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It is no longer news that Interior Minister, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola a few days ago declared war on Asiwaju Bola Tinubu & Gov. Oyetola during one of his campaigns rallies in Osun State. What is news right now, is what he did to Tinubu & Oyetola, which made them move against him. As you read this, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is a bitter man.

And he is not hiding it. He is bitter at the shabby way his political godfather and his political godson, Gov. Oyetola has treated him. In Lagos, he is facing a stiff battle, politically. And in Osun, he is also under attack, over his decision to back one faction of the party against the other. How did his fight with Tinubu & Oyetola become this messy?

 Below is what INFOONLINENEWS found out.

 This is the story of 3 erstwhile political associates who have now become sworn enemies. It is the story of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and Gov. Isiaka Oyetola. The 3 of them have been friends for decades before Tinubu became governor of Lagos State. Tinubu is the eldest of the 3. He will be 70 next month, then follows Aregbesola and Oyetola who are both in their 60s. Oyetola is the youngest of the 3. Tinubu & Aregbesola had been political associates way back.

Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola once revealed how they met. In his tribute to Tinubu @ 60,  he revealed how his path with Tinubu crossed fortuitously in 1989 when Tinubu came to, “our group, the Alimoso Chapter of the Primrose Circle, then under the leadership of Chief Dapo Sarumi, to seek out support for his senatorial ambition and engage us for a mutually beneficial relationship”.

Upon the return of the country to democratic rule in 1999, Aregbesola was a ranking member of the Alliance for Democracy, led by Tinubu, who would go on to become Governor of Lagos State in the same year. Aregbesola was Director of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Campaign Organisation (BATCO), who drove the electoral victory of Bola Tinubu in 1999, and he performed a similar feat with the platform of the Independent Campaign Group, with which he ensured the re-election of Tinubu for a second term in office.

Upon Tinubu’s inauguration as governor, Aregbesola was appointed Commissioner of Works and Infrastructure, which included supervision of the Public Works Corporation and the State Electricity Board He not only oversaw a large investment in road infrastructure in the state, but also birthed the master plan that has served as a basis for the Infrastructural development and expansion observed in Lagos.

Following Tinubu’s tenure as governor of Lagos State, Aregbesola ran on the platform of the then Action Congress (AC) for the Governorship of Osun State in the April 2007 elections.

Aregbesola had to withstand several attempts by the incumbent state government to cut short his ambition, from the failed attempt to abort the launch of Oranmiyan, the campaign organisation of Aregbesola, which was fixed for Oshogbo Stadium until the state government deployed force to stop the event.

After incumbent Olagunsoye Oyinlola was declared the winner of the 14 April 2007 elections, Aregbesola immediately proceeded to the courts to overturn this outcome. Again Tinubu was at the centre of the forces that supported Aregbe regain his mandate.

In May 2008, Aregbesola called over 100 witnesses and tendered 168 exhibits in his petition before the Election Petitions Tribunal, alleging Violence and Ballot box stuffing in the election. Having gone through the tribunal of first instance, an appeal and a retrial tribunal, the second appeal court, delivering judgment on 26 November 2010, declared Aregbesola governor and ordered that he be sworn in the next day. The Court was presided over by Justice Clara Bata Ogunbiyi, who was flanked by 4 other justices: Honourable Justices M.L. Garba, P.A. Galinge, Chima Centus Nweze, and A. Jauro. The court unanimously nullified the election results of the 10 local governments pleaded for by Aregbesola and set aside the judgement of a lower tribunal which had confirmed the election of Oyinlola, after the deductions of the cancelled votes had left Oyinlola with 172,880 votes and Aregbesola with 198,799, thereby returning Aregbesola as the duly elected governor of the state, three years after the elections.

After Aregbe won, to show appreciation, he offered Tinubu the chance to nominate his choice of loyalists to serve in his administration. That was how Oyetola got recommended by Tinubu to be Chief of Staff.

Asiwaju’s plan was to enable Oyetola use the opportunity of that experience as a stepping stone to greater heights. He saw it as an opportunity to groom the younger ones to step up their game. Apart from that Tinubu has always been fond of Oyetola who had saved him meritoriously years back even when he was on exile. At that time when Tinubu was in the UK, Oyetola was the one who kept many of Tinubu’s assets and sold some of Tinubu’s properties and kept the money intact for Tinubu until he returned back. Because of that Tinubu found him to be loyal, trustworthy and highly dependable. That was how Oyetola helped Aregbe through out his 8 years in Osun.

Despite being governor in Osun, Tinubu allowed Aregbe to continue to wield considerable influence in Lagos where he controlled political activities in Lagos West.

