Rauf Aregbesola, the Minister of Interior, would have been Bisi Akande’s deputy in Osun State after the impeachment of Iyiola Omisore if the then governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu had not urged him to shelve the idea.
Akande, in his book, ‘My Participations’, narrated how he came across Aregbesola and wanted him first as his deputy and possible successor.
He said Ayo Afolabi and some of his colleagues introduced Aregbesola to him while he was serving as Commissioner for Works under Tinubu in Lagos, who pleaded with Akande to look elsewhere.
According to Akande, he met Aregbesola when he was honoured in Ilesha Central Mosque.
“He needed our support to host some of his guests from Lagos. So, we assigned a chalet to him at the Government House.
“I attended the ceremony as a mark of honour to him. I thought I should encourage him to link up with us in Osun.
“I was encouraging him but did not know how to say it. First, his background was not Osun.
“Second, a Commissioner for Works in Lagos controls a far bigger budget than the Governor of Osun State.
“Being a native of our state, he could be thinking of doing something different in future.
“So, I started introducing him to people and encouraging him to be part of us. That was how we linked up with Rauf Aregbesola,” Akande recalled.
When Omisore was impeached, he discussed with Tinubu about having Aregbesola as his deputy.
“He promised to get back to me. We didn’t see often and the phone was not efficient in those days.
“Tinubu had something doing in Seattle, in the western coast of the United States where he was to be honoured by his old American school. He invited me.
“The second or third day, Rauf appeared in my hotel room. He said Tinubu said I wanted to talk to him. I asked him to take a seat.
“I offered him the post of deputy governor which would be confirmed by the House of Assembly. Afterwards, I would be able to ease myself out.
“He thanked me and said he would come back to me. Instead of him, it was Tinubu who came.
“He said: ‘That boy is shy and he didn’t know how to put it.’ Tinubu explained that Rauf was holding an important position for him in Alimosho local government politics and that he would still need him for mobilisation leading to the 2003 general elections.
“He apologised that it would not be possible for him to release Rauf. He said I should look for someone else and after my second term, we would think of the next step,” Akande said.
He added that Tinubu said after the election, Aregbesola would come to learn more about Osun and its politics.
“So, he chose Sooko Adewoyin, an elderly and experienced person from Ile Ife who was introduced to him by Prince Peter Ogunleye as his deputy.
“At the appointed time, Rauf indeed came to Osun and he proved equal to the task, becoming the first Governor of Osun State to spend full two terms,” he said.