“We live in the midst of alarms; anxiety beclouds the future; we expect some new disaster with each newspaper we read” Abraham Lincoln
When the Great President United States of America ever had, Abraham Lincoln known as the Great Emancipator made the above statement, he never had the mind that one day, his implied meaning of the way and manner some newspapers in this part of the world would be reporting issues would not only be shallow but also depict yellow journalism both in content and spirit.
It is painful, because I am a journalist and an advocate of ‘uncovering the covered’, but I never imagine that it would get to a time when political ulterior motive and personal animosity would be elevated to newspaper policy, but with the way Nigeria Tribune and Compass newspapers are playing politics with their headlines and selected stories these days against the person of Governor Rauf Aregbesola, I must say that the corruption which has nearly eaten up our nation’s revered institutions is beginning to walk on its four legs in our newsrooms.
I was taught in my mass communication class to be objective to my enemies and straight with my friends, and devote my time and nose for news not vendetta, but if newspapers houses elect to wage war of attrition, the best thing to do for their victims is to ignore them until their subjective stories are exposed, and if that happens, the market force will naturally kill such newspapers.
Penultimate Monday Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) invited all prominent sons and daughters of the South West region to come and adopt a blueprint for regional integration and all governors of the region were to speak on their intention on how to make use of the document for common good.
As the nature would have it, the function witnessed considerable presence to the extent that people who were not expected ordinarily made it to the occasion. When the blueprint was presented and governors were asked to speak one after the other, the event went as planned until Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola took the floor and hit the nail on the head.
With courage, the Governor of Osun State told the gospel truth where diplomacy was demanded when he said that the blueprint would not achieve the predetermined goal with the mixture of ideologists and ‘ambitionist’. Because it was the gospel truth nobody wanted to say, the slave-boy sent by the Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko jumped on his feet, livid with anger, and came up with some ‘photo-finish’ drama to the admiration of his paymaster in Alagbaka House, Akure.
However, I must say that the Governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola was right to have made the statement that sent one Ebiseeni, a commissioner from Ondo State who represented his governor at the occasion to the prison of rage, because if such a gospel truth refused to be said that day, it would certainly come out with devastating effects some day.
Though, some newspapers’ reports had done some kind of ‘panel-beating’ to different stories emanating from the figment of imaginations. The funniest part was the rant of one cowboy with Awo phony cap from Ekiti state, the sacked illegitimate governor called Segun Oni who seems to have completely turned himself to horrible reactionary when he said that the ARG blueprint was meant for imaginary republic.
In the first place, who is talking of republic here? Another one claimed that Aregbesola is leading secessionist agenda, supporting his fallacies with flag and new logo of Osun state. In all, the argument against Ogbeni Aregbesola, the only thing that appears thriving there is ignorance and the entire picture has shown that most of the so called elite are not only enlightened but also ignoramuses in every content. And it is a pity, because some of them have once ruled our people. No wonder, all regions of the country appear almost at par in poverty index.
What is the passion of Aregbesola on the regional integration all about? Why fighting Mimiko? And is there any peoples’ interest in the whole scenario? These are the posers that could settle some scores in this matter.
To the best of my knowledge, the regional integration agenda of Aregbesola should have been a collective fight of our people in the first place, because all indices on the table have shown that this nation fared better while regional governments were controlling resources and superintending their infrastructures and our people were better for it in term of standard of living, apart from the fact that it afforded each region to move at its own pace. Then, there was no Niger Delta militancy, Boko Haram insurgency, and other threats to the existence of our nation, and surely, the government at the centre was able to concentrate on strategies to prevent external aggression.
Yes, military juntas divided the nation into states with a view to weaken its fabrics against any idea of secession in the future immediately after the civil war, but the new agenda of regional integration is not cancelling that, but asking all the stakeholders in the South/west to pull down the psychological iron fence the states have erected in the minds of the power blocs and see the demarcations as administrative conveniences. Is there any crime in champion a cause that is capable of bringing back the good old day? If the answer is NO, then Aregbesola is right on his push and he deserves to be commended.
For the reactionary that was trying to bandy story of secession around, the simple question that knocks them out is: Is Aregbesola raising army anywhere? Certainly the answer is NO, because we all know what it will cost to raise an army and I doubt whether Aregbesola is as rich as Aliko Dangote, the businessman or James Ibori, the fraudster and a PDP leader. However, if the man is being judged by rebranding his state through the new identity and sense of belonging, then the fight is better understood, because it will be a straight duel between the battle of wit and crude ignorance.
Why should Aregbesola come hard on Mimiko another governor then in the public? Another question is why should Aregbesola spare the man who appears to have constituted himself as a barrier to the just cause of his people in the South/West axis under the guise of being ‘Iroko’? Can one iroko make a forest?
Let us face it, Mimiko should know that he is the enemy of himself, because being a governor does not make an individual a monopoly of wisdom. For close to four years now, what difference has he been able to make in Ondo? Then why should he turn his back on the project that could better the lots of his people in term of comparative analysis?
Besides, why would he move against the people who shielded him when he was weather-beaten by the reactionary forces he now romances? Let it be known that there is no crime in Mimiko insisting that he wants to cling with the party he used to win his election, but it is unthinkable that people like Iyiola Omisore who brought the culture of begging and pauperization of the region could be sponsored to hijack power from Aregbesola who labored hard so that Mimiko could become governor. This seems to be the undercurrent and put yourself in the position of Aregbesola if you will not fight back.
As a matter of fact, it is a normal political practice for Aregbesola to champion the cause of his party by saying that ACN would take over Ondo state in the forthcoming election. Let those who have turned themselves to Mimiko’s sympathizers today tell us what they could have done differently if their hypocrisy would not fall flat in the public. So, what Aregbesola did in Lagos was in line with dictate of reason, and there were no excesses in it.
Yes, we are different people with variety of conducts, Babatunde Fashola of Lagos may be soft spoken, Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo may be ‘fine boyish’ in his approach, there is nothing wrong in Aregbesola being an articulated one. As for me, the way and manner he articulates his points, marshals his arguments and presents his issues is perfect, but understandably intimidating to those who have used lies to deceive our people for too long behind a soft talk.
I could recollect the last time I challenged the ‘big table’ of Aregbesola and the quality of people around him, many people thought it to be class suicide, thinking that as a man in government I owe the duty to keep quiet on some things, but that is not my kind. However, on Mimiko’s ding-dong which is seen as a threat to regional integration of the South/West, Aregbesola is right and he should be encouraged further.
I rest my case.
BY GOKE BUTIKA.