- Warn party against fielding candidates ‘with former gov’s character’
- We’re not happy but we accept verdict – Osun APC
- I’ll govern with fear of God – AAdeleke
BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, MAYOWA SAMUEL, BRIGHT JACOB
Chieftains of the All Progressives Congress in Osun State who are loyal to former Governor Rauf Aregbesola, have heaped blames on the immediate past state governor, Gboyega Oyetola, for the July 16, 2022 governorship election loss of the party to Governor Ademola Adeleke of the People’s Democratic Party.
In their various reactions to Tuesday’s verdict of the Supreme Court which upheld the election victory of Adeleke, they accused Oyetola of always not being receptive to advice and opinions contrary to his own.
Therefore, they warned the party against fielding candidates with such attributes in important positions, henceforth.
The Supreme Court of Nigeria in its verdict on Tuesday affirmed Adeleke as the Governor of Osun State.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared that Adeleke of the PDP polled 403,371 votes to defeat then-incumbent, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, of the APC who got 375,027 votes.
But Oyetola and the APC rejected the result of the poll and headed for the tribunal.
The governorship election in the state was held on July 16, 2022.
In its January 27, 2023 majority verdict, the Justice Tertse Kume-led tribunal annulled Adeleke’s victory and declared Oyetola the winner of the poll.
In his reaction on Tuesday, a former APC National Executive Committee member, Abdulrazaq Salinsile, said fielding Oyetola for governor was a wrong decision.
He added that Oyetola’s failure to yield to all his warnings and those of others, had made all the efforts of members of the party to win the state in 2010, to go down the drain.
Speaking to The Point, the former member of the state House of Assembly said, “There are no two ways to it, the oracle has spoken, the court has given its judgement and that’s final. We started from the Tribunal to the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court is the final. The court has given its final verdict and nobody can contradict it.
“Naturally, the party’s mood is very bad because we laboured so much before we snatched power from the PDP in 2010. We were in the opposition for seven and half good years, with serious work, day and night, along with prayers. We thought we had gotten it right until we fielded the immediate past governor.
“Personally, I warned him and the entire party against the looming danger. References will be made to my warnings. I still remember very well what I said in my interviews. In one of them, I said there was no life in Osun APC. The second one, I titled it, “Osun APC can’t stand the weakest opposition”. All these were said months before the July 16, 2022 election.
“If Oyetola was a governor that heeded warnings, he had enough warnings, especially from me, I would say, as the state secretary of the party then, I warned him seriously but he’ll never listen to anything that’s against his own belief. See where it has landed us. Oyetola landed us in this mess.
“We’re not happy at the party at all because we saw this coming, and we warned him. Instead of heeding to our warnings, he indulged in the politics of segregation and division. See where he has landed the party, the party we toiled for seriously. Some people lost their lives, some were maimed, some lost their properties, to get to where we were in 2011 and up till 2022 that we were in power. See where he has landed the party. Well, God is there to judge.
“The big lesson that I’ll say we should learn is that, you know the governor is assumed to be the leader of the party as per the party’s constitution. Whoever will be put forward as the governorship candidate or any serious position in the party or government, should be somebody who is well tutored, who has a lot of experience in party management, governmental experiences and all of that.
“Oyetola came from nowhere and just snatched the Chief of Staff slot for eight years, thereafter he jumped into governance. Most especially, he’s somebody who will never listen to advice and who will never take corrections. We should be careful fielding such people in important positions in the future. That’s the big lesson I can say the party should learn from this calamity. I will call it a calamity because it’s a big blow on the party and party members.
“As a member of the APC, I feel bad and you should expect that the mood of the party will also be bad. However, an adage says a word is enough for the wise. When the immediate past governor, Oyetola, started his politics of segregation and division, I warned him starting from when I was the secretary of the party in the state. Later, when there was division in the party and we formed The Osun Progressives (TOP) and I eventually became the chairman of our faction, I warned him severally of the impending danger of his style of administration, especially as it affects everybody who has sympathy for Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. It has never landed anybody anywhere good and it will never.”
“Politics is a game of numbers and you even invite your enemies to come and join, eventually you may win them over to yourself. But, in Oyetola’s case, he picks up a fight with anybody that has sympathy for Ogbeni Aregbesola, his predecessor and somebody he served as Chief of Staff for eight years for God’s sake. What could he have done wrong for you (Oyetola) not to have forgiven him (Aregbesola) if there was any?” Salinsile wondered.
