Tension ahead of Osun State All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary boiled over yesterday.
The direct primary holds across 30 local governments on Saturday.
Guns boomed in the heart of Osogbo, the state capital. Residents scampered to safety, shop owners locked up in a hurry as security operatives that accompanied Minister of Interior Rauf Aregbesola shot sporadically, according to resident, who spoke to our correspondent.
Aregbesola’s road show around Ajekunle, Rasco, Orisunmbare, Post Office, Ola-Iya, station road and Fagbewesa areas turned awry.
A trader at Old Garage, who gave his name as Idowu, recounted: “Aregbesola’s convoy was passing through old garage area when the incident occurred. Aregbesola was standing on the roof of a white jeep and was waving at the people but some passersby were booing him. They were charging at him to launch an attack on him but his security operatives who were part of his convoy shot sporadically to scare them away.
Another eyewitness, Lamina Omotoyosi, said: “Shooting sporadically by the security men who were in the company of the former Governor Aregbesola of the Osun State in Osogbo today is but a misplacement of priority! No matter what, this is a state you have once governed for a two-term tenure.
“Mr Minister of Interior, have to apologize to Osun people for many citizens were injured while running for their lives today.”
While there was pandemonium in Osogbo, Governor Oyetola was in Ejigbo, another major town, holding consultation with party leaders. He was also at the palace of the traditional ruler, the Ogiyan of Ejigbo Oba Omowonuola Oyesosin.
Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mrs. Funke Egbemode, said: “The interest of perpetrators is simply to thwart the peace of the state and create fear in the minds of the good people of Osun counting on a long-lost influence.
“The Government of Osun hereby warns that there are no sacred cows in the state. No one is above the law here regardless of their past glories or future aspirations. Security agencies have been well briefed about the activities of these mischief-makers, who have set themselves on a collision course with the law.
“Anyone, irrespective of their office or station, caught disrupting the peace of Osun will answer to the law.”
The spokesperson of Osun State Police Command, SP Yemisi Opalola, did not respond to calls.
A group, Osun Shall Rise Again (OSRA), called for the arrest and prosecution of Aregbesola, for causing mayhem
The group also said the mayhem has vindicated its earlier position, exactly a month ago.
Its Chairman, Saheed Baker, and Secretary, Lanre Akeju, recalled in a statement that it had on January 14 raised the alarm over plots by Aregbesola to cause mayhem
The group accused the minister of abuse of power and naked use of armed personnel to intimidate and maim innocent citizens of the State.
The statement reads: “To this end, we are calling on the Inspector-General of Police to arrest and prosecute Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for this unprovoked attack on the harmless and innocent citizens of the State.
“Our former Governor has been trying to create chaos in the State. But he will fail because we are witnesses to a gale of endorsements for Oyetola’s candidature from the West to Central and to East. These endorsements are spontaneous and we believe it is the reflection of the reality on the ground.
“We are aware that all those issues that reduced APC’s popularity and made it struggle to win the governorship in the build-up to the 2018 governorship poll have all been addressed by Oyetola and have endeared the party to the people once more.
“From abolition of half salary to reversal of single uniform and revert to old names of the various schools among others, Oyetola has won the hearts of the people.
“Oyetola cannot be faulted on the issue of performance and the popular and acceptable saying is that ‘ you don’t change a winning team.’ Aregbesola should be advised to give peace a chance.”
At Ijebu-Ijesa, Aregbesola boasted that the group is leading, will take party from Governor Oyetola. He said Adeoti, who fell apart with him in 2018 and left the APC to contest on the ticket of African Democratic Party (ADP) would pick the APC ticket.
Adeoti, who lost in 2018 recently returned to the APC.
A statement by the minister’s media aide, Sola Fasure, quoted Aregbesola as saying: “Anyone who was with us when we started the journey to reclaim Osun for the progressives in 2004 would know we fought very hard for this victory we have today. We went through several challenges then but through thick and thin, we were able to succeed. This time around, we will succeed.
“We are ready to allow a free flow of the democratic process to interplay here. We are not those who play God. We are resolute about reclaiming our party from those who think they can continue to abuse our legacies or even want us to be second fiddles in the party we worked and laboured for. This is our pride and we will sustain it.
“Let me tell you that God is with us. I urge all of our supporters to come all out and back us. Do not have any fears. We are the authentic APC in Osun. If in Lagos, the governor did not do well and the party decided not to return him for a second term, why can’t it be so in Osun? They know what they have done to us is bad and they want to continue the impunity. We will not accept it.
“Do not be disturbed by their threats. Come out en-masse and vote for our aspirant. In Shaa Allah, Adeoti is the next governor of Osun. We should all support him.”
Adeoti expressed his gratitude to Aregbesola.
He promised to sustain the legacies of the progressive government from November 27, 2010, to November 27, 2018.
At the rally were Former State APC Secretary Razaq Salinsile; former Speaker Najeem Salaam; Chairman of TOP Lowo Adebiyi and other Aregbesola loyalists.