Osun State has been under siege before last year’s election. The noose is getting tighter by the day and we don’t know how worse it will become before salvation comes. We are however encouraged by the steadfastness and courage of the members and supporters of the Action Congress (AC) who have set their faces like a flint and have refused to be subdued and intimidated.
This siege began even before the election, when the people’s leader, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola, and thousands of his supporters were savagely attacked during Oroki Day celebration in Osogbo. After that, it could only get worse.
For merely protesting the stealing of their mandate and electoral choice, Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola sent killer squads of policemen and soldiers to the streets of Osun State. Innocent and law abiding citizens were callously mowed down, turning thousands into widows and orphans. The women that were raped and assaulted will carry the psychological scars for the rest of their lives. Oyinlola’s killing machines were moving from town to town, village to village, street to street and from home to home, arresting, beating, assaulting and incarcerating citizens. Their offence has been that that they exercised their God-given and constitutionally protected right of choosing their leaders.
Oyinlola was not through with the people of Osun State. He went after their leaders. Virtually all the AC candidates that contested for one post or the other were targeted for elimination. Some were shot at, some others were incarcerated; some others still were driven into exile.
We thought that he would deescalate after his swearing in for a second time but we were wrong. He brooks no opposition, he doesn’t take prisoners. His second inauguration was the elixir he needed to renew the assault on the opposition. This is the classical logic of illegitimate power: if it takes extreme crudeness to steal power, it takes sadistic brigandage to retain it.
After his inauguration, Oyinlola stepped up on a scorched earth policy of hunting down AC members. On one occasion in Ikoyi, an octogenarian father of an AC member was killed in place of his son. He died from injuries sustained from machete cut wounds inflicted on him by PDP assailants.
AC legislators have been going in and out of prison. The charge against them is that they led the popular protest against stolen electoral mandate. It is unbelievable that they were first arrested on the day the State House of Assembly was to be inaugurated. The police have been picking them at will since then, of course, at Governor Oyinlola’s instigation.
A bomb blast at the State Secretariat, Abere, evidently the result of mishandling of explosives by water resources development contractors, which was confirmed by the police, has now become a perfect excuse to hunt down AC leadership in the state. The party’s executives have become frequent visitors to police cells.
The police that are supposed to be the protector of the people have become their tormentor, inflicting all sorts of affliction on them at the instigation of Oyinlola.
But the most painful affliction is the usurpation of the mandate they gave to their leader, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola. The people voted for him massively and overwhelmingly in the hope that they would have good governance and proper leadership. Regrettably, it has been a tale of unmitigated mental torture and agony watching a brigand usurps their mandate as the case before the tribunal drags on indefinitely. It is one and a half years after and the people are still waiting.
In those long years, the roads have become worse; education and healthcare delivery have virtually collapsed. Oyinlola and his men descended on the state treasury in a way that will make Alibaba and his forty thieves green with envy. When he is not sharing money with PDP legislators, he is siphoning it directly under some bogus projects like tractor importation. Knowing that he is on a borrowed time, he wants to steal as much as he could before the game is over. Development has therefore been arrested in Osun State.
In all these, the AC members have demonstrated uncommon courage and steadfastness. They have stoically endured the pains and have kept the hope alive in their hearts. They have refused to give in to terror. They are like the Hebrew children in captivity in Babylon who refused to bow to King Nebuchadnezzar’s graven image, even at the threat of being incinerated. We salute you.
We share your faith that it is darkest before the dawn. He that the masquerade pursues should hold on a little longer. The pursuer gets more weary than the pursued.