged to be re-admitted or perhaps Tinubu and Amosun’s fall out necessitated his (Tinubu) reconciliation with the former governor, The Guardian was told that: “if that was the case the venue for the exercise wouldn’t have been Osoba’s residence. I want to believe that a beggar in this circumstance would have no choice.”
Other findings also showed that the Northern wing of the APC has been making frantic moves, long ago, to ensure Osoba’s return to the party. As a matter of fact, that informed his (Osoba) invitation to the inauguration ceremony of President Buhari on May 29 last year despite the fact that he had moved to the SDP then. “Why that arrangement was jettisoned was because it would read a different meaning to Yoruba politics,” a source revealed.
Meanwhile, other governors and members of the party across the country have commended the reconciliation, describing it as a bold and selfless step that would further strengthen the party.
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