A former governor of Lagos State and national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu, stirred controversies over the weekend when he said Osun State is not as wealthy as he his.
Mr Tinubu, speaking at the palace of Ataoja of Osogbo, Jimoh Olanipekun, at the weekend also said he had no plan to install a puppet in the state to suck its treasury dry as being peddled by his traducers.
The former Lagos state governor spoke while paying homage to the traditional ruler when the APC campaign train visited the Ataoja’s palace to present the party’s gubernatorial candidate, Gboyega Oyetola.
Mr Oyetola will on September 22 slug it out with candidates of other parties in what analysts said would be a keenly contested election.
The candidates seek to succeed Rauf Aregbesola, the state governor, whose tenure ends after eight years in office.
Mr Tinubu, considered the most influential politician from the south west, has been accused of installing ‘puppets’ across the region for pecuniary gains.
Apparently reacting to the allegations, the politician said such talks are unfounded because some of the states do not even have enough money from which a person of his calibre could ‘steal’.
Addressing the Osogbo monarch, he said, “We would have asked Rauf (Aregbesola) to continue, because he is doing well. But we chose to look at another of your illustrious sons, Gboyega Oyetola, and handed him over to you. He is trustworthy. He may be quiet and gentle but the wisdom he displays; he’s an encyclopedia of finance.
“He will not collect bribe nor steal your money. If he is after money, let him stay in Lagos. For, you don’t have the magnitude of wealth that can tempt him in Osun.
“I am not being abusive and I will not look into the eyes of Kabiyesi (the King) to say this. People may be saying that Jagaban, Asiwaju has appointed someone to help him plunder Osun’s funds, and all, and I ask them: ‘How much exactly do you (Osun State) even have?’
“Kabiyesi I don’t want to say this in front of you but, Osun is not as rich as I am, that one would steal. I only want to help this state.”
The APC leader said his support for Mr Oyetola was necessitated by his desire to facilitate the development of the state through employment generation, infrastructural development, establishment of industries and real economic growth.
He said, “But to engender good things in this state, to help you people, to employ your children, to help create jobs. Those are the opportunities that foster growth and development. When we see a brilliant son of the soil, then we encourage him to go back home and facilitate development, to help his people.
“Everybody’s prayer is that a son should take back home the bounties of living abroad. That’s the position in which God has installed you. May your children bring home bounties from their sojourn abroad. That’s the position we have placed Oyetola: the one who brings favours from abroad.
“We trained Rauf (Aregbesola) in Lagos, he didn’t disappoint us. He didn’t disappoint you too nor did he soil your name. Oyetola that we have brought before you is also your son, we raised him for you.”
Expectedly, Mr Tinubu’s comment has generated reaction online and in Osun politics, with opposition politicians lashing out at the APC leader.
On Monday, some residents of the state took to the streets in Osogbo, the Osun state capital, to protest the comment which they said was “insulting and rude.”
On Tuesday, the former governor tried to clarified his comment and blamed the opposition for twisting his remark.