Rauf Aregbesola, a former governor and outgoing interior minister, stormed Osogbo, the capital of Osun State, on Friday, 9th June. His core followers and others who trusted in his leadership joyously welcomed him. He paid a visit to Oba Jimoh Olanipekun Larooye II, his Royal Majesty, as well as Oba Adekunle Aromolaran, the Owa-Obokun of Ijesaland, and his chiefs.
He also went to the home of Olagunsoye Oyinlola, his erstwhile foe whom he had expelled from the halls of authority. A little earthquake would occur if people were standing next to the graves of those who died in the rift between Aregbesola and Oyinlola. That ought to be the most effective method to say something as straightforward as “they died in vain.”
I was reminded of Aregbesola’s time as a governor and the “partying spirit” in every Yoruba when I read a poster stating that there would be a program dubbed “home-coming” for the departing interior minister. I once said to a friend that trying to fully reintegrate himself into Osun politics was either absolutely unneeded or could be better used as a show-off. I listened to Aregbesola while watching the political farce on camera, and I was there when he revealed his intentions to reorganize the All Progressives Congress (APC), Osun Chapter.
Aregbesola and novel ideas go hand in hand. Both intertwine, and if the former interior minister was skilled at anything, it was the creation and shortime execution of populist programs. Aregbesola does not lack for initiative or execution, but his ideas are never sustainable.
From Igi-Iye to Opon Imo to Osuwon Omoluabi to the Ayegbaju International Market to the MKO International Airport, they are all admirable concepts that have been terribly executed and lack any durability. The pace at which Aregbesola swept Osun State employing “home-calling” as a tactic to visit important political stakeholders, demand restructuring of the APC, and communicate with his political competitors was on a high note. Can Aregbesola keep up the tempo, is the burning question.
What is a “homecoming”? returning to a location that was once frequented or regarded as home, typically on a special occasion. Aregbesola is accustomed to holding public office. He previously held the position of Works Commissioner in Lagos State. He served as interior minister of the country and as governor of Osun State twice. He skipped ‘homecoming’ despite having served as a commissioner and governor in the past. Skipping was done only to ascend higher. Why did Aregbesola plan a homecoming following his tenure as interior minister?
One of his kinsmen I inquired about this said that Aregbesola organized the homecoming since it was the first time Ijesaland would receive value from him in his capacity as a public official. He continued: Up until he expressed interest in running for governor, he utterly neglected his hometown while serving as a commissioner.
During his eight years as governor, there was a modest improvement, but the community liked him better as a minister. The new custodial facility, the fire service office, and other offices were made possible by him. He did not use his abilities to his full potential. After serving in public service for 20 years, Aregbesola brought them home, one of his kinsmen concluded.
Beyond accomplishments in office, the contentious apologies that went viral ultimately revealed the real purpose of the “home-coming.” Aregbesola is a cunning and ambitious politician. He took his “home-coming” trek or trip to Osogbo, the capital of Osun State, when he turned around since he was aware that he had failed to accomplish anything significant for the Ijesa people. For Aregbesola, “home-coming” was a political show-off and a plan to reintroduce himself to Osun mainstream politics. For his supporters, “home-coming” was a celebration of his accomplishments.
He begged party members and those he had upset while in power to come together so that the party could be properly restructured. Aregbesola stated that the Osun APC has to be reorganized. From the governor’s race through the general election, he abstained from taking part in the same party’s electioneering. As a former governor and minister, Aregbesola undoubtedly has the only authority to restructure the Osun APC, but how does he intend to do so? How does he plan to win over the majority of people who still hold him accountable for the Party’s defeat in the state?
The distinguished son of Ijesa ought to be aware of the distinction between reforming a pressure group and a political party. You cannot assert that you have restructured a party while continuing to visit the homes of political adversaries while ignoring the homes of party leaders. You cannot make the claim to be the head of a group while praising the group’s opponents at the expense of your fellow party members.
Nigeria is responsible for whatever is happening to Aregbesola. We play games with our adversaries in an effort to temporarily alienate our friends. As long as the agony of the harm is not higher than the happiness of our friends who live in a different time period, we choose to be hurt by our adversaries. Aregbesola asserts that the Osun APC needs to be reorganized. I don’t believe the former governor’s assertion to be true. He merely wants to be in charge, negotiate with the party, or close any gaps between him and his former principal.
