Osun’s Gospel of Parliamentary Democracy, By Abiodun Komolafe

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, local government elections will hold in the State of Osun on January 27, 2018. At  least, 332 councilorship slots will be up for grabs in an election scheduled to be the first of its kind in the life of the Rauf Aregbesola-led administration. Not only that, it will be the first in the history of Nigeria’s Fourth Republic that parliamentary practice will be given a shot at the Local Government level.

While some professional doubters may wish to liken Osun to an administrative jungle where laws are brazenly breached and, constitutionalism, flagrantly abused, Section 22 of the Local Government (Administration) Law Cap 72A, Vol. 4, Laws of Osun State 2002 as amended states as follows: “There shall be for each Local Government a Chairman and a Vice Chairman who shall be elected by the councillors of the Local Government Council from among themselves. The Chairman and Vice Chairman shall only be elected among the councillors of the political party that has majority seat in the Local Government Council.” So, why parliamentary system in  Osun?

By the way, what does Aregbesola stand to gain by daring to walk with clear  conviction where  even  angels dare  to  tread and what roles does has the “inchoate” problem associated with Local Government creation in Nigeria {ref: Supreme Court’s judgement in AG Lagos v AG Federation (2004) 20 NSCQLR 99A} got to play in all of these?

Without doubt, the creation of Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs), Area  Councils  and Administrative Offices in Osun was a political masterstroke  by this  government  and Aregbesola deserves commendation for giving Osun a sense of direction and purpose. Lest we forget,  ‘Ogbeni’, as he is fondly called, was a prominent member of the Bola Tinubu-led team that  midwifed  the  LCDA  system  in  Lagos State. That he is again finding a new path to rehabilitate our democracy in line  with the views and position of the people clearly attests to  his valued  intelligence,  unquestionable  optimism  and  endless hope for a better Nigeria.  One can only pray other leaders would tap into the sheer force of his personality and the power of his ideas.

Again, why the introduction of parliamentary system in Osun and where do we go for succor, in case our cherished system becomes captivated by the culture of corruption and inefficient management system usually associated with our Nigerianness?

By design, parliamentary democracy is meant to encourage quicker legislative action, primarily because the executive branch is a product of the support of the legislative branch which in turn “includes members of the legislature.” In an environment like ours where ethnic, racial, even religious and ideological animosity have been elevated into statecraft, parliamentary practice serves as an effective instrument for direct political participation and even distribution of power.

Also, the likelihood of a drastic drop in the rush for; and friction at the centre under parliamentary practice is high. And, apart from its ability to carry along with it a spectacular increase in political activities across the state, Aregbesola’s innovative revolution is most likely to generate robust discussions on the way forward for a democratic Nigeria.

Quite clearly, it is because we have failed to test our laws that dysfunctional political system has become commonplace scandal in Nigeria. Contrary to projections, parliamentary system runs the risk of becoming a mere fig leaf by which Nigerians seek good governance and socio-economic liberation  unless  the  fine issues  of its cumulative impact are clearly defined. In any case, this is where the involvement of critical stakeholders likes the youth, traditional institutions and civil society groups in exploring all the opportunities that  an election of this nature and timing presents comes in. Church  and  State must also collaborate in the overall interest of the electorate’s exploring the  strengths and inspirations  that  the exercise will be throwing open. Essentially, political parties must  read the signs right by going  into  the contest with  their  best, votes-worthy candidates.

Walter Bagehot famously describes ability to do “what the people say you cannot do”  as “the greatest pleasure in life.”  Like a field of driven snow, Osun  governorship election is  less than a year away! Agreed! No two elections are the same. However, the tragedy of victory is that success at the January 2018 poll may not necessarily translate into  victory  on September 22, 2018 unless some purposeful political reengineering is done where necessary.

On the other hand, the fact that All Progressives Congress (APC) got it wrong on July  8, 2017 does not mean that all hope is lost for the party. All the more reason the Aregbesola-led administration must pray towards turning the counsel of the Ahithophels to nought! Truth  be told:  Nigerians are hungry and their quality of life has become so unimpressive that, should the opportunity present itself again, one is not in doubt of President Muhammadu Buhari’s recalibrating  the illusion of ‘belonging to  nobody’ and “everybody”. Sad therefore that Osun is being treated as a case in isolation!

