It was a relationship that began sometime in 1992 during the short-lived Third Republic. Tinubu, a new entrant in politics, was the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) for the Lagos-West senatorial election. Rauf Aregbesola was an engineer that had worked in Lagos Airport Hotel and a few other firms. He was also a big time dealer in air conditioners and had several apprentices in Alimosho, arguably the most populous local government area in Nigeria.
Sources close to both politicians told The Africa Report that Aregbesola had hoped to emerge as the candidate of the SDP in the Alimosho federal constituency election in Lagos State but this was not to be. Nevertheless, he and Tinubu were part of the same political camp and they soon forged a bond that would blossom into a brotherhood.
After the 12 June 1993 election was controversially annulled by the military junta, Tinubu, a senator at the time, was hounded by the General Sani Abacha regime and went into exile until Abacha’s death in 1998. He returned soon afterwards, declaring his intention to run for governor of Lagos State. He needed someone he could trust to run the campaign and picked Aregbesola as his campaign manager in the 1999 governorship election.
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