The supremacy battle between the Governor of Osun State, Adegboyega Oyetola, and his predecessor, Rauf Aregbesola, minister of interior, over the control of the structure of the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress has assumed a dangerous dimension.
The party has split into two and both camps are flexing political muscles to gain popularity.
The Aregbesola camp is known as The Osun Progressives (TOP) while Oyetola’s camp is known as Ileri Oluwa. During his campaign in 2018, Oyetola used Ileri Oluwa as his identity. It has since become a movement.
Some members of the party loyal to Aregbesola said only members of the Ileri Oluwa movement got political appointments in Oyetola’s administration, while they were sidelined because of their relationship with the former governor. They alleged that any member who wants to benefit from Oyetola’s government must not be seen to support Aregbesola.
Being fully aware of the treatment meted to his followers, the minister was able to get political appointments for some of them at the federal level. At a point, those loyal to him were tagged ‘Abuja people’ while those loyal to Oyetola were seen as Osun-based.’ That was how the division started among the party members.
Political observers in the state said the rift between the two politicians could be dated back to the 2018 governorship election as Oyetola was not Aregbesola’s preferred candidate to take over from him despite the fact that he served as his chief of staff for eight years and they had a good relationship. Oyetola was, however, allegedly imposed on the party by a former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; and Aregbesola accepted because he could not say no to his directive. As a result of this, it was believed that the minister did not work hard for Oyetola’s victory during the election.
Also, it was said that Oyetola did not support the nomination of Aregbesola for the ministerial appointment, upturned some his policies and made efforts to curtail his dominance on the party. At that point, the crisis was becoming serious, but both sides pretended as if there was no problem.
The former acting national chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, made efforts to reconcile the two political gladiators severally, to no avail. Eventually, the chairman of the party in the state, Prince Adegboyega Famodun and some executive members of the party became loyal to Oyetola, while the secretary, Alhaji Rasaq Salinsile and others pitched tent with Aregbesola.
The bubble eventually burst during the recent ward congresses of the party. While those loyal to the governor said they preferred a consensus arrangement, those in the minister’s camp insisted that there must be an election to determine their representatives at that level.
Consequently, those in Aregbesola’s camp alleged that the governor and the chairman of the party wanted to impose the consensus arrangement on them, saying it was designed to edge out the minister from the control of the party in the state.
To register their displeasure, some women and youths in the party staged a peaceful protest in major streets of Osogbo, the state capital, lamenting that the consensus arrangement would disenfranchise them. The protesters, led by Rasheed Raji, said the chairman of the electoral panel on the congress, Senator Gbenga Elegbeleye, connived with Governor Oyetola and Famodun to compromise the process in their favour.
But Elegbeleye, during a meeting with APC stakeholders at the Government House, debunked the allegation, saying he arrived Osogbo late due to a delay in flight from Abuja, as against the rumour that he refused to allow those in Aregbesola’s camp to obtain forms for the ward congress. He promised that the committee would do everything possible to champion transparency, accountability and fairness.
During that meeting, leaders of the party and political officeholders present supported consensus arrangement. Those who attended the meeting included Governor Oyetola, three former deputy governors, Senator Iyiola Omisore, Prince Sooko Adewoyin and Mrs Titi Laoye-Ponle, the senator representing Osun Central, Dr Basiru Ajibola; Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Timothy Owoeye and the state chairman of the party, Prince Famodun
Speaking during the meeting, Governor Oyetola said consensus was adopted to prevent rancour and appealed to members of the party in the state to conduct themselves peacefully during the process.
“Congress is a way of electing new officers of the party and it shouldn’t generate any crisis. The national leadership of the party asked us to adopt consensus to avoid rancour. The presence of all the stakeholders in this meeting shows that the party is formidable,” the governor said.
The chairman of the party also said, “As recommended by the national secretariat, we have adopted consensus in Osun for the purpose of the smooth running of the party. Things have been properly done. Our homework has been done properly. Our fathers and leaders have scrutinised the 332 wards we have in Osun. We have concluded the exercise.”
Senator Ajibola Basiru also affirmed his support for consensus but suggested that elections should be conducted in the wards where there were contenders so that everyone would be given equal opportunity.
