Whenever I come across the distorted accounts of some analysts regarding the loss of Osun APC in the 2022 gubernatorial election and the 2023 general elections, I can’t help but chuckle at the innocence or ignorance of these individuals. It becomes exasperating when these individuals cling stubbornly to their biased opinions.
As a party that claimed to be serious about repositioning itself (a term that aptly describes its previous disarray), it is vital to remind these “repositioners” that the problems created by impunity can only be addressed through honesty and a genuine sense of purpose. It may not be widely known, but the path to the monumental failure of Osun APC was paved since 2019, and the events leading up to the recent elections were merely the dramatic conclusion of a script that ultimately led the party to a dismal defeat.
It’s common knowledge that Osun APC narrowly escaped defeat in the 2018 election, thanks to numerous negative factors. However, the primary source of these challenges was the selection of the candidate, which did not align with the expectations of the majority of party members. It was expected that the party would immediately engage in a thorough post-election review, reevaluation, and reassessment. They should have reactivated all winning mechanisms to restore stability within the party. Unfortunately, the party’s actions diverged from this path, leading to further divisions instead of unity.
For clarity, impunity is a situation in which there are no effective measures to penalize violations, or when such measures are not enforced. It can result from political decisions, regulatory amnesties, or a poorly functioning or disintegrating judicial system. This definition perfectly encapsulates the events that took over Osun APC’s affairs immediately after the Supreme Court’s judgment on July 5, 2019, which declared Gboyega Oyetola as the winner. Subsequently, the former governor mistook this new era of impunity for acceptance and support for his leadership, allowing it to flourish.
Soon after the Supreme Court’s judgment, political recklessness emerged within the party. Opportunistic individuals who had been lying dormant seized the moment to take control. A group of political opportunists dominated the corridors of power, creating caucuses and cliques with specific agendas. An unofficial but tolerated policy of segregation and discrimination was introduced within the party that had barely escaped defeat. The party became divided, and the new power brokers wielded their influence. It was either you were a member of “Ilerioluwa” or you held no relevance. Official impunity was encouraged and thrived.
This new development brought chaos and discord to the party. Members were perplexed as instructions on party matters came from two different sources: the party secretariat and the “Ilerioluwa” Campaign Office. In the world of politics, relevance is key, especially within the party. People sought to maintain their importance and rushed to where they believed things were happening. Unfortunately, former Governor Oyetola misinterpreted this disorderly atmosphere as acceptance and affection for his leadership.
Rumors of discord between Oyetola and former Governor Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola began to circulate publicly. Initially discussed in hushed tones, these rumors were confirmed when Jamiu Babatunde, a latter-day loyalist of the then-governor, made a Facebook post in December 2019 that unequivocally expressed the crisis. The unexpected had happened.
To achieve their goals, various narratives emerged. Among the most absurd was the claim made by Hon. Famurewa and Hon. Folorunsho Bamisaiyemi (Bambam), who attributed their electoral failures to Ogbeni because he did not support their campaigns.
Only a few people know how Famurewa secured the 2019 senatorial ticket. Originally, the ticket was part of the negotiation and settlement terms reached with Iyiola Omisore before the rerun election on September 27, 2018. These negotiations were led by the then-Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, who was accompanied by a team of party stalwarts in Ile-Ife a few days before the rerun election. They reached an agreement with Omisore to support APC during the rerun election, including the senatorial ticket. In the final stages of the arrangement in Abuja, where Asiwaju was present, Ogbeni insisted on the ticket, which he subsequently gave to Famurewa.
The former state chairman of APC, and now suspended Oba, His Royal Highness, Adegboyega Famodun, provided a comfortable environment for the new political players and allowed the contentious situation to develop further. Derogatory remarks about Ogbeni and his government soon became a recurring theme in Oyetola’s new administration. Some cabinet members failed to introduce any new ideas and focused solely on altering existing ones. At the peak of this intoxication, Famodun declared that Aregbesola liked to play God.
The party’s abnormal situation normalized these irregularities, as peculiar practices were introduced into party management and administration. A particular media practitioner assumed the role of party spokesman under the guise of a media consultant and later as a media assistant to the then-state chairman. His personal opinions were treated as the party’s official position. At one point, the Chief Press Secretary to former Governor Oyetola, Ismail Omipidan, was more vocal on party matters than the elected state publicity secretary. Impunity reigned.
The situation worsened when a swarm of Facebook users acted as media teams for various cabinet members. They flooded social media with different group names, and many of them exhibited poor manners, revealing more about their upbringing than their intelligence. However, their employers were satisfied, as they were effectively “tackling” Aregbesola’s supporters.
It is uncertain whether the party recognizes these anomalies as the root cause of Osun APC’s downfall or whether they intend to rectify them. Regardless of their choice, the wise will continue to find their way, while the uninformed will wander aimlessly in a perpetual cycle.
The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not represent the opinions or views of Osun Defender.
Nurein Adebisi, a former students’ union leader and rights activists, was a member of the state of Osun house of assembly between 2015 – 2019 where he represented Ede South state constituency. He served as the chairman house committee on Lands, urban and physical planning and deputy chairman works.
After his tenure in the state assembly in 2019, he took up an appointment as a legislative aide in the National assembly where he continued to deploy his acquired legislative experience to various legislative works in the house of representatives.