The Story Behind Aregbesola's Splinter Group, OPO, Ahead of 2026/2027 Politics

Rauf Aregbesola APC OPO Omoluabi Progressives Osun
Rauf Aregbesola
On Tuesday, August 22, 2023, the former Governor of Osun State and immediate past Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola received some residents of Osun State at his Ilesha hometown, where they formed a new splinter political group, Omoluabi Progressives, Osun.

If you have followed the political development in Osun State, in recent times, you won't be surprised to hear that Aregbesola has flown another breakaway political group. He did the same ahead of the 2022 Governorship election in Osun State where he formed "The Osun Progressives" splinter Group, all with the sole aim of denying his political party, All Progressives Congress (APC) from winning the governorship election in the state. He arrived at this because of his clouded political relationship with the immediate past Governor of the State and the current Minister for Marine and Blue Economy, Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola.

Fast forward, for the first time in the history of Osun State, a progressive member publicly worked against the interest of the party and was retained in the same party, unpunished.

No! it could never have happened, if the defunct Progressive sibling party, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) which was a product of the seasonal transformation of the parental Action Group (AG) had not gone into a nationwide political marriage with other sister progressive parties.

Yes, Aregbesola and his political breakaway group, TOP, worked against the party at both the Osun 2022 Governorship election and the 2023 General Elections where his erstwhile political leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was in the contest for the presidential seat of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Unfortunately, to prove the level of his antagonisms against his party, and more presumably his disaffection for Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Aregbesola decided not to personally participate in the 2023 election where Bola Tinubu was a contestant. Reliable information from his followers and those engaged during the polls showed that his followers in the state were directed by Aregbesola on the eve of the presidential election to cast their votes against Bola Ahmed Tinubu of All Progressives Congress (APC) and every other APC candidate in the state.

Immediately after Bola Ahmed Tinubu was announced as the winner of the 2023 Presidential Election, Aregbesola became distracted a little bit because he was at the time romancing with the People Democratic Party (PDP) leaders in Osun State to perfect the Governorship election case in their favor.

The distraction Aregbesola went through at this point led him to lose some loyalists in the state which caused huge casualties to his political camp, and the reason he decided to review his political sojourn.

Let us get this right, Aregbesola's camp had a political agreement with the Osun State chapter of the PDP, and this covered the executive positions that will be ceded to his men if the party wins the 2022 Guber poll. He went into this agreement bouncing on the presumptive ground that Bola Ahmed Tinubu was going to lose the 2023 presidential election, going by the rate of the projected rejection the All Progressives Congress (APC) earned from the residents as a result of former President Muhammadu Buhari's low performance in some sectors including security, economy and the likes.

Aregbesola was bold and rest assured Tinubu wasn't going to win the 2023 poll, considering the projected rejection of APC and the late harsh decision taken by Muhammadu Buhari on the eve of the preparation for the election, the Fuel Scarcity and Naira Redesign Policy, he forged ahead to pursue the Osun 2022 legal battled up to the Supreme Court, in favor of PDP, even against the interest erstwhile of his political leader, Bola Tinubu.

Maybe the influence of Power as a Minister then, despite Bola Tinubu's victory at the February poll, Aregbesola had never seen Tinubu occupying the seat of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria and he was alleged to later worked with Atiku Abubakar of the PDP who has been querying the academic profile of Tinubu, and later with Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party whose party later planned a nationwide protest to stop Tinubu's inauguration as the President and Grand Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

On May 29th, 2023 every plan against Bola Ahmed Tinubu's presidential ambitionist failed and he was sworn-in as Nigerian President.

The problems within the camp of Aregbesola started immediately after the inauguration of Ademola Adeleke as Osun State Governor in 2022.

TOP was dissolved on Aregbesola's order because he did not want any of his followers to be appointed by Governor Ademola Adeleke with the person still bearing the membership of the splinter group. He did this so he could escape condemnations from political gladiators, analysts, and the media. However, the objective of the dissolution of TOP was only to hide the political identity of his followers as his agreement with Ademola Adeleke remained.

This move was the nemesis that cost most of his followers the juicy political agreement they had with the Osun PDP.

Adeleke outsmarted Aregbesola, deploying his cabinet constitution till the expiration of Aregbesola's tenure as Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Not knowing that his political decisions were being monitored by his impromptu political ally, Aregbesola returned to Osun State with a funfair, holding meetings with his followers. His movements were keenly monitored by the Adeleke-led faction of Osun PDP.