On the day of the congress, names of consensus candidates were read and ratified across the state, but those in Aregbesola’s camp insisted on election, not consensus. As a way of seeking redress, the aggrieved members forwarded their petition to the Ambassador Obed Wadzain-led appeal committee, which was set up by the national body of the party.
During the sitting of the appeal committee at the party’s secretariat in Osogbo to meet the petitioners, there was pandemonium as thugs stormed the venue. Some people were injured during the attack. Both the Aregbesola and Oyetola camps accused each other of hiring the thugs to disrupt the process.
Worried over the development, Comrade Sunday Oriowo, who spoke on behalf of the Coalition of Osun Progressives Groups, an umbrella body of 15 groups in the state, urged the appeal committee to treat all petitions before it on merit.
Also, in a statement by his chief press secretary, Ismail Omipidan, the governor urged party members to allow peace to reign. He condemned what he called “unruly behaviour” by some aggrieved members of the party, saying no sane society would condone any act of lawlessness. He noted that the people of Osun were known for peace, and urged members of the party to avoid acts that could tarnish the image of the state. He further noted that political intolerance was injurious to the unity and collective peace of the state. While appealing for calm, the governor also said the government would not tolerate any act of criminality or violence in any part of the state under the guise of politics.
“I appeal to party members, especially those who have already filed petitions before the appeal committee over the conduct of the last ward congress to sheathe their swords and toe the line of peace and the law.
“Since the matter is already before the appeal committee, they should allow the process to run its full course. We are known for peace as a people. We should do all in our power to sustain that recognition in our collective interest,” the governor stated.
On their part, Aregbesola’s supporters said their lives were in danger as there were plans to assassinate their leaders. The chairman of the TOP, Reverend Lowo Adebiyi, said relevant security agencies had been informed about the assassination plot.
The secretary of the party also alleged that one of the leaders of the TOP, Mr Biyi Odunlade, a commissioner for youth and sport during Aregbesola’s tenure, escaped death by whiskers when gunmen attacked his house days after the ward congress.
Reacting to the claim of an assassination plot, the party’s director of publicity in the state, Mr Kunle Oyatomi, said Governor Oyetola and the chairman of the party were not known to be killers, and the APC is not a party of killers. He said those alleging threats to their lives should provide evidence. He also said the internal crisis in the party was not in anyone’s interest and appealed to all members to operate as one family.
Sudan military declares state of emergency after coup, shuts down internet
Sudan’s military leader has declared a state of emergency across the country and dissolved its transitional cabinet, which is seen as a huge blow to the country’s already fragile transition to democracy.
Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan made a televised announcement on Monday as thousands of pro-democracy protesters flooded the streets of the capital Khartoum, and its twin city of Omdurman, after soldiers arrested several government officials.
Among those detained on Monday is Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. He was moved to an undisclosed location after refusing to issue a statement in support of the coup, said the information ministry, still apparently under the control of Hamdok’s supporters.
The military also raided the television and radio headquarters and shut down the internet. The capital’s airport has been also closed, together with some of the city’s roads and bridges.
At least 12 people have been wounded so far in the protests that have been called by the pro-democracy coalition born out of the uprising which put an end to the 30-year long rule of Omar al-Bashir.
In his announcement, Burhan said that the military will continue the process towards democracy, but dissolved the sovereign council, a joint military and civilian body created to run the country since al-Bashir’s removal.
“We have started our path towards the state of freedom and peace but some political powers are still trying to maintain everything in their hands, without giving attention to political, economic and social threats,” he said.
Al-Burhan said the military will appoint a technocratic government to lead the country to elections, set for July 2023.
But he made clear the military will remain in charge.
“The Armed Forces will continue completing the democratic transition until the handover of the country’s leadership to a civilian, elected government,” al-Burhan said.
The move came just before the military was supposed to hand leadership of the country’s joint military-civilian administration to civilians next month.
The information ministry called his speech an “announcement of a seizure of power by military coup”.
Tensions have been rising for weeks between Sudan’s civilian and military leadership over Sudan’s course and the pace of the transition to democracy.
Sudan: UN condemns military takeover, PM detention
The United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has condemned the military coup in Sudan, and called for the release of the prime minister and other officials.