At a time like this, clarifying extant confusions troubling Nigeria’s Israel may tend to suffer from conceptual impressions. Petty quarrels among brothers also have the capacity to snowball into politically-motivated eruptions of cataclysmic proportions if not accorded the honour of fragility it deserves.

To this end, necessary steps must be taken to urgently address all ideological disputations that may want to pitch APC members in the tents of Us versus Us. Most importantly, the salary dislocation which has so far proved to be no respecter of party, racial or gender affiliations must be  courageously confronted in a way that will  ultimately  leave  all parties convinced that the country’s present pass truly has an expiry date.

 

Let me by way of conclusion state that, on a good day, an election of this shape and size should afford members of the ruling party a rare opportunity of closing ranks for the purpose of retaining the state for the party in 2018. The hope is that events as they happened in Edo State on September 28, 2016 and Ondo State on November 26, 2016 would provide lessons sufficient enough for the ruling party to  deactivate opposition’s fantasy that it is the party of choice in Osun.

May the Strength of Israel grant our leaders the wisdom to lead us aright!

*KOMOLAFE  writes  in  from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria  (ijebujesa@yahoo.co.uk)

 

abiodun KOMOLAFE,

020, Okenisa Street,

PO Box 153,

Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State.

 

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Lessons From Ijebu-Jesa, By Abiodun Komolafe

“Two things define you: your patience when you have nothing and your your attitude when you have everything. Every artist dips his brush in his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures.”

–           Henry Ward Beecher

Ijebu-Jesa  has a new king and his name is Moses  Ilufemiloye Agunsoye! May God’s name be praised!

To start with, I doubt if I  had  the  opportunity  of  meeting  Oba  Agunsoye  before  his appointment  as  Elegboro of Ijebu-Jesa in the State of Osun. However, what influenced his eventual choice as successor to the throne  of Agigiri   Egboroganlada  has been  eloquently  summarized by Oyeniyi Ajifowobaje: “When you live in Lagos, work in Jos, still worship at the Cathedral of Saint Matthew’s, Ijebu-Jesa every Sunday; when you’re a director in a Federal Government parastatal, still, you relate with the young, old, rich and the peasants of Egboroland; … when the door of your house is wide open to the needy; when your house in Mushin is secretariat and hostel to applicants  of Ijebu-Jesa descent in Lagos”,  then you’re the people’s choice for the throne.”

With the passing of  Oba  Taiwo  Aribisala on March  9, 2017, the Elegboro stool became vacant, which in turn opened the space for the ruling houses in the ancient town to vie for the exalted throne. Oba  Aribisiala was from the Ajigiteri Ruling House and he was the 23rd Oba of Ijebu-Jesa. He was 88 years!

Before  all  else, let me join other well-meaning  Nigerians in congratulating Governor Rauf Aregbesola for ensuring a level playing field while the process lasted. In my view, that’s one of the important attributes of a good leader. That the people celebrated  its  outcome was a confirmation of  Oba Agunsoye’s  approval  by our ancestors.

At a time like this, it is pertinent to  thank God for the life of our king. For the avoidance of doubt, Oba Agunsoye has paid his dues. Thank God: providence has now crowned his efforts. A man of unmistaken vision who prefers to lead by example, Agunsoye is tantalizingly rich in humility and unquestionably  plush  in generosity. In his own little ways, Kabiyesi  now belongs  to the class of   the  Nelson  Mandelas, Oscar Romeros, Jamie Cardinal Sins  and Oladele Olashores  of this world who, even at great risks to personal comfort, opted to  side  with the downtrodden.

Nikos Kazantzakis once prescribed belief in one’s capacity as a prerequisite  for  success.  My journey through life has brought  me  face-to-face  with  how  ignorance  could  prevent some people from having a human face. For instance,   it was Oba   Olashore who sponsored my first degree (Ref: ‘Oladele    Olashore  at  70′,  ThisDay,  February 18,  2005); while Akin Fatodu of  ‘Olufemi  Fatodu  Foundation’  lent a helping hand during my postgraduate studies.   Archbishop Olukayode  Akinyemi and Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah’s contributions on my way up the ladder of  life  were also immense.

