Contrary to widespread reports, Interior Minister, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, never on any occasion insulted or cast aspersions on the person of All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
This was disclosed to newsmen in Lagos on Wednesday by a special consultant to the minister on security matters, Dr. Oladipupo Okeyomi, in concert with Aregbesola’s long-time political supporter, Hon. Olusola Okiki.
Okiki, on the occasion demurred, saying, “I’m Rauf boy which I can never deny because of anything, but I was a foundation member of Tinubu 23 (T23) group founded by Okeyomi for Tinubu’s presidency, launched all over the federation”
Okeyomi too, popularly known as Carry Go and who has worked closely with the minister through Lagos and Osun politics, said, “the Aregbesola that I know will never ever say any negative word against Asiwaju Tinubu.”
The security expert who said he witnessed all the community rallies carried out by Aregbesola, who is immediate past governor of Osun State, said, “he (Aregbesola) only expressed displeasure with the negative attitude of the incumbent leadership in Osun headed by Governor Gboyega Oyetola, and he told his people so.”
Okeyomi said Aregbesola, by nature, is open-minded and cannot conceive his feelings whenever unduly hurt and that once the infraction is corrected, he forgets about it and moves on.
“Asiwaju Tinubu is our leader in the party and he is like a father-figure to Ogbeni Aregbesola and the latter has utmost respects for him,” he insisted.
The security expert said tale-bearers merely went to town to concort stories, forming what Aregbesola never said about Tinubu, apparently to feast on what they considered as internal crisis in the APC.
He described the disagreement between Aregbesola and the Osun governor as mere internal party affairs which will be resolved.
Okeyomi also described as fictitious, speculations that Aregbesola is working with opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to defeat the APC candidate in the coming governorship election.
“That Aregbesola supported another candidate during the primary election doesn’t indicate he will work for opposition if his candidate does not sail through. Aregbesola is a democrat to the core and a committed progressive for that matter,” he stressed.
He noted that even if there was any disagreement between Tinubu and Aregbesola nay-sayers would not be there when the two politicians would resolve it.
According to him, the impression that the two of them are fighting is being plotted and orchestrated by those who are working against the presidential ambition of Tinubu.
Reacting to the current probe of alleged misappropriation of N165bn allocation to the Correctional Services (prisons) currently at the House of Representatives, Okeyomi affirmed that Aregbesola would never condone fraud or any corrupt practice and would go the extra mile to help all anti-graft agencies in their investigations.
“Even, look at the man (Aregbesola), those of you who are close to him know as I do, that he is not rich. He is just an average person in terms of resources.
“Throughout his eight years’ service as Commissioner in Lagos State, he did not build a house; same as his eight years’ rule as Governor of Osun State.
“While serving as governor, you would hardly know that he has family members as he does not allow his family to take advantage of his position as some people do; so I can confirm to you that Aregbesola can never steal,” Okeyomi declared.
He also praised the minister for rising up to the occasion in fortifying the prisons on the heels of some cases of shock attacks by hoodlums, leading to jailbreaks.
He said security measures have now been enhanced in in the Correctional Centres.
Okeyomi said further security steps were being taken to secure Nigeria’s various border posts against illegal entry, especially by criminally minded persons.
Besides, Okeyomi said Aregbesola is an achiever of all times, saying that while he was governor of Osun, he embarked on an unprecedented number of road projects that earned him the sobriquet of ‘Ona, baba oba (father of road constructions).
He also cited the OYES Scheme that took many Osun youngsters out of the labour market, and that before he left as governor, he was able to offset 13 months unpaid salaries.
Okeyomi also listed some of Aregbesola’s achievements since he became Interior Minister to include Nigeria Immigration’s commencement of issuing visa on arrival to holders of passports of African countries and the procurement of 451 operational vehicles for the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS).
He also said the minister created Citizen Integrity Unit at the NSCDC and also constructed 3,000 capacity custodial centres in three geopolitical zones in the country by the Nigeria Correctional Service.
Besides, he pointed out that under Aregbesola, the Interior Ministry promoted 18,000 personnel out of the 33,000 that sat for promotional exams, among several other achievements.