The launch of a new group by former Governor Rauf Aregbesola on Tuesday has reopened the crisis in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun State.
Mr Aregbesola, who until the end of May was the Minister of Interior, launched the Omoluabi Progressive Caucus in Ilesha a day after his successor as governor, Gboyega Oyetola, was sworn in as Minister of the Marine and Blue Economy by President Bola Tinubu.
The two men have not seen eye to eye since Mr Oyetola succeeded Mr Aregbesola as governor in 2018.
Mr Aregbesola failed in his efforts to stop the APC from nominating Mr Oyetola for reelection, and the failure of the two politicians to bury the hatchets is believed to have significantly contributed to the defeat of Mr Oyetola in the governorship election last year.
The APC went on to lose the presidential and all other elections in the state in 2023.
On Tuesday, Mr Aregbesola launched his new group with members drawn from across the 332 wards in the state.
He said the group is a union of like-minded members of the APC and not a faction of the party.
“What we have come to do here today is to renew our commitment to the path of progressive ideology and politics as inherited from our great past heroes, beginning from Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin, Chief Abraham Adesanya, Chief Bola Ige and others in the pantheon of progressive politics too numerous to mention.
“Emerging from the ashes of the near annihilation of our party in the governorship election of 2022 and the general election earlier this year, we should rise and renew our strength and reclaim our place in the political firmament in Osun.
However, on the same day, at a reception held for him in Osogbo, the new National Secretary of the party, Ajibola Basiru, attacked Mr Aregbesola and his followers in the APC, although he refrained from mentioning names.
Mr Basiru, who became party scribe after losing the senatorial election in the Osun Central District on the ticket of the APC, said God’s wrath awaits those who benefited from the party but betrayed it in the general elections.
“Those that had benefited from the party and still betrayed us, we have handed over their matter to God. If you know you are tired of the party, leave, but don’t stay and still work against it. Those that betrayed us are now disappointed,” he said.
Followers of Mr Aregbesola immediately condemned his remarks.
A member of his Omoluabi caucus from Boluwaduro Local Government Area of the state, Abosede Oluwaseun, accused Mr Basiru of speaking with “mischief purpose, pomposity, grandstanding and poor mannerism.”
She continued: “To set the record straight, Omoluabi Progressive is a caucus of APC in Osun State and not a faction. It is only Basiru and his co-travellers that will give or call a dog a bad name just to kill it.”
Before he became governor in 2010, Mr Aregbesola served as a commissioner in Lagos State under the governorship of Mr Tinubu.
He publicly attacked Mr Tinubu during the APC primary last year for allegedly protecting Mr Oyetola.
Mr Aregbesola abstained from campaigning for Mr Tinubu and other APC candidates in the 2023 elections and has not been seen at any public event involving the president since the polls.
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