If I may expand my argument, twice I wrote to the late Umar  Ali  Shinkafi  (on  November 7,  1994;  and December  24,  1995)  to seek  financial assistance for my  first  degree  programme. In two separate letters, dated  December  14,  1994  and January 20,  1996;  and signed  by Ngozi  Asoya,  his  Special  Assistant,   Marafan Sokoto  merely   sent   “best wishes”  which, of course, I gladly accepted. My  letter  to  Oba  Otudeko, dated January 8, 1991 and  a  follow-up  chat with one Seyi  Oduntan at Honeywell’s Ilupeju, Lagos-office ended at the level of opening a file! Earlier, I had   written a letter to the-then Colonel Abdul Kareem Adisa in his capacity as the Military Governor of the old Oyo State. Adisa was so “concerned”  about  my “plight”  that, in a letter dated April 25, 1991  and signed by one T.A. Oyeleye,  the   governor  directed me to my Local Government for assistance. I did as directed but nobody did anything! For the constraint of space, let  me stop here!

I  decided  to  tell  this story to show how small-but-constant drops of water could help make a hole in a stone. For instance, Oba  Olasore’s total financial support for my pursuit was N19,000.00,  spread over a period of four academic sessions (1992 – 1997); and Fatodu ‘supplied’ N23,500.00 during my postgraduate studies (2000 – 2003). In truth, but for these Good Samaritans’ interventions, I probably would have ended up a dropout in life.

Well,  this  is the kernel of my argument. Olashore  did not fight for Ajagbusi-Ekun stool after the death of his father before his antecedents bequeathed it to him. Even, after  Oladele’s  passing, the stool was reportedly reserved for his eldest son. It was after all entreaties to persuade Abimbola failed that the kingmakers contemplated a replacement. In like manner, our preference for Oba Agunsoye  is a call to greater service to humanity.

Unimpressed by the state of our youth in Ijebu-Jesa, I was once compelled to write a letter to the late Oba  Aribisala. In the letter, I pleaded with   him    to  rally    the rich and the affluent in the town  with  a  charge to  rise to the plight of our youth. On December 31, 1997,  I had the honour of  meeting  the late monarch in his private residence and he assured me that all hands were “on deck” to ennoble  “the  young  and  the  old”.  On  an  auspicious  occasion like this therefore, one can only enjoin Oba Agunsoye to look into the plight of our teeming youth who, though employable, remain terribly unemployed, primarily, due to the  selfishness of the socio-economic and political  leeches  who   latch around the corridors of power  for transient, pecuniary conveniences.

Like Nigeria, our major challenges in Ijebu-Jesa are not unconnected with  poverty,  despair,  helplessness and hopelessness. But how can the Ijesaness in us shun  expression of pains and anguish in a chat-show of fluidity, pettiness and emptiness?  Why should we continue  to  pray with empty stomachs in the wilderness of abandonment and a terrain replete with vanity and debauchery?

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant His Royal Majesty, Oba Moses Ilufemiloye Agunsoye II  the  wisdom  to  work for the prosperity of the people of my Native Nazareth!

*KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State (ijebujesa@yahoo.co.uk)

 

abiodun KOMOLAFE,

O20, Okenisa Street,

Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State.

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APC: Their Party, Their Enemies! By Abiodun Komolafe

Nigeria is out of recession! So, let all men of goodwill clink glasses in celebration of the valuable worth of a country that will neither wear out nor rust out.

Having said that, to say that all is well with party politics in Nigeria, especially, as 2019 draws nearer, depends on which side the observer is looking at. Like Siamese twins, things are scarily looking up for the ruling party and the opposition is closer to fire than it is to frying pan.  The   political lion and the economic bear are strategizing; even the wolves and the hyenas of our ethno-religious   belongingness are waiting in the wings, desperately hoping to devour whatever remains of the country called Nigeria. It is therefore time Nigeria’s David woke up to the responsibility of killing the uncircumcised Philistines before they kill Nigeria dead. In my considered opinion, such an important task must start from the State of Osun!

