2019: Fayose, Aregbesola, Tinubu, Rebuilding South-West Alliances

By Ikenga Chronicles October 11, 2016

2019: Fayose, Aregbesola, Tinubu, Rebuilding South-West Alliances

A strange political alignment is happening in the South-West, following a budding relationship between All Progressives Congress’s national leader, Bola Tinubu and Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose.

By design, the South-West zone of the country has always been a major force that determines where the pendulum of power swings to in Nigeria.

Lately, two states in the zone, Osun and Ekiti, and their helmsmen, Rauf Aregbesola and Ayodele Fayose, respectively, have been in the news over what many have described as a questionable political romance orchestrated by Tinubu.

Although both states border each other, Osun State is controlled by the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is in charge in Ekiti State.

Fayose has never failed to express his resentment for the Buhari administration almost on a daily basis. In fact, he is touted as one of the most vocal opposition voice against the present government.

Hence, it left many bewildered about the basis of the relationship between him and Aregbesola, who is a second term governor under the APC.

The first talk of public identification between both governors was early this year, precisely in January, when Fayose made an unexpected visit to Aregbesola, in Osogbo, the Osun State capital.

While stating that he was in Osogbo to ensure that efforts to foster unity among Yoruba leaders continue, Fayose denied being in the state for any political reason, pointing out that he was not ready to abandon the PDP for the APC.

The governor was quoted to have said: “This is my first official visit to any APC state in Nigeria. I am not in Osogbo to ask Aregbesola to help me beg as being speculated in some quarters. We are all Yoruba, politics is like water, it can flow to anywhere. I was moved by the historic visit of the Ooni of Ife to the Alaafin of Oyo and I am of the opinion that Yoruba leaders must unite.”

Responding to his guest, Aregbesola described the visit of Fayose to Osun as a demonstration of maturity, saying it takes a mature person to know that at the end of every public office, he will be left with humanity.

Aregbesola’s wife, Alhaja Sherifat, had last year hosted a programme on eradication of female genital mutilation in Osogbo with the Ekiti State First Lady, Mrs. Feyisetan Fayose in attendance. Interestingly, a similar forum had been earlier hosted by Mrs. Fayose this year in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital and Mrs. Aregbesola alongside some other first ladies from the zone was her guest.

For political watchers, the latest of the new found political affinity between the two that made Aregbesola to embark on a return visit to his colleague governor in Ado Ekiti on October 1 is more than a coincidence, especially in the face of political happenings within the zone.

While some believe it is an alignment move, others are of the view that the Aregbesola faction of progressives are planning ahead for the 2018 governorship election in the state. Aregbesola was in Ado Ekiti for the 20th anniversary of Ekiti State where he delivered a lecture entitled, “The imperative of unity.”

Giving reasons why he invited Aregbesola, whom he has had cause to publicly bash during elections, Fayose explained that there was a dire need for the nation to remove the veil of politics and work together as a team to rescue the nation from the current economic woes.

For Aregbesola, who was reported to have described Fayose as a reliable Omoluabi , “it is high time the Yoruba nation and indeed the South-West united in terms of integrating our development strategies in education, commerce, economy, agriculture and tourism among others.”

While the two governors were clinking their wine glasses, the political romance wasn’t what some certain quarters within the APC especially in both states were excited about.

Castigating Aregbesola over his visit to Fayose, the Ekiti State chapter of the APC through its publicity secretary, Taiwo Olatunbosun, described the visit as a slight on APC.

While many have argued that Tinubu, who seems to be sitting on the edge in his party, is not oblivious of the alignment so as to hold the South-West together, others believe that Fayose’s popularity among his people is what the APC in the zone is trying to leverage on.

But, whichever side of the coin the visit is aimed at, it is clear that the two leaders are cooking something and time will tell what exactly is on fire.

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