THE video of Senator Ademola Adeleke dancing as he gave thanks for penultimate Friday’s favourable verdict of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has gone viral. Everyone by now knows Adeleke as the dancing senator. When he was campaigning to be governor, he gave no excuses for his penchant for dancing but upbraided those criticising him to watch him dance his way to the Osun State Government House! And he appears right on course! To those who deride him as trifle and unserious quantity, saying or thinking he has nothing upstairs and, therefore, nothing to offer as governor, Adeleke has nothing but contempt. “Book worms” may not make the best administrators; native intelligence may stand men out better than certificates. Nigeria swarms with academicians, professors, professionals, Ph. D holders, name it, who failed to make their mark in various elective and appointive positions. May be it is time we try “stark illiterates” as it were!
So, I disagree that Adeleke will not make a good governor simply because he does not parade a string of academic and professional qualifications. If he has native intelligence – and I should think he does to get this far – all he needs do is put a good team together, empower and give them free hand to operate. He can this way free himself to concentrate on his first love – dancing – while his team does a good job of running the state for him!
Watching Adeleke dance reminds me of biblical David. Those who describe his dance steps as vulgar or obscene should remember Michal, David’s wife and King Saul’s daughter (11 Samuel 6: 14 – 23). This bible story is pregnant with meanings. Adeleke’s uncoordinated dance steps, lacking even in finesse, may appear very much like David’s who danced so vigorously that he did not realise when his clothes fell off and he was naked. Watching Adeleke dance in a church after the tribunal victory and the way he led the choir to sing praises unto God, I had no doubt in my mind that he was on spiritual high. Be careful how you deride a man worshipping and praising God, even if you don’t approve of how he does it! That is one lesson Michal teaches us. God inhabits our praises; that is virtually all He receives from us in place of the plethora of blessings He daily bestows on us. Also, when God is the subject, it may not be wise to behave like that chief of Samaria in 11 Kings 6: 25 – 33; 7: 1 – 20.
Of course I am aware Adeleke also dances at “owambe” parties. He simply loves dancing. It may be a gift and not necessarily evidence of waywardness. It could be – but not necessarily. William Shakespeare, speaking through one of his characters, Duke Orsino, in “Twelfth Night” (Act One, Scene 1: 1-3) says “If music be the food of love, play on/Give me excess of it; that surfeiting/The appetite may sicken, and so die.” There is so much bitterness, hatred, suffering, blood-letting, and wickedness in our body-politics that we need some comic relief. Adeleke offers it – and we need it! Adeleke, however, still has two more rivers to cross before he can truly shout “Eureka” This case will certainly go on appeal and end up at the apex court. It is then we can also begin to worry what kind of governor he will make.
…Like Gboyega Oyetola, like Chris Ngige?
As would be expected, Gov. Gboyega Oyetola is not throwing in the towel hurriedly. He has the constitutional right – and he is exercising it – of taking the fight to cling to office to the wires. While Adeleke was still gloating over penultimate Friday’s verdict and asking INEC to issue him with a certificate of return, Oyetola wasted no time in insisting on his right to appeal the election petition tribunal verdict. Expect him or Adeleke to take this case to the apex court. In other words, we still have two higher judicial levels and many more months before the fog would clear on Osun for real governance to commence in earnest. Poor Osun state! A state that needs all the attention it deserves will now be distracted by an election petition case that is bound to consume the passions, time, resources, and attention of Oyetola’s administration. There is no denying the fact that good governance and the well-being of the good people of Osun state will take an undeserved bashing for it.
Truth be told, though, Oyetola made spirited efforts at hitting the ground running after he was sworn-in late last year. He made a lot of high-profile trips inside and outside the state holding meetings and soliciting for assistance from personalities; agencies of government and private organisations that could assist him turn around the fortunes of Osun that his predecessor, Rauf Aregbesola, had mangled. Unfortunately, as is the case with development issues, tangible results were yet to become glaring for all to see before he suffered the current set-back. If he allows the setback unsettle and unhinge him, then, Osun State will be the worse for it. Oyetola himself will also be the loser for it in the long run, especially if he takes the line of least resistance, settles down to recoup whatever and eat all eatables now, unsure what the future holds in stock for him.
