Aregbesola Vs Omisore, Round 3, Part 1

Former Osun State governor and current Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and former Osun Deputy governor and former senator, Otunba Iyiola Omisore, are like Messi and Ronaldo of Osun political field. Because both are older than the two most-known artists of the round-leather game, maybe we move them a notch higher, to late Maradona and Pele’s rivalry level. Edson Arantes do Nascimento is widely believed to be better technically-gifted and more Spartan in discipline, than his more flamboyant rival, but somehow, it was the mercurial Argie that regularly topped in their contestation in public opinion court, while FIFA, obviously more pleased to have the Brazilian as the immortal face of the game, regularly comes to the rescue of the one who is deemed a better soccer compatriot, but always failing when there are prizes to be taken home from the people’s assembly. Does anything have to do with aura here?

It got so bad for Pele, with the voting public, that the Maradona mouth, which Yoruba would conclude, was shaped at birth, with perforated lace material, or wasn’t touched up, with the proverbial hot water, not to be too leaky, uttered a perceived infamous heresy; “This guy (Pele) will have to learn to stop coming second.”

Maradona was great, but Pele was a shade better, arguably in most aspects of the game, on-field, off-field. But somehow, it was the guy, lighter in gold-weight standard that kept winning until his soul moved to Hades.

I have been around the two Osun gladiators. If my projections of their personalities and the sub-set of their capacities are correct gauge of their content, then, Omisore, the mini Chairman Mao of the two, should have been the two-term governor of the state, with his deep, manifest understanding (please believe this, though he lacks capacity for clarity and free-styling expression) of how to get the state out of her financial quagmire. You can call him a financial engineer.

Buoda Rauf is the show-boating administrator, more fitted for a state like Rivers, graced with a fecund mind, maybe now, too-seasoned, with politics of mischief. He is infectious in his child-like way when he is excited and I must add, can be irritably excitable; just as he was, the day he called Omisore (aileja ni ile baba mi o de iha hin) out, for the third round of their running Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) match-up, even now, as party members.

Unlike fixed wrestling outcomes, UFC is generally deemed real. When you are bloodied, you shed real blood, live. When you snooze, you lose. Both men went into the contests of the past, as enemies and it was so fitting that it was a cage-fight Aregbesola was inviting Omisore again.

If you bring the Pele/Maradona anecdote into their individual make and take, Omisore would easily take Pele’s space. Despite the rough narrative around his politics, the Gareeji-Olode-Prince always desires and works round his personality to be better than the persona his fiercest critics like to hoist of him. He struggles to put the blue-blood forward in his interactions in public spaces. While the carriage he tries to project is commendable, you want to wonder which part of him, then, fits the bill of his critics’ narratives. I suspect he is an impressionist. Not completely pretentious, but his kind can disappoint. Maybe the public love them rough and rumble like Maradona. Maybe that was why he kept winning.

With Rauf Aregbesola, you get what you pay and pay not for. He would roll in the mud to win then gets up from the gutter, donning a dazzling white apparel, seeking another fight for another victory, with someone bearing the burden of huge gallon of palm oil. As governor, he called a meeting of media leaders and after running late, he would come in with an apology, wrapped in a raucous laughter, then kicked away his slippers and jumped into the couch, curling up like a child with candy! An Igbo guy in attendance who possibly concluded that every Yoruba around must be the governor’s brother, turned to me and quipped, “this your brother well so?” That was at his GRA Ikeja residence.

Maradona deliberately chose to be cheekily melodramatic. The judging public connected and he kept winning with them. Remember Uti? The Nwachukwu fellow who as a Big Brother housemate in 2010, decided to go “original” by pronouncing witch, as “winch” a few days into the programme. The voting public drooled over him for the rest of the show, despite his character flaw and obvious uncouth ways. He denied Munya, the equally-rude Zimbabwean, $200, 000. Does that make the way of the public dark somehow?

With the Nigerian public, you are either naturally spruced-up like a Ramsey Noah or Donald Duke, or you don’t “form” for them. When you are ajigijaga, don’t try to be RMD. When you are born to be maverick, the public will likely forgive your draw-downs and let-downs. They enjoy the “show” you put up and when it is time to reward “entertainment”, you keep shining in their sub-conscious. Even an immemorial Maradona, will still beat Pele to “second position,” because his “ways” stay true in memories.

I sense Aregbesola will always beat Omisore in vote contests. His re-election victory of 2014 when Omisore was the closest ever to being governor-elect must have struck some invisibility lessons, fear in Omisore and infallibility mentality, in the victor. Both are getting set for another electoral face-off, possibly a senatorial contest in 2023, and history could be repeating itself, or maybe, there would be an upset this time. But that really isn’t the issue here. When you have two opposing personalities, but almost of the same bake, oxymoron takes a bigger meaning in a narrower context.

Do you know a tiny fellow called Izzy? Yes, the same UFC middleweight world champion, aspiring to legendary status, by seeking to be a two-weight champion, at the light heavyweight. Ogun State-born Israel Adesanya is the “mosquito” champion. But he is a real yanmu-yanmu. He troubled “giants” that crossed his path to fame. Apart from his winning skills, he is a master of the swashbuckle, making him the crowd darling. At the February 19 Ifofin Declaration, the Aregbesola that held an S.O.P (Songs of Pun) with selected jibes at Ife, Lagos, Osogbo and Iragbiji, looked every inch an Adesanya, in agbada, readying for a fight above his “original” weight class.


(To be continued).


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