Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Nigeria’s minister of Interior has debunked claims of nursing presidential ambition in 2023. The former Osun state governor also dismissed claims that he is at war with his leader and mentor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Aregbesola spoke in Abuja on Tuesday against the background of what he described as lies peddled by an online publication. He revealed that he knew those behind the publication linking him with a plot to succeed Buhari in 2023 which has created tension between his camp and that of his former boss.
Aregbesola disclosed that the APC is one, and that the party is like an oak tree that keeps growing. He said his focus and goal was to execute his ministerial duties as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari, as he urged his supporters to ignore the publication in its entirety and refrain from being distracted from the goal of building a strong APC as well as a united Nigeria.
There has been growing unease in the Lagos State chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) following the disbandment of factional groups within the party like Justice Forum (JF) and Mandate Group (MG). Alhaji Rauf Enilolobo, Organising Secretary of the APC in Lagos, who is a staunch ally of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Interior, was recently named the chairman of the Mandate Group. Many of Tinubu’s loyalists did not accept this development.
A meeting of the Governor’s Advisory Council held at State House Marina on Tuesday afternoon and attended among others by APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu warned any member engaging in factional groupings should be ready to face sanctions.
Media reports disclosed that all the 27 GAC members attended the meeting. In a communique at the end of the interaction, the GACl traced the origin of the Justice Forum and Mandate Group, pointing out that such groups were not an end in themselves but a means to an end. The JF was birthed during the heady days of the annulment of June 12. It was put in place to canvass revalidation of the election. Mandate Group on its part was started by Asiwaju Tinubu in the build-up to the 1999 governorship race to advance his interest in the defunct Alliance for Democracy race, which he won and eventually rose to become governor.
The was a unanimous decision to ban factional groups and strengthen the APC, maintaining that the party is a united party, a united family.
In the meantime, former Lagos governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has also denied the existence of any rift between him and Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Interior, over recent political developments in Lagos State chapter of the party. A statement by Tinubu’s Media Office said the resolution passed by the GAC to disband all factional groups within the party has nothing to do with any rift between him and Aregbesola but rather to strengthen the APC political family.