Tinubu, Aregbesola exchange pleasantries at South-West APC meeting

Tinubu and Aregbesola

The National Leader of All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, and Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, on Friday, exchanged pleasantries at the South-West APC stakeholders’ meeting in Lagos State.

Both Tinubu and Aregbesola were seen shaking hands and greeting in a picture taken at the meeting. The gesture was against the verbal attack from camps of both politicians during the build-up to the Osun State governorship primary in February which had painted both as “sworn enemies”

The meeting was held at Lagos House and was convened by former APC National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, and Chief Olusegun Osoba. Those at the meeting are Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi.

Others are Lagos State Governor, Bababjide Sanwo-Olu, who is the host, Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, and Governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola.

Also present are the Minister for Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, former Governor of Ekiti State, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, and the APC National Secretary, Dr Iyiola Omisore.

There had been a reported fallout between Tinubu and Aregbesola who had been political associates. Aregbesola, who is the immediate past governor of Osun State was Director of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Campaign Organisation during the 1999 governorship election won by Tinubu. He also led Tinubu’s reelection campaign in 2003.

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Following his victory at the poll, Aregbesola served as Commissioner of Works and Infrastructure under Tinubu’s administration in Lagos state.

The PUNCH reports that Aregbesola had in mid-February 2022, lambasted his erstwhile political leaders and associates, saying he trusted Tinubu, but the ex-governor of Lagos state betrayed him.

The minister spoke in the Ijebu Jesa area of Osun State while addressing APC members during the build-up governorship primary election in the state.

He said, “We came back home to reposition our party to where it was meant to be because we followed the leading of our leader that we thought was a noble and reliable fellow. We followed him (Tinubu) dutifully with all sense of loyalty.

“Some people even thought that we were no longer Muslims because of how we cooperated with him. We dealt with him without treachery but we never knew he planned evil for us. We exalted him beyond his status and he turned himself to a god over us and we had sworn to ridicule anyone who compare himself to God. God has no competitor; He is enough to be God.”

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Despite the strong words from Aregbesola, coupled with the crowd that attended the two major rallies his group held ahead of the primary election, Governor Gboyega Oyetola defeated Aregbesola’s anointed candidate, Moshood Adeoti.

Meanwhile, in April 2022, support groups loyal to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on the one hand and those backing Tinubu, on the other, engaged in a war of words on social media, television and radio following Osinbajo’s formal declaration of his presidential ambition.

This is just as The PUNCH learnt that Aregbesola might support the Vice-President’s ambition over his erstwhile boss, Tinubu.

Also in May, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, now late, and Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, met with the Rauf Aregbesola in a bid to resolve the disagreement between him and Tinubu. Tinubu was absent at the meeting.

But his media aide, Tunde Rahmon, said his principal was unopposed to the reconciliatory effort.

“Yes, I saw the pictures of the meeting on social media as you did too. Asíwájú Bola Tinubu was not invited to the meeting.

“I can tell you that clearly. I believe the two traditional rulers intend to reach out to him later. But let me say this clearly: Asíwájú Tinubu has tremendous respect for the traditional institution and particularly for the two eminent royal fathers,” Rahmon said.

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He added, “If you ask me what Asiwaju’s attitude will be to the reconciliation move, of course, he will welcome and support it. Don’t forget that Asiwaju and the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, are from the same political family. Asíwájú appointed him Commissioner for Works for eight years during his time as Lagos governor.

“He also later drafted him into the Osun governorship race and supported him to be governor in Osun for eight years. I think Asiwaju will factor all of that and where both of them are coming from into the reconciliation efforts. He will not oppose the idea.”

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