He said this in a tweet Monday
In a military takeover on Monday morning, Sudan’s armed forces dissolved a governing council that included civilians and detained the prime minister and other civilian officials, endangering the country’s transition to democracy.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, his wife and members of Sudan’s cabinet were detained and taken to an undisclosed location.
In a security alert posted Monday, the US Embassy said it “has received reports that armed forces are blocking certain areas in and around Khartoum” and “internet in Khartoum is non-functional.”
Guterres said the UN would “continue to stand” with the people of the country.
“I condemn the ongoing military coup in Sudan. Prime Minister Hamdok & all other officials must be released immediately. There must be full respect for the constitutional charter to protect the hard-won political transition. The UN will continue to stand with the people of Sudan.”
An aide and office director of Sudan’s now-arrested Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok told CNN that the premier was aware of army plans and was under pressure to dissolve the government.
The adviser, Adam al-Hireika, said that he visited Hamdok on Sunday evening where he discussed the current state-of-affairs.
Hamdok had just met with army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who declared the coup on state-TV on Monday.
“I say he was cautiously optimistic that there was an opening for agreement, but I think the military side wanted him to dissolve the government and he insisted on not unless there is a process and there is an agreement between political parties,” he told CNN’s Becky Anderson.
“This morning, when I heard about what happened I went to the PM’s residence, he is my boss and friend. I went to his residence unfortunately he wasn’t there. His wife and him were taken to an unknown destination by soldiers,” he added.
Burhan said in a statement that power-shared council and government were dissolved and declared a state of emergency after a balanced power-sharing agreement with the civilian component “became a conflict” over the past two years, “threatening peace and unity” in Sudan.
“What, General Burhan mentions in his address, actually what most of a lot of it was agreed between the two parties, but as the PM stood very strongly against dissolving the government without a process. I think that was the biggest issue of contention,” Hireika said.
Hireika warned of a civil war in Sudan if there was a return to military rule. “
“Well, I think the bigger picture, a return to military rule will mean more civil war in Sudan and instability in the region as a result,” he added.
Amnesty International calls on Sudan authorities “to respect human rights” following military takeover
From CNN’s Mohammed Tawfeeq
Amnesty International has urged the authorities in Sudan “to respect human rights” following the arrest of the country’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other officials in an apparent coup.
“We are concerned by the escalating tensions in Sudan following the reported arrest of the Prime Minister and other civilian leaders and the imposition of an internet shutdown,” Amnesty International said in a post to Twitter on Monday.
Amnesty International “calls on the authorities in Sudan to respect human rights—including the right to life, right to freedom of association, expression and assembly, both offline and on the internet. The right to peaceful protest must be respected, now more than ever.”
General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan’s armed forces, dissolved the power-sharing Sovereign Council and transitional government, saying in a televised statement that an “independent and fair representative government” would assume power until one is elected in 2023. Burhan also announced a state of emergency across Sudan.
Several articles of the constitution were suspended and state governors were removed, Burhan said.
Those arrested by “joint military forces” include various civilian ministers of Sudan’s transitional government and members of Sudan’s sovereign council, the Information Ministry said. CNN could not independently verify the Information Ministry’s claims, however family members said the Minister of Information was one of several senior officials detained.
Protesters who opposed the coup have taken to the streets in the capital Khartoum and have faced gunfire near the military’s headquarters, according to the information ministry.
Boko Haram attacks Yobe military base, three soldiers injured
Three soldiers were wounded on Saturday when Boko Haram insurgents attacked a military base at Katarko village in the Gujba Local Government Area of Yobe State.
The reportedly insurgents drove into Katarko village in about 10 gun trucks and attacked the military formation.
They were said to have engaged the security operatives at the base in a gun duel.
The Cable reports that troops of the Nigerian Army, who repelled the attack, alongside airstrikes by the Nigerian Air Force, were said to have killed many of the insurgents.
However, a precise number of fatalities had not been ascertained as of the time of filing this report. It was only gathered that three soldiers were injured in the attack.
“Two to three soldiers were injured and have been taken to hospital in Damaturu for treatment,” the source said, adding, “Many Boko Haram members are also feared dead. They were struck by foot soldiers and air support.”
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