But if he does not allow this setback to weigh him down, blur his focus and obfuscate his vision but redoubles his efforts in the direction of making a mark in a short time, who knows, his case may become like that of erstwhile Gov. Chris Ngige of Anambra state who was helped by godfathers to steal what was clearly Peter Obi’s mandate. Ngige, however, performed so well in office that, when the courts expelled him, many Anambrans and Nigerians wished he had been allowed to continue in office. What saved the day for Obi and everyone else was that Obi’s performance in office was also deemed satisfactory.
A stolen mandate thus became an opportunity for Ngige to show-case his capability and strength of character. If, today, he still parades the corridors of power, it is not as much as his being an ex-governor but what he made of the opportunity that came his way. Regardless of the terrible state of the country today; regardless, too, of how morality has been thrown to the dogs, good performance in office is still recognised and has no equals. If Oyetola takes a cue from Ngige, then, even if eventually he has to vacate office, he may have appropriately leveraged on the pedestal to carve a niche for himself for future reckoning – after having left his footprints on the sands of time. It will be for him, then, a win-win situation; just as it has been for Ngige. But, like Ngige, Oyetola must demonstrate strength of character. Only then will he succeed in turning what may appear to many as adversity into opportunity.
On the two occasions I met Oyetola, he cut the picture of a gentleman. Unfortunately, however, his albatross appears also to be the same ladder or ladders on which he has climbed to his dizzy heights of success. Talking, again, of Ngige and the Ubas – of godson and godfathers! Only by dint of hard work and strength of character did Ngige separate himself from the Ubas. Can Oyetola climb the same mountain or scale similar hurdles? Time, as they say, will tell!
Advice for Engr. Seyi Makinde
Sir, I am one of the regular readers of your column. I have a piece of advice for Oyo State’s Governor-elect, Engr. Seyi Makinde, but I don’t have the financial wherewithal to get it published in the newspaper. That is why I want to solicit your assistance to get it published in your column. Below, kindly find the advice for your perusal. If it makes sense to you, kindly publish it in your column.
I wish to advise our governor-elect, Engr. Seyi Makinde, to embark on a project tagged, “Taking Oyo State out of darkness through solar technology.” Before God began His works of old on earth, the first thing He did was to create light. The Bible says, “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). It was after God created light that He started other works of creation. If God had not first created light, His other works of creation would not have been visible; hence the need to make the generation of electricity for the people of Oyo State a priority.
Legal icon, Femi Falana, while speaking in Lagos on August 2017 at the launch of a report by the socio-economic rights and accountability project (SERAP) titled “From Darkness to Darkness: How Nigerians are paying the price for corruption in the electricity sector” called on state governments to challenge the laws resisting them from generating electricity in their states.
Mr. Falana further said that the states must begin to exercise their constitutional rights by challenging the control of electricity generation, distribution and transmission by the Federal Government. According to him, Sections 13 and 14 of the schedule to the constitution stipulate that states shall have power to generate electricity.
I want to advise Engr. Seyi Makinde to do everything within his powers to ensure that he kicks darkness out of Oyo State through solar technology. He can start by contacting solar engineers in America to tell us how much it will cost us to build a solar plant that can generate adequate electricity for the people of Oyo State with a land mass of 28,454square kilometre or he may start with Ibadan city with a land mass of 3,080square kilometer.
There are two major ways to achieve this goal. First by organising fundraising events where public-spirited dignitaries home and abroad, foreign as well as Nigerian will be invited to donate towards the achievement of this project. Oyo State people themselves can be called upon to give their widow’s mites. The second way is by applying for loans from international financial institutions.
If the amount of money to build a solar plant that will generate electricity for the whole of Oyo State is humongous, His Excellency can start by building the solar plant that can generate electricity for the people in Ibadan city. Thereafter, it can be extended to other cities in the state. This is one of the major ways by which internally-generated revenue can be increased. I felt very bad when I got to know that Spain has two energy interconnectors in Morocco to fulfil their plan to transfer solar power from North Africa to Europe. Africans are supposed to be the greatest beneficiaries of Sun power.
- Awotona Michael Adeniyi, 4, Fashina Street, Orogun, Ibadan.