Tinubu, Aregbesola Deny Rift

There is apprehension in the La­gos State chapter of the All Pro­gressives Congress (APC) follow­ing the disbandment of factional groups within the party like Justice Forum and Mandate Group.

Few days ago, Alhaji Rauf Enilolobo, Organis­ing Secretary of the APC in Lagos, who is a staunch ally of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbeso­la, Minister of Interior, was named the chairman of the Mandate Group.

The development, Daily Independent gathered, did not go down well with some Tinubu’s loyalists.

At a meeting held at State House Marina Tues­day afternoon and attend­ed among others by APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and Gover­nor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Governor’s Advisory Council warned any mem­ber engaging in factional groupings should be ready to face sanctions.

Virtually all the 27 GAC members attended the meeting held with strict observance of the social distancing protocol of the government.

In a communique at the end of the meeting, the council 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 GAC members were unanimous in their resolve to ban factional groups and strengthen the APC, main­taining that the party is a united party, a united fam­ily.

Meanwhile, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has 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.

In a statement by his Media Office, Tinubu said the resolution passed by the Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC) to disband all factional groups within the party has nothing to do with any rift between him and Aregbesola.

The statement reads, “Today, the Governor’s Ad­visory Council, the highest decision-making body with­in the All Progressives Con­gress in Lagos State, passed a resolution calling for the disbandment of all factional groups within the party.

“This was to promote discipline, harmony and co­hesion and engender party supremacy. The APC is one united political family in Lagos.

“Our attention has, how­ever, been drawn to a report in an online newspaper, al­leging that the GAC’s appro­priate and candid resolution had worsened a phantom cold war between Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the Minis­ter of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.

“This is a figment of the imagination of the news organisation that authored the report. Asiwaju Tinubu remains Ogbeni Aregbeso­la’s leader.

“The former governor of Osun State has been unswervingly and wholly committed to the progres­sive ideology of the Tinubu political family.

“There is no war, cold or hot, between them. There has never been and there will never be. Asiwaju be­lieves in him and he believes in the APC leader.

“Our political family re­mains strong. And we are staying focused in our com­mitment to building and maintaining a cohesive po­litical party.

“The GAC is a very strong body within the APC leader­ship structure in Lagos. Its resolution is not targeted at any particular individual or collection of individuals.

“The resolution was to restate the often-stated po­sition that the only group known to us is APC and not any of the factional groups. It was to renew the commit­ment to APC and its unity.

“Ogbeni Aregbesola is a strong member of the politi­cal family. The GAC position does not imply any division within the group. The reso­lution is well-meaning and should not be misinterpret­ed.

“To do so impulsively as the authors of the report has done is to take the fron­tier of reporting away from facts to the realm of ground­less speculations.”

Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has also debunked claims of nursing presidential ambi­tion in 2023.

He 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.

The minister revealed that he knew where the sto­ry was coming from and the identity of those sponsoring it.

“Rift with Asiwaju Tinu­bu? Nothing can be more impossible! Nothing can be farther from the truth. I remain committed to my mentor,” Aregbesola said, adding that “the group our detractors claim has been banned is the most com­mitted to the realisation of Asiwaju’s ambition”.

The minister added, “They even said I have pres­idential ambition. False!”

Aregbesola reiterated 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.

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