With only one year to the end of the Rauf Aregbesola-led administration as governor of Osun, it’s  expected that the party in government at the national level would have examined all its cards  in  the overall interest of retaining power in the state. The challenge of power-shift, the sudden death of ‘Serubawon’ and the replacement of Adeleke with Adeleke, among others, have further underscored what needs to be done to rescue its Israel from losing focus of what lies ahead.

From the look of things, the configurations are somehow unsynchronized  and, if the permutations are not carefully handled, they may lead to conflagrations of unimaginable proportions which one can only pray would not consume the party. For all I care, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) brought us to this sorry pass and it shouldn’t be allowed to take us for collective amnesiacs. Essentially therefore, genuine plans by All Progressives Congress (APC) to remain in Aso Rock in 2019 should start with retaining Osun for the party in 2018.

On the road to this all-important victory, there may be some thistles and thorns which must be  clinically  uprooted  before things get out of hand. For the constraint of time and space, I will restrict myself to only a few. First  is  the issue of salary, pensions and allowances of its workers which must be proactively resolved in order to prevent   the   ravenous, drained  and  docile   opposition from wickedly feasting on a national stench to rubbish Aregbesola’s achievements. Apart from the fact that more than 20 other states in the country are also caught in this web, the recently-held “peaceful protest” by retired military pensioners in Abuja to, among other things, demand “the payment of balance of gratuities of contributory pensions” and   University College Hospital   (UCH) doctors’   14-day  ultimatum  to the Federal Government, also on salary- and allowances-related matters are indications that  the  challenges being faced by Nigeria’s workers are  not  limited  to Osun. Also in this group are Academic Staff Union of  Universities (ASUU), National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU).

To be fair to hm, Aregbesola saw this coming as far back as 2013 and immediately took measures to confront it through salary apportionment. But, rather than appreciate his foresight, the governor was  needlessly vilified and unnecessarily pilloried. As Nigerians can now see, the road once forthrightly travelled by Osun is what is now giving some states like Kogi, Ondo, even Bayelsa States a lot of hassles.

Secondly, APC must avoid becoming victims of its own wrong choice. All over the world, cutting the nose to spite the face as a way of resolving differences has never been found to work wonders. Those who doubt this  assertion  had better ask members of the now-expired President Goodluck  Jonathan’s party how it feels to be on the other side of the rung.  Indeed,  this  is where those  insisting  that Aregbesola should “play aloof” in the succession battle but are in turn hobnobbing  with men of questionable characters who spend more time in the courtrooms, attending to one allegation of impropriety or the other than they do to their constitutionally-assigned responsibilities, also owe Nigerians some explanations!

At a time like this, regular meetings and wide consultations aimed at gestating and fertilizing ideas on how to move the party forward  cannot be said to be  unimportant. Impliedly, if the government has not been blowing its trumpet well enough, it is time  the Esther in APC who first saw herself as a mere housewife  was  woken  up by its Mordecai. And this is where the involvement of committed foot soldiers, especially, the youth, becomes relevant.

Thirdly, complacency at a time like this may be dangerous, both for the ruling party and Nigerians. The  realness or otherwise of  the  claim  that empowerment has always been a scarce commodity within the progressive camp must also be critically looked into in the interest of the party. In my considered opinion, positive steps must be taken to correct wrong or negative  impressions so as not to confer an undue advantage on the opposition.

But all about Osun is not a tale of woes. As a matter of fact, the state has gone too far to look back and credit must be given to the forward-looking governor. Within a very short period of seven years, Aregbesola has given a new hope of a state gloriously conquering, not miserably failing! For example, while the state continues to pay sufficient attention to the education of its students,  every teacher on its payroll now knows that he or she has the potentials to rise up to the topmost level of his or her career. Through activities of the Osun Broilers Outgrowers  Programme Scheme, aka OBOPS,  the state has not only “placed Osun second to Oyo State in broiler production in the country”, “about 1,000 farmers and over-3,000 food vendors” have also been gainfully employed.   In Osun,  cases of Poliomyelitis are now consigned to the past due to  the  administration’s  effective and extensive immunization initiatives.  It will also interest readers to know  that  the  state   came  9th  in  the  just-concluded National Youth Games with 9 Gold  (including 3 Non-Scoring), 5 Silver and 4 Bronze medals, the  first  of  its  kind  in a long while.

