Friday 21 September 2018

Takeaways From Osun Governorship Debate: By Abiodun Komolafe

Osun governorship debate, organized by Channels Television and its partners, has come and gone with all its bliss and glamour but memories of the rare event are bound to last for a long time to come. In all, five candidates were invited. But while four honoured the invitation and explored the opportunities provided by the debate to market themselves to the electorate, one routinely failed to show up, thereby bungling a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to redeem his image.

In fairness to posterity, the debaters gave accounts of themselves, at least, according to the limit of their individual capacity. For instance, while Iyiola Omisore of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) laboured with characteristic verbosity to defend the controversy troubling his past, he also tried hard to warm his ambition into the hearts of the electorate. In Gboyega Oyetola’s case, three major roles stared him in the face: defending Rauf Aregbesola’s government, his roles in that government and marketing his aspiration to the electorate. Expectedly, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate did not disappoint his audience!And, while one can only pity Fatai Akinbade of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) for utterly wanting in the essence of governance which the debate was all about, curiously, those who had hoped to bank on the advantage of age to deceive the people have within a short period of time fallen victim to the inconsistency synonymous with political adventurism in this part of the world. Added to these is that Moshood Adeoti of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) was too subsumed in needless fury to be considered as a serious contender for the throne at Bola Ige House.

Let’s come to Ademola Adeleke, the standard bearer of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the governorship race. It is interesting to note that even Adam devised a line of defence when confronted by God on why he ate the forbidden fruit. That Adeleke has become a serial truant at public debates is a pathetic paradox of what Kingsley Moghalu once referred to as 'politics of vested interests.' While this disdain for political morality, comportment and principles expected of public figures has again provided an ample opportunity for our laws to be reviewed, we need not blame Adeleke for being who he is. After all, politics is a contest which thrives in risk business. For 37 years, Mugabe arm-twisted Zimbabweans until the Delilah in his life played the game for which she was renowned and the man died politically.Without being unnecessarily immodest, Osun has become too sophisticated for truancy in government or government by proxy. For a fact, it can no longer afford the luxury of failure in governance.

Well, while the organizers of the debate may be forgiven for their inability to equip themselves with facts for a programme of such national importance, especially, as espoused in their purported “29th position” WAEC ranking of Osun, veteran contestants aspiring to govern the state ought to have been in tune with the reality on ground. For instance, they ought to have known that the said ranking was not only fake, it was the handwork of the opposition, in satanic connivance with enemies of progress, to misinform the public with a view to discrediting the Governor Rauf Aregbesola-led government.

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They also ought to have known that, despite the national economic decline from which Osun was not immune, this administration has distributed more than 150,000 units of  'Opon Imo' (Tablet of Knowledge) to students in all the senatorial zones of the state.

History, much as it is purposefully interesting, is pleasurably a totality of events for, however contrived, it will always have the last laugh. From the benefits of hindsight, politically ignorant people had always thought that the free money from Abuja is intact and that they will always have it to play around with. However, while the socio-economic needs of the society is so huge that no government can meet them in a day, only a prodigal administration will not prepare for the raining day! Sad that politics in Nigeria is bereft of ideology; that majority of our politicians are in deficit of ideas. Otherwise, a contestant worth his ambition would have known that Osun Ambulance Service, aka, O’AMBULANCE has saved more than 12,500 lives through its prompt rescue operations in emergencies across Osun and that government has constructed not less than 1000 kilometres of roads in the last 8 years. In all of these however, Aregbesola's major 'mistake' was his desire to bring Lagos to Osun in terms of development without taking into consideration that Osun didn't have what it takes to be (like) Lagos especially at a time like this.

While zoning as an excuse has been laid to rest with the emergence of governorship candidates for all the political parties, that the dreamers and the adventurous are using the national salary challenge to castigate Aregbesola's government is all politics. In any case, apostles of zoning may have to find answers to why the Yoruba race has never questioned Ogun State for 'appropriating' to itself the largest chunk of our political patrimony since 1960. Again, that's where those who are trying to crucify the governor have missed it. Globally, loan is seen as an instrument for development. Till date, India remains the largest borrower of loans from the World Bank which she uses largely for project implementation.

In the words of Deepak Chopra, “the highest levels of performance come to people who are centred, intuitive, creative and reflective – people who know how to see a problem as an opportunity.” Why is Osun so fated that some people can't even appreciate this administration’s efforts at repositioning the state for greater strides? Again, why do we confuse a dimple for a pimple when issues bordering on social welfare and stomach infrastructure come to the fore in Osun? Once, a perennial governorship candidate attempted to mislead the public on the recently-commissioned ‘Workers Drive’ in Osogbo without realizing that UNESCO does not give money to governments for projects execution; that it does it through direct funding and supervision?

May principalities and powers, assigned to rubbish our leaders’ efforts, backfire!

*KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria ([email protected])

abiodun KOMOLAFE,
O20, Okenisa Street,
PO Box 153,
Ijebu-Jesa, State of Osun

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