By Moshood Adebayo
The rumoured return of former Governor of Ogun State, Aremo Olusegun Osoba to the All Progressives Congress (APC), which he co-founded with other notable Nigerians, is already causing ripples among political gladiators in the state.
The veteran journalist-turned politician had, in the build-up to last year’s general elections led his teeming supporters to the Social Democratic Party (SDP). Osoba’s defection was necessitated by irreconcilable differences and alleged marginalisation of his supporters by Governor Ibikunle Amosun.
Aside from Osoba, former deputy governor of Ogun State, Segun Adesegun, had sent a stinker to Amosun, accusing him of starving his office of funds, as well as denying him of other official entitlements.
The three APC senators from the state and members of House of Representatives then also defected to the SDP.
The Senators were: Gbenga Obadara , Akin Odunsi and Adegbenga Kaka, who represented Ogun Central, Ogun West and Ogun East respectively.
The members of the House of Representatives included his son, Olumide, Abiodun Abudu, Kunle Adeyemi, Bukunola Buraimo and Babatunde Olabode
Although, sources close to Osoba said the septuganarian Egba chief had not returned to his “old house”, yet, he is usually seen among APC gladiators, suggesting that the Akinrogun of Egbaland may return to the party sooner than later.
It would be recalled that Osoba attended the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, when he said he was attending in a private capacity as “a personal friend to President Buhari”
According to Osoba, Buhari appointed him Managing Director of Daily Times and he owed him a duty to attend the ceremony.
The ex-governor, who said he wrote the constitution of APC, did not, however, rule out returning to the party.
Daily Sun gathered that the return of Osoba was at the instance of many founding members and national leaders of the APC, who felt he should not be outside the party even though he is close to the who-is-who in the party.
The speculated return of Osoba is already causing ripples, particularly among the Amosun-led camp who are said to be unfavourably disposed to the return which they feared would change the political calculation in the state.
But, APC Publicity Secretary in Ogun State, Mr. Sola Lawal, who was asked to speak on the allegations that some powerful members of the party in the state were not favourably disposed to Osoba’s return, dismissed it as unfounded rumour.
His words: “How can his return cause a ripple?. No way. A political party is a free house for anyone to join and exit. And, from any angle you look at it, Chief Osoba will remain an important personality in Ogun State politics”
Asked to comment on the rumoured return of Osoba, the APC spokesman said : “I can confirm that the party has opened its doors across the country to individuals of credibility to be part of the Change Mantra .
“So, he is welcomed back; he is our leader. APC is his original home, if he decides to return to the house, he is welcome back. We will be happy to accept him back”.
“We are not putting any numerical limitation to the number of credible Nigerians that want to be part of the Movement for change in Nigeria.”
However, a chieftain of the party, who is loyal to the Osoba-led group expressed delight at the planned return of Osoba, even though he said “Osoba’s body language has not pointed towards that direction.”
The APC leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity further said: “It is mere speculation, Aremo (Osoba) has not made up his mind to return to APC, which he left in 2013 after the leadership of the party failed to listen to his grievances”.
“Baba Osoba is a respected elder, who commands absolute respect among his supporters. I am sure when he finally makes up his mind to return to APC, he will carry us along”.
“Since he led us out of the party, definately, when he decides to return, he will definately inform us and ask for our own views as his usual practice. That’s why some of always believe in him. He is such a leader that is interested in the welfare of his supporters”.