All said, who is a better politician: one who builds bridges across  the  Niger  through  provision for, and investment in his people or one who merely constructs bridges  across the stomach?

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

*KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria (ijebujesa@yahoo.co.uk)

abiodun KOMOLAFE,

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Education: Our Take In Osun By Abiodun Komolafe

Festus Adedayo’s article entitled ‘WAEC Results: Of Awo’s Mud Houses and Governor’s Model Greed’ (Sunday Tribune, August 20, 2017) refers.

Let me start by congratulating Adedayo for confessing the roles of “societal ills like fixing of results, hiring pliable invigilators and allied ills” in states’ actual performance in education. At least, rational minds can now understand why Osun prefers year-on-year performance in the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) results to WAEC rankings for planning purposes. Again, even if the writer was not bold enough to come clean on the state which, in his reckoning, “towers from behind on WAEC’s score sheets”, I have no doubt in my mind that his ignorance about developments in Osun needs some form of education.

That said, had Adedayo carried out a specific, not generalized evaluation of students’ performance in Nigeria, he most certainly would have realized that the case on hand and a hunchback’s awkward movement are identical. For instance, Rauf Aregbesola came into office as governor when almost all things were dull and ugly. Specifically, our school buildings were in such dilapidated forms that they were only fit for habitation by pests and rodents. As at 2010, the ‘performance level of students in WAEC’ was a miserable 15.7 per cent. With this sorry state of development, Aregbesola’s administration was of the view that, if our students must go to school at all, there was an urgent need to move from where we were to where we were supposed to be! In other words; and, for economic reasons, there was an urgent need for the administration to erect new structures, not only for the moment but also for the future. Of course, that was it all started!

Interestingly, these interventions have started bearing fruits. For instance, as at 2016, Osun’s performance level in WAEC has risen to 46.3 per cent which is quite a huge jump in the number of students with credit passes in English and Mathematics. A better performance is being keenly expected in 2017. Similarly, Osun has, since 2013, been featuring prominently between the first and third positions in the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB) matriculatable students in Nigeria. Added to these is the higher level of enrollment and retention at the elementary school level which is due, largely, to the positive impact of the school feeding programme, aka O’MEAL. The totality of all these interventions has been a consistent increase in school certificate results since 2010. Yes, Osun is not there yet! But, with various interventions in the sector, it’s only a matter of time before ‘Hallelujah’ takes the centre stage!

For obvious reasons, Adedayo would remember World Bank’s recommendation of Peter Obi’s “model for Africa and other developing countries” but would easily forget the laurels, commendations, even recommendations garnered by Osun in appreciation of its laudable initiatives, latest of which was the recommendation of its O’MEAL scheme to other Nigerian states by United Nations International and Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF). Was our friend not in Nigeria when WAEC also recommended Osun’s Tablet of Knowledge (Opon Imo) to other states? A case of different strokes?

It is also “poor logic” on his part to have concluded that the learning environment has no bearing on the improvement in performance. On the contrary, if the former is conducive, chances are that the latter will be positively affected. Again, if Adedayo could condemn Aregbesola’s modest contributions to Nigeria’s education sector, one can only wonder what differentiates him from those “critics” of 1954 who accused Obafemi Awolowo of “opting for ‘substandard’ buildings.” Not only that, if “400,000 pupils turned up” for Awo’s scheme in 1955, “contrary to his projected 175,000”, has he carried out an assessment study of what O’MEAL has done for education in Osun?

The columnist contradicted himself when, in one breath, he likened Rotimi Amaechi’s “structures of primary and secondary schools” to “private universities in the west” while in another, he condemned Aregbesola for erecting “cozy buildings” in Osun! He also goofed when he brazenly accused “a governor in one of the south west states” of being “so obsessed with structures that he demolishes old school structures”. We challenge our friend to come real on those schools that were ‘demolished’ and the reasons behind their demolition. To the best of my knowledge, no school was demolished for the building of DTTC Middle School in Ijebu-Jesa; and I doubt if any “old school structure” was removed in Osogbo to pave the way for Osogbo Government High School. On ‘school uniform’, I believe that has been sufficiently addressed in Bolanle Bolawole’s column (See Sunday Tribune, August 6, 2017).

