5th September, 2022
By Femi Ogunshola
Rep. Lawrence Ayeni (APC-Osun) has said Pastor Enoch Adeboye had tried to settle the political rift between Osun Gov. Gboyega Oyetola and his predecessor, Rauf Aregbesola, to no avail.
Adeboye, who is the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) and Aregbesola, the incumbent Minister of Interior, are both from Osun.
Ayeni, who represents Ilesha West/Ilesha East, Atakumosa East/Atakumosa West Federal Constituency of Osun, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday.
It would be recalled that the state’s July 15 governorship election was won by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) due to the rift between the Ileri/Oluwa group and The Osun Progressive (TOP).
The Ileri Oluwa group is headed by the governor, while the TOP group is led by the minister.
Ayeni said a reconciliation meeting aimed at settling the rift between the two gladiators was actually fixed and billed to be mediated by Adeboye but that one of them failed to show up.
The lawmaker said that although Adeboye initially declined to mediate in the duo’s political rift, saying he was not a politician, he later accepted the offer to mediate to settle it.
“Adeboye said that for him, he was not a politician and he was not going to poke-nose because of certain things but the two of them could not meet in his house.
“Had it been they were able to meet him, may be the crisis would have been over.
“One of them did not even go for the scheduled meeting with Adeboye and Adeboye said well, that is it,” he said.
Ayeni said that others like former interim Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande, former Gov. Segun Osoba and even the Presidential candidate of APC, Sen Bola Tinubu also tried to settle the rift to no avail.
He said that all the APC House of Reps members from Osun also did all their best possible to also resolve the crisis but met a brick wall.
According to him, “up to the stage that the election was approaching, the chairman of the party called them, but if one side comes today, the other won’t come.”
The lawmaker said that to date, he could not explain what could have happened between the duo, adding that it was better the rift was settled so that it would not affect the party in the general elections.
He called on the two to sit down and resolve the issue, adding that he was hopeful they would come together.
Ayeni said that the major thing that contributed to the APC’s loss was lack of unity, adding that there was no unity in the party and that any house that was divided against itself would not stand.
He said, “had it been we were united, the opposition could not have found their way even through rigging, so we must ensure unity in the party.”
The lawmaker said that that everyone had seen the result of the division in the governorship election and learned a lesson from it.
He added that Osun was critical to the South West and the party must put its house in order to win in 2023.
Ayeni said that the division could also affect his own re-election bid, having secured his return ticket as the party’s candidate; hence all hands must be on deck to win.
He said that what surprised him most was that the APC was supposed to win Ijesha land with what he had done, but we failed even in my local government.”