There was a mild drama at the South-West meeting of the All Progressives Congress’, APC, presidential aspirants and leaders meeting on Friday.
Sources at the meeting told reporters that the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, reportedly refused to shake the hands of the party’s National Secretary, Iyiola Omisore’s or sit next to him and the Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola.
The meeting was jointly convened by the former interim National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, and a former governor of Ogun State, Chief Segun Osoba.
The crisis between Aregbesola and Oyetola escalated when the minister openly opposed the governor’s second term bid.
It was said that when Aregbesola was about to have his seat at the meeting, he asked the Governor of Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, “Governor of Lagos, where is my seat?”
Sanwo-Olu replied, “Sir, (it is) beside Baba – Omisore.”
After Aregbesola’s objection, others at the meeting subsequently intervened by declaring free sitting in a short video that later went viral.
The minister, however, greeted Bola Tinubu and was embraced by both Akande and Osoba, including others, when he arrived at the meeting.
The sources said, “Ogbeni Aregbesola was expected to sit down next to Omisore and Oyetola, but he refused to sit near them, deciding instead to sit far away.
"Attempts by the elders to make Aregbesola change his mind proved abortive as he said he didn’t want to be associated with Omisore.”
The Media Adviser to Aregbesola, Sola Fasure, declined comments on the issue, saying he was not at the meeting.
Those present on the occasion included the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Chief Niyi Adebayo; governors Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo, and Dapo Abiodun of Ogun.
Others include a former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel; former Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Moses Adeyemo; and a former National Vice Chairman of the APC, South-West Zone, Chief Pius Akinyelure.
At the meeting, Akande called on all aspirants and governors to ensure that they carry on with their campaigns with decorum and also, to put the interest of the South-West first to ensure that they would not lose the ticket at the primary, which comes up at the end of the month.
“Chief Akande said it is better for one of us to have the Presidency than for none of us to have it. He said we should carry on our campaigns with decorum. The ultimate goal is to have a small number of aspirants through consensus. However, this will be discussed in subsequent meetings.
“Everything was done to ensure that the impression was not given that Akande was supporting anyone. They also will encourage consensus among all aspirants in order to strengthen the unity of the Yoruba,” the sources added.
Commenting on why Tunde Bakare, Bankole and Boroffice were not invited, Akande said, “A list was given to Niyi Adebayo to invite people. I think all these people you mentioned had not yet declared as of the time this meeting was put together."