Let Adedayo also note that more than 12,000 new teachers were hired in 2012 to replace those who quit the service due to their disinterest in the Contributory Pension regime. In addition to streamlining and decentralizing the management of education for optimum performance, Aregbesola’s administration has also added 23 elementary schools and 22 middle schools to the existing structures while four out of 12 high school structures – all high-capacity schools – are already in use. More than 40 schools have also been completely refurbished in order to enhance the learning environment. The creation of three tutors-general and the about-to-be-created nine headmaster-general positions are aimed at paying sufficient attention to the early-stage development of pupils.

Of course, Adedayo failed to tell Nigerians what the once-rejected Awo’s free education went through – even in the west – before it eventually became the corner piece. He also erred in branding some states as champions in education! For God’s sake, is he aware that Edo and Ekiti States are far behind in the payment of pension allowances and salaries to their teachers?

Lastly, if Adedayo thinks that erection of “cozy structures” or “construction of roads and bridges” are synonymous with making “substantial billions of naira kick-backs”, then, Nigerians are expecting his ‘better ideas.’ But who will take our friend through some tutorials in building technology, especially with regard to the expansion and contraction characteristics of mud which limit its lifespan to a maximum of 40 years?

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

*Komolafe wrote in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State (ijebujesa@yahoo.co.uk)

 

abiodun KOMOLAFE,

O20, Okenisa Street,

Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State.

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Death And The Governor’s Mother By Abiodun Komolafe

“Life levels all men. Death reveals the eminent.”

 

– George Bernard Shaw

Rauf Aregbesola must be an extremely sad man, as we speak. This is because, in a spate of two weeks, the governor of the State of Osun has lost two particularly dear friends to the cold fangs of death. First to answer the final call was Olu Abiola, a foremost industrialist, socialite and philanthropist who was not only “an invaluable asset in the business world”, but also “gave his all to the cause of” Aregbesola’s administration. Abiola gave up the ghost on July 16, 2017 and the world mourned the passing of a patriot! Two weeks after, precisely, on Tuesday, August 1, 2017, the matriarch of the Aregbesola family in Ilesa, and the governor’s mother, Alhaja Saratu Aregbesola, also exited this sad, sick and insane world of war and the vagaries of its sinfulness. Rauf lost her beloved mother and a chapter in the history of his events-filled life came to a close.

Though grieving is a natural reaction to a loss, the solace in these two sad events is that both grew relatively old before accessing the hereafter. Like Abiola, Iya Olobi, as she was fondly called, will be sorely missed by the governor. Just recently, the governor informed a stunned audience that he has three homes in Osun State. First is Government House at Oke Fia in Osogbo, his official residence. Second is her mother’s, in Ilaje, Ilesa. And third is Abiola’s house in Oke Omiru, also in Ilesa. Now,  two of  these ‘homes’ are bereaved and one can imagine the  gravity of the governor’s grief.

As we all know, being a governor’s mother, especially, in this part of the world carries along with it a lot of responsibilities. The ‘challenge’ of that office is so threateningly enormous that, once upon a time in Nigeria, a ‘Mother Excellency’ almost seized control of the powers constitutionally vested in her son as governor of a state. But Aregbesola was with a difference! I doubt if she ever interfered in governance issues in Osun. And it’s not recorded anywhere that she ever used her influence to curry favour anywhere. The present state of the road on which her house in Ilesa is situated bears eloquent testimony to this.

But, what is life that its “meter just keeps a-ticking whether you are getting somewhere or just standing still”? On the other hand, why is death described as “a gift to have more life” and why did Walker Scott see it as “the final awakening”? Of course, that’s why I seriously disagree with Will Rogers that being a hero is more of knowing when to die because “prolonged death has ruined more men than it ever made.”

For instance, were Rauf to have a choice between losing his mother now, when the possibility of the state shutting down to accord her a befitting burial is high, and letting her live longer till say, when “the phones no longer ring”, I’m sure he’d have opted for the latter. That goes to explain the importance of parents in a man’s life!

