Aregbesola’s legatum (1)

Yanmu-yanmu is a tiny, annoying insect. Its buzz, is perhaps the most notable of his existence. But when it comes close enough for a bite, it leaves behind reddish, itchy spots, one could nurse for a while. There is another, known as olobohun-bohun in Ijesa dialect, it prances, trance-like, creating an irritating situation, before flying off, leaving no landmarks, beyond making anyone, unfortunate enough to come in contact with it, angry.

To haters, the symbolism the two creatures represent is verisimilitude of the eight years of gubernatorial sojourn of the current Interior minister, Broda Raufu Adesoji Aregbesola, in the State of Osun. Mischief-driven profilers may even want to draw a comparison of psychicality between their appearances and the nature of the former Mr. Governor, who made popular, the Oranmiyan renaissance concept. Anti-Aregbesola camp, especially those of the new lord in Abere, like to argue that he came, made irritating noise for eight years and bit the state dross where the commonwealth was kept, like a mouse would do; destroying both the currency and the purse.

Beyond sentiments, infrastructure witnessed an uptick under him and without the religious mix, education, would have done good too. But governance would never deliver that “for the good of humanity” if the barometer every time is road, water and Panadol provision at health centres. The essence of leadership is to inspire, to restore public-good confidence, to create the-it-is-possible spirit in the led, to get people dreaming again in the midst of hopelessness, to assure of a future of endless possibilities with results, and for God and man. This central leadership ethos is already lost to our people, so leaders hardly bother to seek, find and make it, the foundation of their social contract with the people. Jesus said in Mathew 7:7 that you have to ask, to be given. Since the led are not placing a demand on tomorrow from their leaders, they keep getting a today that tells of a darkened tomorrow. Unless and until the people start demanding beyond tarring the 3km road that leads to the homes of their community leaders and commoners stop spreading their Sunday-Sunday wrapper on the floor for an uncommon transformer to step on because their money had been “well-spent” to open a community up with a 2km road that begins nowhere sensible and ends nowhere reasonable, wishing for anything different, would be waiting for Godot.

Aregbesola arrived Osun with an aplomb and if his first year in office is placed side-by-side with his successor, you may want to ask “na who Musa offend?” and until he started overreaching his religious beliefs (Islam and traditional), he was an inspirational figure who, critics, and those unhappy with how he got the office, was ready to give a chance to get the people dreaming again.

Another major undoing of the former Osun CEO, is his unbridled desire to be an archival leader, always running into the past, to move the state to the future. Who does that, with a generation now running with four eyes, two on the head, two on their heels. The ideas that worked when the world had its eyes on the knee as Yoruba will say, will be dead on arrival now. While his centuries-ago agenda were still being resisted, he intoxicated the arena, with the opium of religion, incinerating what was left of his bounce from Lagos.

Two things silently shocked me about his government. One, whatever convinced him that Osun was so rural, he could boldly forge ahead with what he would not toy with in Lagos, where his boss had helped him build a considerable esekuku influence. Two, how difficult it was for him to know when to stop pushing. For the first, I guess, it is just the normal mentality of a Lagos boy coming to the “village” to “show” them and for the latter, I guess, it is just pure arrogance of “oju o gbodo tiwa” (no retreat, no surrender).

Without getting into needless tribal profiling, Gboyega Oyetola is who he is and I doubt if reversing the unpopular and controversial policies jointly made with Aregbesola as his powerful Chief of Staff, has anything doing with his Oyo tribal linkage as being viewed in certain quarters. Yes, Oyo-speaking natives have a poor relational perception with nearly all tribes in karo o jire clan. An average Oyo fellow is deemed slippery, unreliable and dangerous. This may not necessarily be true, but when an Ijesa man wants to warn you off an Oyo-fellow, he quickly adopts, “Oyo a yo omo le” (Oyo fellow will disappoint)

There is also a joke about their politics. During Aregbesola’s time, whenever a political decision was taken and the people from Oyo-speaking part of the state were asked if they were satisfied with it, instead of stating their opposition right there and then they would say, se bi eyin na, leni a mo lo sibe hun (ah, you are the one who said so) and would leave such meetings to go and execute diametrically-contrary steps, to undermine the collective decisions of supposed political soul-mates. Many of such instances, presented the opportunities that almost obliterated the ruling party in the build-up to the election won by PDP but stolen by Abuja, Bourdillion and Broda Iyiola Omisore (will return to him), for Gboyega Oyetola, the incumbent, now dismantling the imported Oranmiyan staff across the state.

If any perfidy is being read into the policy reversal in Osun, it may not really have much to do with Oyetola’s tribal ancestry, though it will do any tribe with such unflattering cognomen to engage in deliberate retooling of what is deemed a gift of native intelligence, being employed for, and, in the  negative. If this behavioural pattern is deemed an exclusive preserve of the governor’s people, then all Nigerian politicians, particularly from the East, must be of shared ancestry with the Osun CEO. But nothing is exclusive here. Ilorin has been profiled as mesujanba (extremely dangerous), Ijesa as being too money conscious (osomalo) which in itself could be negative, Ibadan as atrociously- light-fingered, Ife as splurging and hedonistic, etcetera.

The jubilation in Osun and elsewhere over the perceived humbling of Aregbesola by his former aide is not an access code to heroism for the governor. If anything, he is guiltier than the man he’s unbundling, for the tumultuous waste of public resources that went into those policies they jointly executed, now being reversed by him.


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