•The Story Of Their 20 Year Relationship
If you ask most people for who the closest politician to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is, they are likely to mention Chief Bisi Akande’s. He was the former governor of Osun State when Asiwaju was the governor of Lagos. He is now one of the national leaders of APC. If you say is the closest to Tinubu, that won’t entirely be wrong because Asiwaju Tinubu and Baba Akande are very close. They have been close for decades, even before Asiwaju became Lagos governor. They’ve come a long way. Baba Akande also likes Asiwaju but he is older than him.
But one man who Asiwaju likes a lot and who he depends on for political advice is Gov. Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State. Both are leaders of The Mandate Group (TMG), a political caucus group within the APC in Lagos State. Asiwaju Tinubu is the undisputed leader of the group, which has produced governors, senators, House of Reps and State Assembly members whilst Gov. Aregbesola is the No 2 leader of the group. Till date, Aregbesola still has a firm hold on the Alimosho area which is the biggest senatorial zone in Lagos. That is why Asiwaju put his trusted boy, Senator Yayi in charge. The leader of that area has always been Gov. Aregbesola. He it is who calls the shot there.
But many don’t know how close they are. When Tinubu turned 60 a few years back, Alhaja Aregbesola wrote a befitting tribute in honour of her husband’s godfather. In it, she revealed how close her husband is to Tinubu. She said every morning when her husband wakes up, after praying to God almighty it is Asiwaju that will always be next in her husbands scale of preference of those to pray for. She revealed that her husband respects and adore Tinubu a lot.
Aregbesola himself has also never hidden the tremendous respect and adoration he has for Tinubu. Over and over again he has told all those who cared to listen that his becoming the governor of Osun was as a result of Tinubu’s tenacity and insistence that he must not give up, because after the PDP stole his mandate he almost gave up but Asiwaju kept insisting that they should pursue the case to its logical conclusion. “But for Asiwaju Tinubu’s persistence we would have given up,” he once explained.
That Aregbesola is radical in his ways is not surprising. He has always had a radical worldview to life.
He is an Engineer, born in May 1957. He had his primary and secondary education in Ondo State, and later attended The Polytechnic, Ibadan, where he studied Mechanical Engineering and graduated in 1980. As a pupil in the primary school, Rauf was a centre -point around whom his mates hovered for guidance and direction. As a student, he was focused for remarkable performance which he made distinctively and seamlessly. In the Polytechnic, he positioned himself to conquer his environment by engaging in prolific studies.
Aregbesola has a wealth of experience garnered through wide exposure in the private sector, before establishing his own engineering services company, Aurora Nigeria Limited, in 1986.
The company had handled numerous major projects for both government and private organisations in most States of the Federation.
Politically, he has been no less a phenomenon . His involvement in politics dates back to his undergraduate days when he was Speaker of the Students’ Parliament ( 1977 /78), The Polytechnic, Ibadan, and the President of the Black Nationalist Movement ( 1978- 1980 ) . He was also an active supporter of other progressive students ’ movements nationwide, which earned him , for instance, the life membership of National Association of Technological Students . In June 1990, he became an elected delegate to the SDP inaugural Local Government area congress. In July of the same year, he was also a delegate to its first National Convention in Abuja . Rauf Aregbesola , as a pro – democracy and human rights activist , was a major participant in the demilitarisation and pro – democracy struggles of the 1990s . Prior to his appointment as Lagos State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure ( 1999 -2007 ) , he was Director of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Campaign Organisation ( BATCO) , w hich engineered the electoral victory of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the Governor of Lagos State in 1999 . He performed similar feat using the platform of Independent Campaign Group ( ICG) to ensure the re- election of Asiwaju for a second term in office.
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola acquitted himself excellently as Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure in Lagos State between 1999 and 2007 with the strength of his commitment to selfless service . His diligence, sincerity and tirelessness in the administration of the vast Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, as well as supervision of the Public Works Corporation and State Electricity Board, has been acknowledged as being responsible for the outstanding success recorded by the Tinubu administration , especially in road rehabilitation / maintenance and street lighting ; and achievement that solidly laid the foundation for the actualisation of Lagos as the model of development and good governance as sustained by former Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola and Governor Akinwunmi Ambode. It is a known fact that he is one of the brains behind the infrastructural re – engineering that has now resulted in the transformation of social amenities in Lagos State.
Engr. Rauf Aregbesola, on the platform of the then Action Congress (AC), contested the Governorship of Osun State in the April 2007 elections and won. To be so declared, however, took close to 4 years of what must go down as one of the most titanic mandate recovery legal battles of all time, and a moment for the manifestation of the omnipotence of the Almighty God and his steadfastness in support of those who rely on him.
Having gone through the Tribunal of first instance, an Appeal and a Retrial Tribunal, the second appeal court, delivering judgment on October 26, 2010, declared Aregbesola governor and ordered he be sworn in the next day.
He is a born
He strategised and was excellent as a Commissioner in Lagos State.
He stirs the hornet’ s nests often; but these are in his determined attempts to break the norms to achieve
He is a thinker, ardent performer, a visionary leader, a transformational leader, an agent of strategic change, a man for the people.
What has helped Aregbosola is his pedigree in student activism.
A Marxist by orientation, he is an ideological soulmate of late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo; the late Cicero of Esa-Oke, Chief Bola Ige; and the former Governor of Lagos State Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
He was born in
Aregbesola was reported to have fearlessly mobilised students in other polytechnics across Nigeria and sued the government. They won!!! It was unprecedented but not totally unanticipated, as the young Aregbesola had learnt to be a relentless fighter especially when his right was being trampled upon. Being the Speaker of the Students’ Representative Council of The Polytechnic, Ibadan, also gave him a bigger platform to fight oppression, injustice and ineptitude on the part of the school authority. By the time he graduated In 1980, his fame had spread far and near.
In the intervening years, Aregbesola became a successful engineer, but he never quit activism. It didn’t come as a surprise therefore when he was appointed head of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Campaign Organisation (BATCO) during the run-up to the 1999 governorship election. After Tinubu’s emergence as the Governor of Lagos, he appointed his fiery campaign strategist as Commissioner of Works and Infrastructure, a position Aregbesola would hold for two terms (8 years) before he voluntarily resigned to contest for the governorship seat of Osun in April 2007.
Despite overwhelming evidence that he won the election, it was manipulated in favour of the then governor, Colonel Olagunsoye Oyinlola. For three-and-a-half years, Aregbesola tenaciously and doggedly fought to reclaim his mandate. In November 2010, his victory was declared by the Appeal Court at Ibadan, and thus began a people’s journey, with Aregbesolaleading them back to glory and reckoning.