Iya Olobi’s vision of life was remarkable. She trained her children, sometimes, through the seeming endless valleys of travails, to become responsible citizens in the society. She neither wavered nor faltered in nurturing them, sometimes through the physical thistles and the psychological toughness of a journey of life which, in many instances, attempted to dilute her faith. Despite the winding and the wearisome nature of the journey, she did all that’s worth doing  to give her children’s future a meaning.

“Life”, in Marion Howard’s words, “is like a blanket – too short.”  This  “mutual hostility” is also said to be about wars; you win some, you lose some. Sadly, but with total submission to the will of Allah, Iya Olobi has lost the final struggle of life to death! So, rather than grieve over what’s inevitable, the governor and his siblings should reflect and, with hearts full of praise, appreciate God for having such a wonderful mother who has in no small way added value to their lives.

More importantly, the governor should be thankful to the Allah for letting his mother see him through success,  notably,  as  an  engineer,  a  ‘chattered  politician”,  and  “an  astute  administrator  with a  vision,  one  blessed with the ability to picture into the fortunes, hopes and desires of a future which best is yet to come for dear state.”

Like mother, like son! Japheth Omojuwa describes him as a “seemingly ordinary man with the proven extraordinary abilities” while Joe Igbokwe sees him as “a repository of trust and confidence among his followers.” Aregbesola has helped a great deal in the transformation of Osun from the shameless sensualities of the Ancient Times and the ruthless ferocity of the Dark Ages into “a developed, cleaner, safer and more beautiful state” that, in another 30 years, Osun will no doubt be a reference point to other states in terms of infrastructure development. His promise of a brighter future has been unsurpassable in the history of the state. Little wonder Aregbesola is one of the most outstanding and credible personalities the Nigerian nation has ever known.

In 1890, Crowfoot on his deathbed famously referred to life as the “flash of a firefly in the night“; “the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime“; and “the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” Without doubt, Iya Olobi’s life brings to memory All Progressives Party (APC), interestingly, a political party co-founded and nurtured into adulthood by his governor-son. Truth be told, APC is fractured in not less than 10 states. Wolves in sheep’s clothing and politicians with no fixed identity are threatening the survival of the party and it seems as if the Father Christmas of our immediate past has lost the essence of his gift. But I believe that this challenge is not insurmountable if only the leadership can learn some salient lessons from the life, travails and the triumph of Rauf’s mother. Her  inspiring  life and unwavering commitment to excellence have shown that living in questionable submission to the fatal fantasies of life is not always an option.

May Allah grant the soul of the faithful departed Al-Janat!

Ameen!

*KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State (ijebujesa@yahoo.co.uk)

abiodun KOMOLAFE,

O20, Okenisa Street,

Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State.

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Succession Politics And The Limit Of Ignorance By Abiodun Komolafe

Osun West Senatorial bye-election has come and gone, not unexpectedly, with its twists and turns; sounds and bites. Victors have since July 8, 2017 been counting their blessings while losers have also been unrelenting in licking their wounds with threatening affection! On the whole, June 21, 2014 has again happened to the progressive camp in the State of Osun and one can only pray that appropriate lessons from whatever remains of its wacky outcome would not be wasted on the altar of ego and sycophancy.

It is also believed that ingrates and renegades who have turned the misfortune brought upon the state by Isiaka Adeleke’s sudden death into a ‘Us’ versus ‘Them’ personality clash will ‘sheathe’ their swords for the good of the party and country.

Except we want to be economical with the truth, what played out on July 8 was the opposition’s way of telling Nigerians that, given the opportunity, it can still use the weapons of rice, money and other instruments of ‘stomach infrastructure’ to spring surprises on soft targets. Unfortunately, the ruling party’s inability to keep its house in order nationally, plus economic reforms that have, for want of a better expression, been struggling to put food on the table of the common man are rubbing off on the states and may affect the party’s fortunes in future elections if concrete steps are not taken to address the situation.

All Progressives Congress (APC) needs to wake up from its slumber, cut off the pretence and carry out clearance operations before it is too late.

Nigeria is in tough times and all eyes can see it. The political turf is heating up as we gradually approach another election year and it is as if those who never wished Muhammadu Buhari and his government well have now had their prayers answered.