Another Aregbesola’s loyalists, Lani Baderinwa, a former Commissioner for Information in the state, said, “I see it as what should be, what is judicious, legal, equitable and fair. I cannot, not being a lawyer, start to say that what the judges said about the whole thing is wrong, because, basically, they know the facts, they know the law, they know the sentiments about the whole thing, therefore, I imagine they are right and I believe they are right. As legal persons and constitutional citizens of this country, the judges must have done their best on that case.
“It’s very touching and painful that we have to lose by letting power out of our hands. We wouldn’t have arrived at this stage if Governor Oyetola and his ilk had listened to us early enough. We said it over three years ago that the party wasn’t in a good shape and it’s even in the worst state now. We told Oyetola and his ilk that you don’t dismiss anybody in a political game but they didn’t listen to us. They were so callous with power and even attacked us severely. To worsen matters, they decided to fight the immediate past governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. They have put the party in a dungeon.”
Also, the state chapter of the APC said it received the verdict of the Supreme Court with equanimity and placidity, bearing in mind that in a contest, someone must emerge the winner.
The opposition party said although its members were not happy, the party would have to congratulate the winner and assured that it would play its opposition roles and put the administration of the PDP on its toes.
According to the state acting chairman of the APC, Tajudeen Lawal, in a statement issued by the party’s Director of Media and Information, Kola Olabisi, the apex court’s decisions are final which cannot be challenged in any other court of the land.
Lawal submitted that as a democratic political body that solely believes in the rule of law, “there is no way we can fault the judgement of the Supreme Court which is the highest court in the land even though we are not happy with the judicial decision.”
He added, “While we are congratulating the beneficiary of the judgement, we make bold to state that we shall not be found wanting in playing our expected opposition roles in order to keep the government on its toes.
“The members and supporters of our party should refuse to be downcast with the current political situation in the state as the nature of politics is that one doesn’t win all the time.
“The prevailing condition of the winner(s) of today does not make him the perpetual winner as the political office which was contested for is a tenured one for a period of four years after which we shall have the opportunity to slug it out with those who are rejoicing over today’s victory.
“It is, however, worthwhile to state that our party and our candidate, former Governor Gboyega Oyetola, might have lost the election as it was pronounced by the apex court of the land but it is visible to the court of the public that they never lost the battle.
“That Osun State is a common patrimony is the reason we are assuring the PDP and the government that we shall be meeting in the trenches when it’s constitutionally ripe to do so.”
“The way forward for our party shall be made available to the esteemed members and supporters soonest,” Lawal noted.
I’ll govern with fear of God – Adeleke
Meanwhile, Governor Adeleke has described his victory at the Supreme Court as the manifestation of the survival of people’s will against an anti-masses plot of powerful forces.
Reacting amid jubilation by supporters at his Ede country home, Governor Adeleke asked stakeholders in the state irrespective of their political party affiliations to team up with his administration, saying his victory would spur him for greater development of the state.
While hailing the Supreme Court justices who delivered the judgement, Adeleke said, “This is an historic landmark in the history of Osun politics. Today is the day our God ordained to stamp his authority as the owner and giver of power.
“Today is that moment when the will of the people ordained by God survived an anti-masses plot of powerful forces. We therefore celebrate God almighty. We dedicate today’s victory to Him. State power is of God and he bestows it in whoever he wishes. I will remain God’s driven, divinely inspired, I will govern with the fear of God. Our governorship is an affirmation that we are for the people, by the people.
“As a moral compass, affirming the integrity of my lord justice, your affirmation for the truth and peoples will, consolidate and strengthen our democracy.
“On behalf of Osun people we appreciate you and adore your love for justice and equity.
“To all stakeholders in the Osun project, be assured that the revalidation of our mandate is a challenge, a call to duty, a fresh demand for more dividends of democracy.”
Adeleke’s victory is triumph of people’s mandate — South West PDP
Similarly, the PDP in the South West on Tuesday described the Supreme Court judgement affirming the election of Adeleke as the validly elected Governor of Osun State as a triumph of people’s mandate over falsehood.
The PDP South West Zonal Publicity Secretary, Sanya Atofarati, lauded the judiciary, saying, “The historic judgement of the Supreme Court, which has clearly demystified the lies and falsehood of the All Progressives Congress, has shown the judiciary as the last hope of the common man.”
Meanwhile, the streets of Osun witnessed very unusual calm after the court gave its verdict as everyone went about their normal businesses.
Strangely, there was no wild jubilation that usually characterises election victory on the streets except for the governor’s family members, appointees and allies who converged on his Ede country home premises, singing and dancing.