Former governor of Osun State Rauf Aregebsola has left Nigeria on a trip abroad, effectively shunning the governorship election in the state.
Aregbesola and his successor Gboyega Oyetola, though members of the same party, have not been in good terms for a while.
Aregbesola, who is now the minister of interior, left Nigeria on Friday to attend a conference slated for Monday in Germany by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Premium Times learnt.
Sources who craved anonymity because they were not authorised to speak on the matter told the online newspaper that Aregbesola could have travelled on Sunday but chose to leave on the eve of the state’s governorship election “for some obvious reasons.”
Ahead of the party’s governorship primary on February 19, Aregbesola endorsed the former secretary to the state government, Moshood Adeoti. But Oyetola proved too popular for Adeoti.
Aregbesola’s decision to boycott Saturday election is believed to have come from a ruling by a Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday against The Osun Progressives (TOP), a group within the APC which Aregbesola had publicly declared support for.
The TOP, unhappy with the outcome of the primary election, had filed a suit in court to remove Oyetola from the race.
The suit was predicated on the argument that Oyetola had taken part in the primary without resigning his membership of the ruling party’s national caretaker committee which was then led by Yobe State Governor Mala Buni.
However, Justice Inyang Ekwo ruled that the matter was internal party affair which the court has no jurisdiction to meddle in.
A spokesman for the minister Sola Fasure said Aregbesola had no business in the election as he was not “personally invited by the governor to be in his campaign.”