BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
Loyalists of the immediate past Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola who belong to the defunct The Osun Progressives have warned a group loyal to the immediate past governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola, IleriOluwa, to desist from blackmailing them and Aregbesola over their two former members who made it the list of the commissioner nominees of the state governor, Ademola Adeleke.
Former Osun State Commissioner for Youths, Sports and Special Needs, Biyi Odunlade and former state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Kolapo Alimi are among the 25 nominees.
They were among the loyalists of Aregbesola of the All Progressives Congress in the state.
However, a former chairman of Osun APC, Lowo Adebiyi, who had coordinated TOP, on Sunday, took a swipe at reports ascribing the nomination of Odunlade and Alimi as compensation to Aregbesola for his alleged role in the emergence of Adeleke during the July 16, 2022 governorship election in the state.
IleriOluwa had accused Aregbesola of mobilising his supporters to vote for Adeleke against his perceived rival, Gboyega Oyetola who was the candidate of the APC in the poll.
Also recall that the chairman of the APC, Tajudeen Lawal had in a statement said, “The list of the Adeleke commissioner-nominees further vindicated the Osun State chapter of the APC on the allegation that there were serpents with divided loyalty in the party as two chieftains of the defunct self-styled The Osun Progressives (TOP) under the patronship of former Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, in the persons of Kolapo Alimi and Biyi Odunlade, made the list. This further attests to the fact that there has been a secret alliance between the TOP members and the PDP.
“It would be recalled that Adeleke voiced out shortly after his inauguration that the loyalists of Aregbesola were instrumental to his victory as they worked for him during the governorship and other elections in the state.”
However, Adebiyi, in a statement made available to The Point in Osogbo, described the speculation as a mere blackmail, denying that Aregbesola and his caucus was engaged to work for the victory of the PDP in the last gubernatorial poll.
He maintained that the nomination of the former commissioners was not connected with the defunct TOP or Aregbesola, saying that Alimi is a member of the PDP while it had also been speculated that Odunlade had joined PDP some months ago.
Adebiyi dismissed reports of “compensation” as baseless and untrue, describing it as a plot by the IleriOluwa group to further paint the former minister and his loyalists black before rational members of the APC.
“We had for long noticed the wicked moves by the IleriOluwa gladiators to continue their fruitless onslaught on Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola with the intention of painting him black before well-meaning and rational leaders and members of the APC.
“But as they continue in their evident journey of political perdition, so is Aregbesola’s popularity soaring. We advise the IleoriOluwa gladiators to stop chasing shadow,” Adebiyi noted.
“Our attention has been drawn to jaundiced reports apparently sponsored by some groups of politically naive elements in Osun APC, mischievously reporting that Governor Ademola Adeleke nominated Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola/The Osun Progressives men for cabinet positions.
“The writers of the reports gave themselves away as mischief makers or confused persons when they falsely stated that Kolapo Alimi who had decamped to PDP for close to two years now is a member of defunct TOP.
“Like the writers stated, a lot of speculations and deliberate misinformation had been made by the electorally injured group, Ilerioluwa within our party, the APC, with a view to affix the reason for their self-imposed defeat on TOP.
“We of the defunct TOP had evidently rebuffed all the baseless and mindless political accusations against us by those who had and are still making a mess of the once upon a time viable APC in the state.
“We note that the sponsored report on the appointment of both Alimi and Biyi Odunlade is another attempt of the failed mission to blackmail us.
“Biyi Odunlade was speculated to have joined PDP in the not too distant past and it would be recalled that TOP had been dissolved since last year, hence it may be an academic exercise to categorically state correctly his status politically.
“Of course, we can’t deny the fact that the two gentlemen were TOP members, but we state in categorical terms that they must have earned their nominations by their merits and not on behalf of defunct TOP or as a “compensation” as mischievously reported by the pro-IleriOluwa caucus reporters.
“We reiterate that this is yet another opportunity for the political loafers in Ilerioluwa group to attempt to blackmail defunct TOP members and Aregbesola, and we are not in any doubt that they will continue to agonize over their woeful but avoidable loss of the July 16, 2022 governorship and the 2023 general elections,” the statement further read.