Without genuine reconciliation, there cannot be true restructuring. Genuine reconciliation is impossible without both parties making compromises. Aregbesola and his competitors in the APC have ego issues, and I feel bad for party members, especially those who see the party as a platform for active engagement in Nigeria’s democracy. They’ll experience higher losses and disappointments. Under the cover name “APC restructuring,” Aregbesola and his political adversaries within the APC are both playing cards of “political survival and relevance.” They are cunning burglars. They wish to steal the party.
Osun APC: Does it actually require restructuring? No. Sacrifices, tolerance, forgiveness, and sincere reconciliation are what the party needs. A party that lost by fewer than 30,000 votes doesn’t, in my opinion, require reformation. All those who feel wronged should put down their swords and let peace reign. That does more and is better than restructuring. Restructuring is only done to collapsing entities. When restructuring a corporation, you first look for potential causes. Aregbesola and his opponents in the Osun APC have not done this. They merely intend to take over the party’s control.
When I read the news and saw photos of Aregbesola visiting Olagunsoye Oyinlola’s home, I had a flashback of the people who had given their lives and had suffered property damage as a result of the power struggle between the two. I am sure that if the dead could communicate with the living, there would be plenty of people who would tell the dead that their sacrifice and death were in vain.
Aregbesola asked the late Isiaka Adeleke and former governor of the state Oyinlola for help in 2014 when he intended to run against Iyiola Omisore for governor. They shared a common set of complaints against the PDP. Aregbesola wished to run once more. Omisore mocked Late Adeleke out of the PDP, while Oyinlola was upset at his personal loss at the national PDP level. They forged a powerful alliance and vanquished Omisore, their common foe.
He hugged Oyinlola, the guy who was arguably the driving force behind the creation of the park, at the freedom park, which Aregbesola established to honor the losses the state had suffered and to signal a clean break with violence. He embraced the late Isiaka Adeleke, Oyinlola in order to challenge Omisore in 2014. Aregbesola didn’t make up his declaration that he was prepared for battle. He didn’t come back home to sleep. It will be a dirty fight because he came home to fight.
I have observed numerous PDP members praising Aregbesola after the Osun APC’s current power play, whom they had previously decried for eight years, because Senator Ademola, the party’s nominal leader, appears to be in his good graces. They praised Aregbesola as a notable politician who had done so much for his community and deserved to return home. Senator Adeleke received praise from Aregbesola for facilitating his “homecoming” events in the state.
Senator Adeleke recently traveled to Ilesa from his office in Osogbo to welcome Aregbesola as interior minister while overseeing the launching of a passport office. Together, they joked and danced. It was a lovely scene to see. Senator Adeleke made a significant break with the past and embraced the person who has called him everything worse since he first proclaimed his intention to run for the Senate until 2019. He also left the somber accounts of his late brother Isiaka Adeleke’s death, the claims of cover-up against Rauf Aregbesola, and the family’s response to the coroner’s investigation ordered by the state government. This demonstrates that sentiments and interests can be more important than blood relationships. Can someone closer tells his Excellency to stop crying every year whenever he visits the grave of the late Serubawon?
Even though Senator Ademola Adeleke hasn’t served for a full year, 2026 politics have already begun. In anticipation of the opening of commissioner slots, there has been a realignment of forces and the establishment of the disgruntled. The governor views Aregbesola as a playmaker and demi-god who can destroy his opposition’s structure so that he can land safely in 2026.
Senator Adeleke appears to be anxious about his political future. He thinks that without an insider with astute cunning like dismantling the Osun APC, he cannot win and be reelected. Senator Ademola allegedly still fears his own political shadows.
Can Aregbesola withstand Senator Adeleke’s run for office in 2026? Will Senator Adeleke’s siblings, who run his administration and party, be able to control Aregbesola? Can Aregbesola fully renounce the APC in favor of the PDP in order to fight back? Will Aregbesola remain in command and survive attacks on his party? Similar to Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State, Can Aregbesola fly a third force into the state and install his nominee as governor?
These are the issues on the minds of thoughtful citizens who are concerned with national politics.
After reading Aregbesola’s thank-you note for Adeleke, a friend recently enquired of me: “Can Aregbesola babysit Adeleke for a long time?” My friend should not worry because the future is pregnant and contains the solution to his query, I assured him, even though I am aware that I do not at this time have the perfect response to his question.
Sodiq Lawal Chocomilo writes Osun State. He is an online editor and columnist at WITHIN NIGERIA