Eminent journalist and elder statesman Aremo Olusegun Osoba has reiterated his commitment to restructuring.
He said contrary to the insinuation by Afenifere chieftain Chief Ayo Adebanjo that he had sold out on the resolution of the national question, he has never relented in advocating for true federalism and devolution of power.
Osoba described Adebanjo as a dictator who will never acknowledge opposing views.
The former governor, who is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress(APC), said the report on restructuring by the El-Rufai Committee had been affirmed by the leadership of the ruling party.
Chiding Adebanjo for lack of skills for dialogue, constructive debate and lobbying, he said:”We adopted the Restructuring Report. Buhari was present there. But, Adebanjo does not like the National Assembly that will work on it.”
He advised Adebanjo to desist from using insulting, abusive and antagonistic language, saying that it is destructive and provocative.
Noting that the outspoken Afenifere chieftain has never contested election all his life, he said he should go and test his popularity.
Osoba spoke with reporters in Lagos on what he described persistent attacks on him by Adebanjo, warning that he will henceforth, return fire for fire.
He said:”Chief Ayo Adebanjo accused me of being a sell out. I have not sold out on restructuring. I have consistently campaigned for a Canadian or Australian model of true federalism.
“His attitude is that you must always agree with his own definition. This rigid attitude is contrary to the attitude of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who encouraged debate.”
The veteran journalist also objected to the attack on Asiwaju Bola Tinubu by Adebanjo, pointing out that someone who fought former President Olusegun Obasanjo to a standstill on the validity of local government creation could not be tagged an enemy of restructuring and devolution of power.
Osoba said Adebanjo had always opposed him, recalling that he objected to his appointment as the Managing Director of Daily Times, his governorship ambition in 1990 and his governorship bid in 1998.
He said while he supported Prof. Afolabi Olabimtan against him in the Third Republic, he also supported Dr. Femi Okurounmu against him in 1998.
Osoba flayed the Afenifere chieftain for peddling the name of the late sage while attacking his foes, wondering where Awo appointed him as his Peter and gave him his key.
To the former governor, Adebanjo was not more closer to Awo than him and his two media colleagues, Peter Ajayi of Sketch and Felix Adenaike of Tribune, who he fondly referred to as the three musterkeers.
Osoba said while Awo was an astute manager of men and resources, “Adebanjo has not managed anything. That was the difference. Awo managed people. What has he(Adebanjo) achieved in his legal profession? Any landmark case?”
He also doubted that the Remo-born politician was a consistent progressive, saying that he is fond of supporting candidates running on conservative platforms.
He said:”In 2003, when we lost elections, they were gloating. They were making jest of us-myself and Chief Bisi Akande. Otunba Niyi Adebayo even stormed out of their meetings.
“Adebanjo started hobnobbing with GbengaDaniel in Ogun, Mimiko in Ondo and Oyinlola in Osun. Now, he is supporting Makinde in Oyo. He said we sold out to Buhari. But, he was complaining for Atiku and he supported Jonathan.”
Osoba said the penchant for antagonism has been peculiar to Adebanjo, stressing that he likes making sweeping statements.
He stressed:”In the Second Republic, he was always antagonising Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) governors. That was how they attacked APp only to now agree that the Alliance for Democracy (AD) candidate, Chief Olu Falae, should run on the platform of APP”.
The former governor also blamed Adebanjo for the division and crisis in Afenifere, saying:”It is the attitude of Adebanjo that makes different groups to exist in Afenifere.”
Osoba added:”In his dictatorial way, Adebanjo said he had zoned the presidency to the East. Where did Yoruba meet to arrive at consensus? They are talking about boycotting 2023 election. Where did we sit down to decide on boycott. Awo was never a supporter of boycott.”