High Chief Abiola Ogundokun is not a card-carrying member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), yet he keys into the policy of the APC-controlled Osun State government. TUNDE BUSARI reports.
The recent donation of administrative building to the newly created Iwo East Local Council Development Area by Chief Abiola Ogundokun has caught political observers unawares suggestive of his eye on the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
Ogundokun, however, dismissed such suspicion and explained that the donation was his community service to speed up development of the new council and honour the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba AbdulRasheed Akanbi after whom he named the office complex.
The commissioning of the project had all the features of major occasion especially that the Osun State Government was scheduled to attend the event held at Olomowewe axis of the town.
The Oluwo of Iwo, Oba AbdulRasheed Akanbi, being the royal father of the donor, had left no stone unturned as he had invited other traditional rulers to be his guests at the occasion.
The Olufon of Ifon, Oba Abdul Maroof Magbagbeola arrived the Oluwo’s palace early. Ogundokun’s residence was also filled with his family members and associates, all showering him with accolade.
While this was going on, Ogbeni Aregbesola called Ogundokun and informed him of his tight schedule in Lagos which might not allow him to attend the commissioning or would delay his arrival.
Ogundokun settled for the latter and spent the free time to host more guests from within and outside Osun State.
Sometime around six in the evening Aregbesola’s convoy arrived the venue and the governor went straight to the building even before he took his seat. The appreciative crowd welcomed him with ovation as he sat between the Oluwo and Ogundokun.
Aregbesola publicly told the audience the undercurrent between him and Ogundokun and how he almost cancelled the trip.
But he expressed apology for keeping the audience waiting and commended Ogundokun for his philanthropic effort, pointing out that the donation is a rare kind gesture an individual could do for smooth take of the third tear arm of government.
“What Chief Ogundokun has done deserves commendation because we all know what the state of economy in the whole world is now the oil we depend on has failed us. I think the oil crisis is a divine call on us to look inward and diversify into more profitable sources.
“We thank Chief Ogundokun for setting the standard. Since the LCDA were approved by the House of Assembly, this is the first time I visited any. I did not plan to visit them but the pressure Chief Ogundokun put on me forced me to reverse the decision and I think he deserves it,” he said.
Aregbesola’s speech earned him applause but also sent the audience into silence when he painted the picture of the economy. However, he raised their hope when he said more LCDA would still be created in future to bring government closer to the grassroots.
“We would do everything within our resources to maintain the closeness. You can easily reach chairman of your local government council easier and faster. If you say you want to see the state governor, you must be ready to sleep there,” he said.
The Oluwo was filled with excitement as he extolled the virtue of Aregbesola whom he described as a focused and God-fearing governor. Oba Akanbi, therefore, called on his people to show understanding to the government.
The monarch also sang the praise of Ogundokun for his consistency since his ascended the throne, urging other Iwo indigenes to imbibe community development spirit, saying doing so would effect rapid development of the town beyond its present state.
“Nothing is little to contribute to your town. Come out now and make your name be counted among the patriotic sons and daughters of the town. I have made a vow that I will always take a lead in moving the town forward,” he said.
Ogundokun also praised Aregbesola and urged him to ensure the local government councils bring dividends of democracy to the grassroots, stating that they are slowed down by corruption and mismanagement.
The Publisher of Conscience International Magazine called for strengthening of local government and review of the 1999 Constitution to make local government administration effective. He also commended the Oluwo whom he said had brought unprecedented development to the town and redefined concept of kingship.
“I resolved to build this secretariat, which I seek your permission to name it as Oba Abdul-Rasheed Adewale Akanbi Office Complex’ as my own token contribution to support this administration that is courageous, creative, visionary, focused and determined to spread development to all parts of this state,” he said.