The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, says “fifth columnists” in and outside the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) are standing in the way of reconcilliation between him and the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu.
Both men were close allies until their relationship soured over a dispute between Mr Aregbesola and his successor as governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola.
Angry that Mr Oyetola abandoned some of his legacy policies and also kept many of his loyalists out of government, Mr Aregbesola opposed the governor’s renomination by the APC for last year’s governorship election.
At a meeting ahead of the party’s primary, the minister castigated Mr Tinubu for refusing to withdraw his support for the then governor.
The outcome of the election added to the rift as Mr Aregbrsola and his supporters were believed to have connived in the defeat of Mr Oyetola.
The minister has also been accused of lukewarmness to the presidential bid of Mr Tinubu.
But, Mr Aregbesola in a statement by his media adviser, Sola Fasure, on Wednesday said his rift with the APC flagbearer would have been resolved but for some people within and outside the APC, who are frustrating the reconciliatory moves.
“A pattern has clearly emerged of sinister and coordinated effort to frustrate the reconciliatory moves being championed by notable stakeholders within and beyond our party to rally all necessary factors for the success of our Party at the February 2023 Presidential Election,” he said.
“Just last week, jittery politicians, who are authors of this malicious manuscript, paid a handful of rent-a-crowd comedians to react to a non-existent ‘attack’ and regurgitate the storyline again, with the intention to frustrate a series of reconciliation steps for their selfish interest,” he added.
“We urge well-meaning Nigerians to be wary of the evil machinations of this cult of fifth columnists, whose sole business is to cause disaffection, manufacture distractions and sow discord within the APC and the progressive fold,” he urged.
“For the umpteenth time, the general public is advised to note that Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is focused on delivering key reforms in the Ministry of Interior and its agencies as championed by President Muhammadu Buhari, and also ensure that the APC emerges victorious at the 2023 General Elections.”