The economy is bleeding and it seems as if the national government is satisfied with snoring on a mattress overstuffed with excuses as a way out of the socio-economic logjam. In politics, little things count. Taking refuge in short-term measures, even when they are energy-sapping or funds-demanding, go a long way in addressing the nasty tragedies, extant confusions and conceptual impressions that have been threatening the fragility of the egg called Nigeria. Behaving as if 2018 is 1000 years away, or as if 2019 will never come, will not help a ruling party that is already being derided as ‘can do better as an opposition party.’

At a time like this, Osun comes to mind. APC must do all it takes, lawfully, to remain in power so as to prevent a reversal of the gains of the last seven years. Osun cannot withstand a repeat of the disaster of the years eaten by the locust, when our common patrimony was used to cater to the needs of some selfish few. It is common knowledge that all the gratuitous attacks, barefaced lies and harebrained fabrications against the Rauf Aregbesola-led government are mere samples of what to expect in next year’s governorship election. To be honest with ourselves, APC’s defeat in the last bye-election was facilitated from within by the Judas Iscariot who embraced coded languages to give performance a new meaning. The challenge of change, salary quagmire, even pensioners’ palaver played secondary roles.

With regard to 2018, all I see for the progressive in Osun is victory; and Aregbesola’s outstanding performance in office is an indication that the battle has already been won! But this is not to say that there won’t be challenges on the road to this assured victory. In any case, that’s the beauty of democracy! Anything short of that is a recipe for chaos! For instance, while no government has ever done a quarter of what this administration has done for Osun since its creation, it is rather unfortunate that Aregbesola is seen out there more as a ‘salary unpaying’ government than one that has turned the state into ‘construction site’. Sadly, too, while issues surrounding the salary challenge point in the direction of a national crisis, that some ‘food-for-the-stomach’, false democrats are insisting that Osun’s should be treated as a case in isolation is a mystery for students of political history to unravel.

So much has been said about democracy described by Abraham Lincoln as “the government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” But if this system of government thrives in a society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges, why do Nigerians continue to suffer, irresistibly, from what Pius Adesanmi once referred to as “acute malaria”? When, for instance, Kunle Ologundudu accused Kayode Fayemi of using state funds to build mansions as well as run a private university, why did the electorate gullibly subscribe to the untruth without raising a finger? Similarly, why has Osun suddenly become the rumour capital of Nigeria and what’s being done to present issues as they are? When has it become a crime to democratically avoid the resurrection of a deadly Wike/Amaechi crisis or the replication of a ‘Tarka-me-I-Daboh-you’ Kwankwanso/Ganduje face-off in Osun? Apart from other laudable programmes undertaken by this administration, have we forgotten its noble contributions to the triumph of no fewer than 50 of our medical students in Ukraine?

More importantly, why have some quarters not appreciated Osun’s innovative means of alleviating the plight of its workers through its salary apportionment approach? With this regime in place, only a section of workers on grade level 12 and above (that is, about 20% of the state’s total workforce) have been receiving 50% of their gross salaries based on an agreement between the government and the labour union. “Outside that, officers on levels 8-10 receive 75 percent of their salaries while officers on levels 7 and below who constitute about 65% of the workforce receive their full pay.” Good to note also that “all workers in the state have received their salaries up to” July 2017 “in line with the agreement the government has with workers.” The fulfillment of its promise to pay the outstanding as soon as the financial fortunes of the state improve can be seen in the judicious disbursement of the second tranche of the Paris Club refunds.

Let’s come to the issue of “the same uniform”,  a policy which, in more than a manner of speaking, elicits interesting ideas that should naturally tempt one into scrutinizing some important assumptions. Ignorantly or mischievously, Aregbesola’s traducers have not only forgotten the advantages that attended its implementation, they have also gone a step further to describe it as an ‘it can only happen in Osun’ affair. For the avoidance of doubt, “the same uniform” policy has long been in existence in countries like Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, China, Indonesia and Malaysia.

If the aforementioned countries are examples too far to cite, what of  Ghana and Benin Republic, our next-door neighbours?

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

*KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria (ijebujesa@yahoo.co.uk)

 

abiodun KOMOLAFE,

020, Okenisa Street,

PO Box 153,

Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State.

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