So, after 8 years as Chief of Staff, Tinubu  told Aregbe to let Oyetola succeed him. That request didn’t go down well with Aregbe who had other plans. That was where their problems started. Aregbe who wanted to build his own sphere of influence, over Osun had his eyes on one of his favourite Commissioners, in charge of one of the key Ministries to succeed him. Like most governors, he wanted someone he could trust and who can watch his back when he leaves. Aregbe didn’t like the way Tinubu forced Oyetola down his throat. At one of the key party meetings held towards the last days of Aregbe’s tenure, Tinubu allegedly told party leaders of his preference for Oyetola to succeed Aregbe. Aregbe and his loyalists felt bad and that created bad blood. With the  eventual choice of Oyetola, there was certain reluctance on the part of the Aregbe group to campaign for Oyetola’s candidacy. Explained a source, though they didn’t openly oppose Oyetola, they also didn’t openly campaign for him.

Oyetola & his loyalists saw a certain reluctance to campaign for them. Realising this, Oyetola had to redouble his efforts. All of these sharply divided the party, between those in support of Aregbe and those in support of Gov. Oyetola. As things unfolded, Oyetola kept briefing Tinubu about Aregbe’s disposition. The popular feeling then was that Aregbe wanted Oyetola to lose. It took Tinubu’s support for Oyetola to win, revealed an insider.

Oyetola also felt bad. Oyetola couldn’t imagine why Aregbe would be opposed to him, despite how loyal he was to him for 8 years. Insiders revealed that during his 8 years as Cheif of Staff to Aregbe, Oyetola was said to have played a pivotal role as a stabilising factor, especially during the last lap of Aregbe’s administration when he ran into stormy waters over many of his unpopular policies and the huge loan portfolio, Aregbe had amassed.

Because of the numerous challenges that Aregbe administration faced before he left office, Oyetola knew that for him to succeed as Governor he will have to review some of them to win back the confidence of the people. So, once he settled in, he began to upturn some of Aregbe’s unpopular policies. This didnt go down well with Aregbe who saw Oyetola’s move as a way of settling scores with him. He believed it was Tinubu who was using Oyetola to get back at him.

Of course, they further clashed on the control of the exco of the party at the state level. Aregbe wanted to continue to control the party politics and Oyetola felt he needed to assert himself. This led to tension and open conflict. Oyetola’s effective control of the party led to the edging out of the loyalists of Aregbe.

Again, Aregbe was angry at the fact that when it was time to nominate Osun ministerial appointees usually done by the Governor, his name was not allegedly on Governor Oyetola’s list. He was further angry that Sen. Omisore who just joined the party was one of those nominated.

Of course to teach Oyetola a lesson, he decided to press his own button. That was in the days of late Abba Kyari, as Buhari’s Chief of Staff and he got nominated and appointed a Minister. He was appointed Interior Minister, which is considered to be a revered portfolio, which had always been reserved for Northern appointees.

That was about the time Tinubu began to get feelers that Aregbe was fraternising more with the North and was no longer loyal to him. There were also all sorts of insinuations that Aregbe was being groomed to run for Presidency to counter Tinubu’s ambition.

What didn’t help was the fact that about that time, Aregbe too was beginning to distance himself from Tinubu and was fraternising more with the North players. Lack of trust set in. What followed was a breakdown in communications between the 2. And Tinubu the master strategist knew it was time to checkmate Aregbe’s growing influence in Lagos and Osun. Tinubu didn’t like the idea that his No 2 man was no longer loyal to him. He saw it as a big challenge because as at that time, Aregbe was controlling a strong faction of Lagos APC and wielded tremendous influence in the control of the affairs of Lagos West and Aregbe’s boys were also beginning to intensify their challenge of the supremacy of the Governor's control of the party in Osun. What now played out was the cutting of the wings of Aregbe within the party in both Lagos and Osun. So, top Osun APC members who are loyal to the Governor began to battle Aregbe’s Boys.

What didn’t help was the gist making the rounds then that Aregbe was one of the presidential candidates the North wanted to use to neutralise Tinubu in the South-West. That was when their relationship further dipped. Initially, Aregbe managed the situation. He kept mum until a few weeks back when he took on Tinubu at one of the campaigns.

City People gathered that Aregne’s attack on Tinubu was deliberate to whip up support for his political group in Osun. It was to help the chances of Alhaji Adeoti, his preferred candidate and to help him at the primaries held last Saturday.

Unfortunately, Aregbe’s utterances have not gone down well with so many political watchers who see it as a Great Betrayal, coming from Aregbe, who for many years has been Tinubu's confidant. Many are of the opinion that it is not in Aregbe’s place to abuse or ridicule his benefactor. We gathered that Tinubu has already told his aides not to tackle or respond to Aregbe. He believes that Aregbe is left alone to self-destruct.

Oyetola too is also very upset with Aregbe, his former Oga for wanting to destroy him and the party because of his desire to control the affairs of the party in the state.

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