By Gboyega Akinsanmi
A national chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday said security reports made available to President Muhammadu Buhari after assuming office revealed that former Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba did not collect $1 million campaign fund from the President Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation.
The chieftain, who was actively involved in the reconciliation process, said aside the sustained intervention of the South-west governors, the Awujale of Ijebu Kingdom, Oba Sikiru Adetona and Alake of Egba, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo III to facilitate the return of former Ogun State governor to the ruling party.
He made the disclosure during an interactive session with select journalists in Lagos, explaining that the real purpose behind Osoba’s return to the APC “is not about Ogun politics, but strictly about building a united political front in the South-west given the past experiences in the region.”
At the session, the chieftain explained that some political interests within and outside the region, who did not want Osoba in the APC sponsored media reports that he collected one million dollars from the Jonathan campaign organisation.
He added that President Buhari believed initially that Osoba “benefitted from Jonathan’s campaign largesse and that Jonathan was just using former Ogun governor him to forment political crisis in the region.”
But after Buhari was inaugurated on May 29, the chieftain noted that the President had access to all security information and reports, which according to him, revealed that Osoba never had benefitted from the fund.
He added that the President also discovered “from different security information, reports and manifests that Osoba did not have political relationship with the former president. If Osoba had relationship with Jonathan or collected campaign funds from his campaign organisation security reports would have shown it.”
The chieftain sad it was after the President assumed office that it “became obvious that Osoba was simply fighting on principle and that some political interests actually sponsored media report to discredit him.”
On the Sunday reconciliation meeting, the chieftain disclosed that Osoba’s return to the All Progressives Congress (APC) had been going on underground long before the party’s National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu led other party leaders “to prevail on him to return to the party last Sunday.”
He also said the northern leaders from the APC had been engaging Osoba to return to the APC, which he said the former Ogun governor contributed so much to make it happen despite pessimism in some quarters.
He added that the process of what happened last Sunday actually did not start on the same day, noting that what culminated in the Sunday reconciliation meeting “has been going on a very long even before Osoba finally decided to leave the APC for the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
He said the two monarchs, especially Awujale of Ijebu Kingdom, were crucial “to the whole process. In fact, Awujale made it happen. He invited Osoba and Tinubu to his palace at different times to end the political differences,” which he said, had stoked the cold relationship between the two leaders.
The chieftain added that the monarchs had also been talking with Tinubu, former APC National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande and former Ekiti State Governor, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo among others “to ensure that there is one common political front in the rank of the South-west APC leaders.”
He disclosed that Awujale personally came “to Osoba’s residence in Ikoyi on three different occasions to plead with him on the need to return to the APC. Awujale was really involved in the reconciliation process.”
He explained that the return of Osoba “has nothing to do with Ogun politics or Ogun State Governor, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun. Rather, the monarchs were motivated to ensure unity in the rank of the South-west APC leaders because of the antecedent of the region. Our political antecedent shows that the South-west will suffer if it does not have a united political front.
“It happened between1964 and 1965 during the federal parliamentary elections. It also happened in1993 before and after the annulment of the June 12 presidential elections. Among others, these antecedents motivated the monarchs to reconcile the APC leaders so that the region will not lose out.”
The APC chieftain therefore said the Sunday meeting “was a formality. The issue is not about Amosun and Osoba. Amosun was not part of us. But Osoba worked with the progressives to make him governor.”
He said the whole process was kept secret from some political interests within and outside the geo-political zone, explaining that the reconciliation process was “kept secret because those who did not want it happen would have scuttled it for their selfish political advantage or gain.”
He also explained the central roles of South-west governors, even before he finally decided “to leave the APC for the SDP. Osun State Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola and former Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi started it before other governors from the region eventually joined them.”
On these grounds, the chieftain pointed that Osoba’s exit from the APC was a terrible blow on the Progressives because it caused division in the South-west, noting that it was imperative to forge a united political from in the South-west in order to make inroad into South-east and South-south.