The Over-Crowded Love Boat in Osogbo, By Gbenga Olorunpomi
With the dust of the upcoming Osun gubernatorial election beginning to settle, it is now clear to everyone that this is clearly a one-horse race. The main opposition in Osun, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), will surely believe they are still in the race. But, the more they boast of their financial prowess and their propensity for violence, the more they grow unpopular with the very people they hope to govern. The more they spend bashing the very vivid and life-saving achievements of the incumbent, they more they are spoted for their lies. The proverbial wind has blown and the anus of the chicken is on public display.
It is obvious that Sen. Iyiola Omisore clearly miscalculated in his ill-advised bid to unseat Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. He also did not take into account the mentality of the people he was hoping to trick, bribe and force into enslavement. For starters, his party is losing credible members like rats jumping off the sinking Titanic. Only recently, four of the six state executives of the PDP publicly declared for the APC. One of them, the Former Assistant State Secretary of the party, Alhaji Razaq Oyetunji, who spoke at the Ilesa leg of the Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola Reelection rally on behalf of his group, urged the remaining members of the PDP to leave the “sinking” party.
“The PDP have nothing to offer,” he said. “It is a group of selfish people with very dark and evil intentions. They have no good plans for the people of Osun and we should stay away from that sinking ship. Don’t be deceived. Let’s all go out and vote for Ogbeni Aregbesola come August 9th. He has done more than enough to be reelected.”
Meanwhile, the Ogbeni Aregbesola ‘Love Boat’ is suffering from over-crowding. Very eminent and credible personalities have been falling over themselves to endorse the man the people love to call ‘The Symbol.’ These credentialed people have no qualms staking their well built brand on Ogbeni’s. It is unprecedented. From scholars to clergymen to international organisations to senior members of the PDP itself, the accolades have never stopped coming.
Only two weeks ago, Ogbeni was bestowed the award of The Most Innovative Governor Supporting Education in Nigeria. This was conferred on him in Osogbo by Zuriel Oduwole, the ten year-old Nigerian girl who has made history as the youngest person ever to be interviewed in Forbes and was quoted as one of the 100 most influential Africans. She had this to say of the Osun governor; “It is difficult for a child to learn without the right learning aid. Good learning aids have been made possible for students in this part of the world. It is in recognition of this that on behalf of the ‘Dream Up, Speak Up, Stand Up’ Project that I present the award of the most Innovative Governor in Nigeria supporting Education to Governor Rauf Aregbesola.”
Last week, the General Overseer of the Living Faith International Ministries was marveled by the number of road projects and the unique educational transformation the state was undergoing that he publicly stated that the governor deserves “global applause”. Hear him: “I deeply appreciate the infrastructural development (of Osun). Besides, the education revolution is for us a great achievement. I can see the massive road construction going on. This is to the benefit of the people. No policy can remove the roads. I am very impressed,” Oyedepo said.
Besides these, most of the traditional leaders in the state have given their blessing to Ogbeni Aregbesola’s second term bid. One after the other, they thanked him for bringing progress and prosperity to the people and fulfilling his campaign promises. They also prayed for his good health and pledged their support.
The Timi of Ede, His Royal Highness, Nurudeen Adesoji Lawal, said, “May you (Aregbesola) be granted the key to Abeere (Government House) the second time.” Enough said.
The Elademure of Ibokun, Oba Festus Adegboro, was must direct in his endorsement; “Rauf Aregbesola, whoever says you will not make a second term will be disgraced by God’s grace. What Aregbesola is doing here in Osun is what people rush to foreign countries crave for.”
A Yoruba socio-political and economical body, Afenifere Renewal Group, after studying the antecedents, policies and plans of each candidate said this of Aregbesola: “We endorse him for reelection and enjoin residents of the State of Osun to vote massively for him in the forthcoming gubernatorial election. We believe that the future of the State of Osun in terms of development and prosperity is guaranteed with Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.”
And it gets better.
Nobel laureate and globally revered play writer, Wole Soyinka, could not hide his admiration for the free school uniform policy adopted by the Osun Government under Ogbeni’s leadership. Speaking philosophically, he said, “The (Osun) uniform policy will stem the tide of inequality among school children. It is a philosophy that should be adopted throughout the country.”
Even senior members of Omisore’s party and members of the federal executive council are not left out on Ogbeni’s list of endorsers. Former governor of Abia state, Orji Uzor Kalu, was so impressed with what he saw on a visit to the state, he announced his bias for ‘The Symbol.’ “Though, I am a member of the PDP, I cannot close my eyes on the numerous achievements of Mr. Aregbesola has recorded, which spreads across almost all spheres of human life,” Kalu said.
“You have demonstrated that good governance is possible with your programmes. You have demonstrated that youth development is possible. Your programmes so far have demonstrated that you are a good example of Government and Governance.” These are the words of the Nigerian Minister of Finance, Ngozi Iweala-Okonji.
These endorsements have not stopped. The people of Osun themselves are very clear on what they want; a second term for Aregbesola. They have insisted that Osun is very different from Ekiti. They will defend their votes with their very lives if they have to. President Goodluck Jonathan will do well to be reasonable and allow the will of the people prevail. Or, he may have more on his hands than he ever imagined.
Osun is going to vote and Aregbesola is going to win. No other result will make sense. No other result shall be accepted.
Gbenga Olorunpomi tweets at @gbengagold and is a digital strategist based in Lagos