However, beginning to see Aregbesola as a threat rather than an ally, the Adeleke-led faction of Osun PDP got Aregbesola nailed when he appeased members of the Osun State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for his wrongdoings during the 2022 and 2023 elections. At this juncture, the Adeleke-led faction of Osun State PDP saw no reason to deal with Aregbesola and they decided to review the agreement without Aregbesola or any of his men in attendance.

At the end of the review by the Adeleke-led faction of Osun PDP, it was decided that only Aregbesola's followers who had wholly decamped to PDP or a defunct member of PDP who defected to PDP belonged to Aregbesola's camp that would be considered for appointment. The decision was followed to the letter.

At this point, Aregbesola saw the red flags flying here and there, at him. He attempted to withdraw the appeasement statement; at a point, he did everything to redefine the meaning but Adeleke's camp had grabbed what they wanted and they needed no further explanation from anyone.

At this point, Aregbesola got more confused as there was nothing he could do to punish Ademola Adeleke for the next four years and what he had done to APC in Osun State and Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the national level could not encourage him to approach his former political boss for soft landing.

Then, he aborted his planned statewide visit where he had decided to tour all the 30 Local Government Areas in the state and galvanize more support for the administration of Ademola Adeleke.

He summoned courage and moved around to seek reconciliation with his political leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila wanted to be of help to him at a point because Gbajabiamila can still be counted among members of APC who could be counted to be more of Aregbesola than even Tinubu, his boss. However, Gbajabiamila was cut short by a united force of other Tinubu's allies including former Governor Kayode Fayemi and the current Minister of Solid Minerals, Dele Alake and James Faleke. This scenario could be linked to a piece of recent news where Aregbesola was said to have been chased out of Aso Villa alongside a traditional ruler whose identity was primarily staged to gain him entrance into the Villa.

After all these scenarios, Aregbesola met with the remnants of his political loyalists as many have dissociated themselves from him because of their hunt for political appointments from Ademola Adeleke.

At their meeting, he asked them for the way forward after he had revealed his ordeals. A source revealed to me that Alhaji Moshood Adeoti, a former Secretary to the State Government under the administration of Rauf Aregbesola and former Chairman of APC in the state suggested that they should register a new party.

Aregbesola was said to have floored the suggestion claiming that it will cost nothing less than N20 billion to register and raise initial awareness for a new political party in Nigeria. This money was said to be spent within 24 hours and it does not include subsequent spending for the next three/four years when election campaigns will commence.

Then, the meeting resolved to fly two options; one, to fly a new splinter group and groom it; galvanize and recruit more followers within APC and present Hon. Najeem Salam as their preferred Governorship Candidate in APC.

Najeem Salam is projected to challenge anyone who will be presented by the main bloc of APC in the state during the 2026 governorship election in Osun.

The second option was that if Najeem Salam is denied the governorship ticket, the splinter group, which has just been formed and named Omoluabi Progressives, Osun (OPO), will break out of the APC and form alliance with the Labour Party where Najeem Salam or Dotun Babayemi of the PDP will be presented as the Governorship candidate.

With this, the splinter group (OPO) had planned that their staying in APC till 2026 would help them to gain more followers to their side while there was allegedly a standing agreement between Aregbesola and Hon. Kolapo Alimi before he defected to PDP that he would return to his fold whenever he calls on him. There is synergy here which Hon. Alimi is expected to use to his opportunity as a PDP member to deplete membership of the party and marry it with Aregbesola's Labour Party in 2026. They believe with this, the APC, PDP, and their new party will be on the average to go to the poll.

At the National level, Aregbesola's camp has also developed two templates. One is to present Mr. Peter Obi as the presidential candidate of the party if the projection favors him by 2027. However, the group is also looking at subscribing to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar's movement for the formation of a merger between the PDP, Labour Party, NNPP, and some other parties.

Unfortunately, the OPO splinter group is also aiming at retrieving the political activeness of Aregbesola throwing a dice on the projection for a rerun or fresh election regarding expectations of some wannabe democrats from the ongoing Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.

At this stage, they were looking at representing themselves and making themselves available for Bola Ahmed Tinubu if the election is to go into rerun or fresh poll, however, with conditions.

Among their projected conditions is that the administration of APC in Osun State be handed over to the splinter group leader, Aregbesola; dissolution of the present APC EXCO in Osun, amongst others.

Category: World-News
Tag: Rauf Aregbesola APC OPO Omoluabi Progressives Osun
Written by Omooba Alekuwodo (omoobaalekuwodo)
Published 8/24/2023 3:21:58 PM

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